Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Graduation Season June 11, 2012

It’s graduation season and Facebook and the local newspapers are festooned with pictures of graduating high school and college kids. I have a niece graduating from university and a nephew aiming to get the grades to go the university of his choice in the fall. It’s an exciting time and it always makes me wistful.

I’m over my longing for a baby and over my desire to be pregnant. I got over the desire for a screaming toddler first of all, and am largely at peace with the idea of not having the chance to raise children. But my recovery always seems to fall apart when it gets to the teenagers.

You’d think I’d have to be crazy to long for teenagers, and no, I’m not exactly pining for a pouting, door-slamming, know-it-all emo. But in general, I like young adults. I love to get into a conversation (difficult as it might be sometimes) with someone old enough to have opinions, but not yet old enough to be cynical. I love to hear about their ideas and dreams and plans for themselves. And I would have loved to have a kid of my own to be proud of.

I no longer ache for the cherub-like cheeks of a new baby or the warmth of a child in my lap. But I do get a little melancholy knowing I’ll never enjoy the pleasure of knowing I did a good job raising a decent human being to send out into the world.

This feeling will pass and my teen longing will join the ranks of the other stages of childhood I’ll miss and have mourned. But for now, I suppose I’ll just keep imposing myself on my nieces and nephews and living vicariously through my very proud mom friends who are celebrating their children’s rites of passage this summer.

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7 Responses to “Graduation Season”

  1. Wolfers Says:

    Know what you mean… 🙂 Long before I found out I couldn’t have children, I had two fairy-daughters- (we picked the name, since I “adopted” the girls after becoming a close friend with their parents). Now they are adults, and one has her own child- so I guess that makes me a fairy grandmother!

    They were already preteens when I met them; often their parents would send the twin girls to me, to get a break (I can imagine how nerve-wrecking it was to have two PRETEEN girls!) The girls were good, although mischievous and I was good with them.

    Like you, I enjoy interacting with pre-teens and teenagers. It’s fun going out doing activities with them. Gods know the girls are geeks in heart, so we got a kick out of playing PS2 games and video games (our favorite arcade game is Aliens vs. Predators, where you’d find us screaming and cussing while shooting at aliens on the screen!).

    I had tears in my eyes when the girls graduated from H.S. I was terribly proud of them, and still am!

    Nevertheless, I miss hanging out with teenagers; I miss talking existentiality and philosphy with the kiddos.

    Well, I’ll have a nephew soon, so I guess I’ll wait 12-13 years before we’d get to go check new games at the Arcade, go on insane roller coasters and talk about issues dear to the kid. At least, that is something… Let’s hope I’d not be TOO old to ride the hard-core rides; I want to out-laugh the kid! 😀

  2. Lee Cockrum Says:

    I am blessed in this area, I had a teenage foster daughter who is still a big part of our lives at 24 years old. I also have other friends who I am helping or have helped through the teen years.

    I do still pine for a baby, even though I know we are too set in our ways, it would be such a huge upheaval. But baby thoughts still bring tears to my eyes almost every day.

  3. Maria Says:

    I spent a lot of time with my sister’s children, especially during their teen years. It was so wonderful to be able to guide them and they are willing to listen to anyone but their parent at that age so you truly feel your impact. Now they are in their 20s and busy with their own lives and I’ve been feeling very sad and left out. I’m beginning to think I am feeling like an empty nester. I’ve started to explore mentoring students at the university where I work. There are a group of kids who were in the foster system their entire life and are on their own at 18 with no family to offer them support or guidance. I’m hoping to make a connection with someone this way through my job.

  4. Jenny Says:

    I’ve always been more of a baby person and it still hurts to see little ones. However, I get what you are saying about missing that sense of accomplishment one feels as a parent. I have kid siblings and my younger brother graduated from college this year. On the one hand I was so proud. While he really doesn’t exactly see it, I did have a small hand in supporting him to get to where he is. When he stood to receive his diploma, he looked out into the crowd and saw me ~ we made eye contact for a brief second before he ascended the podium. It was such a special moment, he knew I was there, and he knew we were so happy for him. On the other hand, that day was so hard for me, realizing that we’d never attend a graduation as parents. I really struggled through the ceremony and the reception that followed.

  5. loribeth Says:

    Dh & I went to both our nephews’ high school graduations. I had a huge lump in my throat when I saw our tall, handsome nephew (once an adorably chubby,curly-haired toddler), diploma & a couple of awards in hand after the ceremony, hugging his mother, & the pride on her face.

    Junior high grad (Grade 8 or 9, depending on where you live) has also gotten to be a very big thing around here (almost as elaborate as the high school version :p) — our Katie would have been finishing Grade 8 in a few weeks & heading off to high school this fall — so had she been here, I would have been knee deep in prom dress shopping and booking mani/pedis right about now. A few of my friends (IRL & online) have jr high grads in their families and it is very bittersweet hearing about their plans & seeing the photos.

  6. Mali Says:

    Thank goodness we don’t do the graduation thing here in NZ. You graduate from university, and that’s it. So I don’t have to go through that. But I suspect it’s similar to seeing a niece get married, which I did earlier this year. Here was this lovely young woman, who had organised a fabulous wedding in exotic Phuket, marrying the love of her life. I thought I’d find it hard. But I was just filled with pride. It was good.

  7. l00zrr Says:

    I hate graduations. I hated my own because I hated High School. It was an awful experience, all four torturous years. I only attended my own graduation because my parents insisted, they wanted to be proud. I don’t get it. IF I ever have kids I will NEVER encourage them to do something they don’t want to do. I actually hope to never attend another graduation in my entire life. High School SUCKS.


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