It wasn't that I consciously decided not to have kids.
At least, not until I was nearly 35.
It was just...
Opportunities presented themselves - both biological and adoptive - and then, by choice and by chance, those opportunities got swept away without my consent until, all of a sudden, I was practically middle aged without prospects.
And then it occurred to me I rather liked my child-free life. So why try to change it?
Never mind the fact that I didn't feel like I took care of myself particularly well - even though I'd been left to it ridiculously early on - let alone a pet until I adopted Vinny, the guerrilla terrorist cat, 4 years ago today. Until 5 years ago, in my opinion, I wasn't adequately equipped with the fundamental skills required to parent a wee human. My oldest niece and nephew can attest to that...you know, until they were in their teens. Occasionally, I still don't think I am prepared to parent. Parenting a mini me is all-consuming. Exhausting. And I'm already that sans child.
But sometimes...sometimes...my ovaries ache. Like...during the 5 years I spent parenting 600+ children 8 hours a day when I worked at the elementary school. I didn't need children then. I told myself I took the care and feeding of those wriggly beings in hand for a living, I didn't want or need any of my own.
Or like last night. Watching two dads interact with their children - all girls - playing with them, helping them, patiently letting them climb all over them...
I don't know if my tears tonight are for the me I was who needed, and didn't get, that dad or the me I am who needs to nurture.
Regardless, last night I realized something extraordinary. There really is nothing quite like the love of a child. Perhaps most especially when that child is not your own and yet they seek you out, hug you with everything they've got, and exclaim, "You don't need kids! You've got ME!"
You're all I've got, Kid.
And I'm glad.