"Joy, you would be a GREAT mom!" People feel compelled to tell me this, like my friend Peggy did on Monday. Here is the thing, I know that they mean it as a compliment so I take it that way. But they also mean, why aren't you breeding and joining us in this miracle of life? To which I say, thanks but no thanks!
First I must state that I feel like starting a family is the most important decision a person can make (this includes of course who you pick as a spouse) and that is why long ago I pondered good and hard if this was something I wanted in my life? And the answer was: no. No drama, no regrets, it just wasn't something that I wanted to dedicate the next 18+ years of my life doing. I truly applaud those who have chosen the path and do a great job at it, and try and hold my contempt and find compassion for the ones who are shitty at it.
Biologically most people can reproduce, for goodness sakes rabbits can do it in multiples. But truly great parenting is an art, not an easy or perfect one, and it takes dedication, work, and skills. That is why I get really irritated with people who treat it so cavalierly. If someone is not completely committed to parenting a child and all that that entails, they should not have kids (don't even get me started on teen mothers). In the last century our population has exploded; there are already millions of children that have no one to care for them. Besides, no one has such golden DNA that it needs to be passed on; even the Dalai Lama and Jesus' DNA was not vital to their holiness.
What is needed, and what I try to bring to the table, are caring adults to engage in a child's life. Parents are important but so are mentors, teachers, coaches, and... Aunties.
Today I got a call from my best friend Jennifer's son Max (far right in pic), who couldn't wait to play Joy To The World to me on the piano. I had gone to see him in a holiday production Monday night and after he wanted to show me how good he was on the piano. When I asked if he knew my song, he said he didn't. Within two days he learned the song and couldn't wait to show me how fast a learner he is. Now would I have even had the time to go to his concert if I had my own kids to raise, uh... no!
Last Spring I went to see another BF's daughter in her school play. One of the mothers I was introduced to said "Oh, you must be her mom's friend who comes a whole hour to see her every year in her plays." Good thing the lights were about to go out because I was so touched that Elizabeth was boasting about me backstage, I started to tear up.
To me, parents put in all the work and I get to swoop in and have all the fun- or in the case of the teens in my life, the deep conversations. But I am so honored to be a part of a child's life that I can for the time I am there (my max: 6 hrs) be totally engaged in their world.
When the kids can't wait to show me what they are going to be for Halloween in August (above) or go to the zoo, or share which colleges they are scoping, I say thanks for all the hard work you parents do... and YAY Auntie Joy for not being one of them.