For a couple of years now, my daughter has been adamant that she doesn’t want children. At first I was taken aback. Her siblings have Down syndrome, so if I am going to have genetic offspring, they must come from her. Her telling me this at first felt like her closing the door on my chance to have grandchildren.
Inside I freaked out a bit, but kept my response measured, after all, she’s a teenager, so she’s bound to change her mind.
She hasn’t changed her mind, but I have.
It’s not that I don’t want grandchildren, that’s beside the point. My children aren’t here for the sake of fulfilling my wants and needs. Pressuring her into child-rearing to fulfill my desires is selfish and disgusting, but there’s more.
My daughter is a creative, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful, free-spirited young woman. She sees the world as wide open to her. Her life lies ahead of her with thousands of options. She wants to see the world and experience cultural exchange and photography and art and music.
As it turns out, I’m not sure I want her to have children. There’s something about being a mom that tames you, at least it did me. All those wild flights of fancy and impossible dreams I used to have are things of the past as I muddle through days and years of putting others ahead of myself and ponder what it would be like to have the freedom to be and do whatever strikes my fancy. There’s enormous blessing in bearing and raising children, to be sure, but when I see the world through her eyes, I see something different, something equally wonderful.
I see a bohemian spirit, free to explore. I see her eclectic tastes being indulged all over the world. I see her experiencing vastly different lifestyles, languages and cultures.
Who knows, maybe she will end up settling down and having children, but there’s a part of me that almost hopes she won’t. It almost seems a shame to think of her unconventional, nonconformist self settling down to a job, family and all that is typical in the world. I believe I have raised a free bird, and there is nothing more elating that setting her loose to soar.
About the author: Alethea is a runner, a gardener, a special needs mom, and a writer. She has been happily married for time immemorial, and thinks way too much. If you want to read more from her, give her a gander at https://benswritingrunningmom.me