Sunday, July 18, 2010
A serious perk to non-mommyhood
Allow me to take a moment from my usual comedic genius to talk about something more serious. I want children. I want children terribly. I never in a million years dreamed that I'd be at this point in my life, still unattached and with no family. It's been very difficult for me to accept. There are, however, perks to singlehood. The obvious ones are things like sleeping in, ease around the house, etc. What I want to take a moment to talk about, though, is how my singleness affects my relationships with others.
As a single woman, I have more time to spend with others. This can be a positive and a negative. It can be frustrating for me that I have time and inclination to do activities, but all of my friends are unable to do things because they have families to tend to. I've been so fortunate to have open time to spend with my sister and my parents. This has been such a wonderful perk about being single. I'm able to spend quality time with my parents. Recently, my father passed away. I treasure every moment I've had with them both, and am so grateful I had fewer obligations to take me away from time with them. Since becoming an adult, my sister and I have become more than sisters - we're truly friends. Her schedule may be limited since becoming a mother, but mine is not. This means that I have time to play and relax in her home and be a bigger part of her daily life than I would be if I had a family. These relationships are so very important to me.
In honor of where I am at this moment, I'd like to talk about one person I am very thankful for, and thankful that I have the time to spend with her.
Six years ago, my younger sister was getting married. I had a very hard time with this. It was hard for me to watch my younger sister doing something that I so desperately wanted, and the irrational side of me felt like a loser because I should have been the first to get married. As the wedding approached, relatives came from near and far to visit. My aunt and her stepdaughter decided to come to the wedding. I knew her stepdaughter. We'd been together on several occasions, and always got along well. I hadn't spent a tremendous amount of time with her, but I knew I enjoyed her company. Suddenly, at a wedding I was feeling slightly blue about, my cousin swooped in and saved the day! She was hilarious and funny! She kept things perky. We slept in a teeny, tiny bedroom (she in a twin bed, I on an air mattress) and we stayed up a long time, laughing and talking.
After that, a new relationship was born. She was no longer my aunt's stepdaughter, but it was clear that she was her daughter in every sense. She was no longer "just" my cousin, she was my good friend. We continued to talk and spend time together. Because I have no familial obligations, I was able to travel to see her and my family members each summer. This time has meant SO much to me over the years! She married an incredible man who I adore, and then had two children who I fell head over heels in love with. I count down the months and days until I can be together with my cousin and her family. Although they live far away, they mean the world to me.
I trust my cousin as much as I trust my sister. She is one of the strongest, most generous people I know. I can always count on her to have a listening ear and wise words. She truly makes me work harder to be a better person, and I can't imagine my life without her.
My father recently passed away and I was devastated. I remember calling my cousin to tell her, and she was crying on the phone. She wasn't crying because she liked my dad (which she did), she was crying because she didn't want me to hurt and she loved me. At a time where everyone was trying to be strong for me, or felt uncomfortable and unsure what to say, she cried with me. She told me she'd be there soon. When she came, I couldn't think clearly. She took me to a store, picked out clothes for me to wear at one of the worst moments of my life, and she took care of me. Once, when the house was overflowing with people and I was feeling overwhelmed, I went to lay down on the bed to get away from everyone. My cousin came back and found me. She laid on the bed with me and we ate chocolate covered edamame and just visited. It felt so warm, peaceful and comforting at a time where everything was swirling around me. I will always treasure that time with her.
These are moments that people who have children can have, but it is harder and more complicated with them. I'm so very grateful that for the past 12+ years I have been able to go to my cousin's house for an extended amount of time and just spend time with her and her children. That can, and will, still happen when I have a family, but I know it will be different. My lack of attachment has helped me form some deep, deep bonds with those most important to me and I will forever be grateful for that.
As I type this, I lay on her daughter's bed, sad that soon I will have to leave. I feel so comfortable in her home. I love that when I'm at her house, two snuggly kids will crawl in my lap, or that I can just go in her kitchen and get a snack. It's been a rough year and I haven't been my normal self, but she hasn't given up on me. I love that I have the time to spend with my cousin and her incredible family. I can never repay her for all she has done for me.
M, thanks for being there for me when I needed it the most.
(OK, that last picture is a joke. I can't stand Doperah or Gail. But SOME people like her!)