This year I've seen a bumper crop of babies in my circle of friends, acquaintances, and family. It's practically raining babies!
After a dry spell of several years when most of my friends seemed to have completed their childbearing - either by choice or Mother Nature's whim - suddenly I'm up to my chinny-chin-chin in baby announcements. The first was a late arrival in the first week of January and since then a new one has arrived every few months like clockwork (one more to come!). I feel like Mary Poppins!
I never really considered myself the maternal sort. Never really had the urge or desire to have a baby (much to my dear mom's ever-lasting disappointment). Not sure why, the longing just never really kicked in. Oh, I had a brief phase when I thought how nice it would be but that was a passing fancy. I used to joke that knowing my luck, it would be my kid who would be the axe murder - best not to tempt fate!
Don't get me wrong, I love children - as did Chris. We were both very concerned about child welfare issues and the importance of protecting and nurturing growing minds and bodies - encouraging little spirits to find their wings and soar, no matter what their dreams. We knew early on that we would not have children but that we could support and encourage the children in our lives.
I guess I’ve grown into my nurturing skills as I’ve gotten older. Maybe I tried too hard not to be maternal when I was younger, tried too hard to be different, thought that being a feminist meant not being maternal, who knows… But now I enjoy cuddling squirming babies and making them laugh, playing silly games and listening to adventurous plans of eight-year olds. I get to be a kid again! But I’m also not afraid to be strict and lay down rules. There’s a reason we’re the grown-ups – too bad more of us don’t act that way more often.
This past year has been one of heart-wrenching loss, sorrow, and grief but it also been one of spiritual renewal and deep gratitude for the circle of loving support that has surrounded me on this journey. I see the love and support that Chris gave his friends, family, and students reflected every day in the faces of those I love.
I’m one of the luckiest people I know! I try to honour that by “paying it forward” to my fairy godchildren. I hope I can help them find their wings.