This is my last Childless by Marriage post of 2022. We could rehash all the previous posts. In June, for example, we talked about the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, school shootings, babies on airplanes, heedless comments, and Louis May Alcott. But you can read the old posts for yourself, and I hope you do. Sometimes when you read something again on a different day, you have a completely different reaction.
I could note that I joined four childless elderwomen chats, that I published another novel featuring a childless heroine this year, I signed a contract for a memoir that will be out in June 2024, and I promoted poetry in my role as president of the Oregon Poetry Association. I also traveled to California and Ohio, got the catalytic converter stolen off my Honda Element, got hurt falling through a broken board in my deck, and caught a late-breaking case of Covid. I’ve done readings, participated in a bazillion zoom meetings, and as of today, read almost 100 books. What does that have to do with childlessness? I suppose that not having children gives me time to do all those things. I’m finding that those of us without kids often lead more colorful lives.
What were the major events of your 2022? Did anything change in your childless situation? Were any decisions made, to try for pregnancy, for example, or turn the would-be nursery into an office? Has the subject just sat like a big rock in the corner all year, one that nobody dared touch for fear it might explode into a big fight? A new year is about to start. If you don’t talk about that big rock, not having children in a world where most people do, surely it will blow up. So make this the year you are honest with each other and express how you feel. And not just to your partner. Talk about it with others, too. It’s okay to say you are sad, angry, frustrated, guilty, or unsure. You feel what you feel.
I just put away the Christmas wrapping paper last night. Scrolling through Facebook, I have seen lots of photos of people unwrapping their presents. You won’t see any of me because I was doing it alone. But I didn’t cry this year, and that’s a step ahead. This whole Christmas was different. I set up a Zoom with my brother’s family so I could see them and my nieces and nephews. They had seven people crowded around an IPad, and I couldn’t hear them very well, but we made the connection. I want them to know “Aunt Sue,” and it’s on me to make that happen.
Most Christmases, I have been with friends’ families and felt like the one who didn’t quite fit in, even though it was very nice. This year, three single women from church with no family around got together in one of our houses. Dinner was potluck. We ate, sang Christmas songs, and talked for hours. It was the most comfortable Christmas any of us had spent in years. We all feel like the ones who don’t quite fit in with our families, but we matched perfectly with each other. I am so grateful.
When you’re young, with parents still living, with family demanding your attention, and possibly stepchildren to entertain on the holidays, you don’t have a lot of choices. I remember the early married years where we shuttled from one family gathering to another. It was exhausting. One of the joys of being on your own in old age is having more choices. But you can try new options at any age. Maybe you won’t fly home next year. Maybe you’ll eat enchiladas instead of turkey. Maybe you’ll . . . ?
We’re coming into a new year. It’s a time for make resolutions and plan changes. I have my list. Do you? One of the things I’m planning to change is the frequency of posts at this blog. After 830 posts over 15 years, it’s getting harder to come up with new ideas every week, so the Childless by Marriage blog will appear every other week next year, unless I have something urgent to say in-between. I welcome guest posts, as long as they stay on topic. I will continue to post on my Childless by Marriage Facebook page, too. If you haven’t connected there, give it a shot.
As I type this here on the Oregon coast, the wind storm that started last night continues. It is still dark, and I wonder what damage I will see when the sun finally rises. No one knows what the new year will bring. I hope it’s good news for all of us. May you have peace, good health, and happiness in 2023.
See you next year.
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