I remember the exact moment I fell in love with my ex husband. We were lying in bed together, faces nearly touching. There was no light in the room except for the dim London moon outside my window. I have no idea what time of night it was, so lost was I in his eyes. We'd been talking and kissing and staring at each other for hours on end, the intoxication of a new relationship sinking deeper and deeper into the space between us. I'd only been living in England for a few weeks, yet John and I had already forged a bond unlike anything I had ever experienced. Please bear in mind that I was twenty years old, September 11th had just shaken New York, and I was on the other side of the ocean where nothing was familiar and I didn't know a single person. My family, my friends, I had left them all behind to study abroad...but I learned more about life than I did about books in those three months overseas. I learned what it meant to fall indescribably hard for someone and truly believe that it was love. Not "young love" or "puppy love" or "first love" but a lasting love to survive a lifetime. At least, that's what I thought it was.
The moment is cemented into my brain as the reason I left my youth behind to become the only person I knew (and still know, to this day) to jump into a marriage headfirst before I was even legal to drink at my own wedding. He didn't look at me, he looked through me. He stared so deep into my soul, I thought I was drowning. Time stood still, yet swirled all around us. We barely knew each other, yet I knew him better than anyone else I'd ever met. He spoke so softly, so slowly that I could hardly hear him, yet I felt his words race through my heart with such passion, such sweet honesty, I wanted to dedicate my life to making them come true.
"I can see our future children in your eyes."
That was it. Right there, in that moment, I went from being a young girl with dreams of conquering Europe, writing the next great American novel, and living out my days in solitude to becoming a woman who saw her future clear as day. That future revolved around being John's wife, bearing his children, and raising a family in the suburbs where we would play board games on rainy nights and stare at each other just like we were in that moment.
He made me want that life. He gave me the gift of a decided future. He showed me what my heart desired all along, that I simply refused to acknowledge. I thought I wanted to be single and free spirited forever. I was wrong. I wanted John and I wanted our children.
Is is any wonder then, that eight long years together later, he undid the ties that bound us with a completely contradictory statement?
"I don't think I want children anymore."
He said he didn't "think" he wanted them, but he admitted later that he'd actually known for the last two years that kids were not in the cards for him. Sadly, they have always been in the cards for me. I feel motherhood calling me from the depths of my soul. There is an unspeakable emptiness that I know for a fact can only be filled by a baby growing inside me. Perhaps it's taboo to say it out loud. I'm a single woman, living in New York, just turned 32 with my whole life ahead of me. I should be drinking, dancing, and partying my wild nights away. But that's not what I want and it feels dishonest pretending that it is.
Don't get me wrong, I have my share of fun. I very much enjoy the evenings where I can play on the improv stage til one in the morning with no responsibilities (save my cats) to come home to. I adore hanging out with my girlfriends on weekends, jumping in the car for a road trip to the wineries, or throwing random dance parties so loud the neighbors start banging on the walls. I am so grateful that on any given Friday night, I could be singing karaoke at a dive bar in Queens or learning bachata at Dominican Restaurant 4 with a table full of guys who speak no English but love teaching blonde girls in heels how to dance!
So why then, does Mother's Day continue to haunt me, to taunt me, to kick me in the stomach every year? Like an obnoxious third grader pulling my pigtails on the playground, Mother's Day sticks its teasing tongue out at me, singing "Nanny nanny poo poo, you're not a mother!"
In an ironic twist of fate, John and his new wife celebrated her first Mother's Day yesterday. *Note: I am assuming they did this. I stopped stalking her blog the day the baby was born.* It still amazes me that the family he promised me and then walked away from, he now actually has...it's just not with me. So where does that leave me in the grand scheme of family life?
I. Give. Up.
Before you freak out --- no, I am not giving up my dreams of having a family of my own someday. I am simply giving up any attempt to control the time frame in which that family happens. I've been dating for three years now and have gotten my hopes up several times that I may have met The One, each time to be gently (or brutally) proved wrong. I cannot control the time frame in which I meet The Man Of My Dreams any more than I can plan out the time frame within which I will get pregnant with My Baby. These are mythological creatures in my life right now, figments of my over active imagination, but wanting them as hard as I have been won't make them appear any sooner.
So what can I do in the meantime? For one, I stopped thinking of Mother's Day as a day to mourn me not being a mother. Instead, I see it as a celebration that God gave me a mother as amazing as mine is. She is my #1 fan, my cheerleader, my biggest supporter. She sticks by my side, even when I'm wrong! (Not like that ever happens.) She holds my hand, consoles my broken heart, and lets me cry on her shoulder all too often when things do not go my way. She stays up nights with me when I'm in the throes of an awful migraine. She accepts me completely, exactly as I am, faults and flaws and all. She is my best friend, loving me even in times when I feel unlovable. Actually, those are the times she loves me the most.
Perhaps she is the real reason that I want to be a mother someday. I should be so lucky to have a daughter who loves and looks up to me the way that I do with my mom. I try to tell her as often as I can. I try to show her how much she means to me and express my unending gratitude but frankly, it never feels like enough. So yesterday, I told ALL the moms in my life just how much I respect them, adore them, and want to be just like them.
I texted, facebooked, called, wrote cards for, and sent gifts to all the amazing women in my life who are moms, grandmas, stepmoms, moms to be, or have shown me a motherly kindness in any way. I got a lot of thank you's, a lot of "you brought tears to my eyes" and a lot of "wish your mom a Happy Mother's Day from me too" messages. But the one that stood out to me was a text back from my dear friend Laura who said, "Thanks babe. I know you'll be an amazing mother someday soon."
If you know Laura, you know that she's never wrong. I will be an amazing mother someday, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for soon. While I desperately want children, it's simply not my time yet. I have to wait my turn and for the first time in my 32 years, I'm ok with that. Those children that John saw in my eyes twelve years ago are still there. I am certain that there is a family in my future. My family just won't be his. He has his wife and child...and I have my whole future ahead of me.
Happy Mother's Day.
This blog is dedicated to all the moms out there who read this blog in the only spare time you have to yourself. I know that it's not easy balancing a baby on your hip, laundry in the dryer, dishes in the sink screaming to be washed, and still finding five minutes to catch up on my (albeit rather pathetic) dating life. But you have shown me such loyalty, such friendship, such love. THANK YOU for that. Your kids are lucky to have you, and so am I. ~ Kimberly Spice