tonight my 13yr old goddaughter contacted me secretly to vent and connect with the one older woman she looks up to who is not in her immediate family environment so that she could express her teenage frustrations with someone who has no ability to punish her, the one older woman who is put on this planet to hear her without judgement and advise her without ulterior motive.
I explained to her that when i was her age, I too felt completely suppressed by my parents choices and behaviors, that my only avenue of gaining any kind of power was to rely on my parents’ predictability and use my interpersonal skills savvy to interpret their daily nuances as routines i could depend on and decide exactly what was going to happen in my life based on how I responded to what I saw clearly as their bottom lines. If I wanted to go to a friends house for a sleep over, my grades had to be up to par, my attitude had to be one of gratitude, my tone had to be tinged with developmentally superior wisdom and my actions had to be actions of a leader, and never a follower. My words to her when she told me she got in trouble for being a smart ass were to control the people who control your young life right now by anticipating their response and avoiding what you know will ruin your chances of independence. I wanted her to know that while she may feel oppressed by generations of relatives, she in fact has an upper hand and can decide how possibly sticky situations with family will end based on how she chooses to respond.
What she may never know is that she taught me the same lesson in hearing myself say it to her. The God in me, and the God in everyone is that voice that calls one to behaving more intelligently than others, more responsibly than others, more enlightened than most and closer to the standards we hold others to. While also calling us to realize and remember that everyone has this urge tugging at their hemline. Some ignore it, some deny it, some suffocate it with work, money, destruction and other distractions but when a child expresses self doubt, even the least of us is called to be an inspiring voice and, miraculously, that voice echoes where it needs to be heard most: in the self.
I took another negative pregnancy test today and it almost broke my heart. Realizing infertility may be a part of one’s personal reality is tough. Realizing it when you are constantly surrounded by children, pregnancy and families is a whole different beast. The preschool teacher who loves children but can’t have her own, the preschool teacher who children love but who might have children who hate her if she could even manage to procreate like so many undeserving, awful, abusive, simple people do everyday.
Today, two of my kids called me mom by accident and they look nothing like me. I am touched by this whenever it happens. My work saves me in ways I may never be able to fully express, except through the patient hugs I feel lucky to give when they are exhausted, enlivened and/or impassioned about any moment in my presence.
I may never be able to create a child with the person I call my endless love, which on some level seems entirely appropriate because the truth is my endless love is to be there for and with these children, who aren’t mine. Who come to me for, at the most, three years and then I never see them again. Usually. My goddaughter, of course, is forever my family and I only hope I am able to be a beacon for her throughout this life and posthumous inspiration is equivalent to a Christian seeking heaven.
My own mother and childhood make me grateful I can’t have progeny, but, my desire to do things differently makes me want to be a mother more than anything.
I think until I see that differently I’ll never have a kid. And who wants to be a kid born to a mom determined to do everything her own mom fucked up the right way? As much as I don’t believe in fate, I can’t help but say that if I get pregnant (ever) it must be because there is a higher plan for this womb and the life it will bear, I can’t help but say that I haven’t yet because mistakes should never be human beings.
I don’t know much about anything. I don’t know half as much as I think I do about raising a family and I’m afraid to find out because I don’t want to ruin anyone’s life, because I am sharply aware of the truth that every choice a parent makes impacts their children’s lives in ways that are permanent and palpable. I know I work with children because I always wanted an advocate in my corner as a child. I also know I’m a good person, a good teacher, and a good potential parent because I get so paranoid about all this stuff. Thinking about this stuff and worrying about it and realizing the heavy, huge importance of it all is what makes parents crazy, in the best way.
In the meantime, I am glad I’m not there yet and I’m glad I have a community of children in my life who feel safe and loved with me.