Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Soccer November 8, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I am a lifelong UCLA Bruins fan, I am growing to love the San Francisco Giants, my adopted team, and we have season tickets for USF men’s basketball. But cleats down, my favorite spectator sport is kindersoccer.

Kindersoccer is not quite “soccer” because it is being “played” by first-year athletes, the five- and six-year-olds. There are no real rules. The players travel around the field in a pack, following the ball, kicking randomly, and ignoring any concept of positions or strategies. Once in a blue moon, the ball connects with a foot, meanders through a tumble of pudgy bodies, and makes its way into the net. Everyone cheers. No one boos or screams obscenities. Loyalties are not based on team colors. It’s a field full of pure joy.

I don’t get to experience this very often, because as a non-mom, I am on the sidelines of the sidelines. I’ve told family and friends, “Send me your game schedule! I’d love to come!” and occasional invitations come through. But mostly, they are ignored, I guess because the families are too busy or they don’t think I’m serious in my request. And after I’ve asked a few times, I let it go, because I don’t want to seem pushy or weird.

This. Totally. Sucks.

So to my friends with kids, I repeat: I would love to join you in cheering on the basketball/baseball/soccer/football team this and every season. Your kid gets all the glory, and you might mend a piece of my heart. Everybody wins.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She will never forget watching her nephew make his first hit in his first-ever T-ball game.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Nostalgia September 13, 2011

By Kathleen Guthrie

It began with a brief mention in a book: The character stopped to wind her watch before going to bed. Winding a watch. I’ve become so accustomed to my battery-operated Iron Man triathlon digital watch, with all the timers and trackers and buttons that do I-don’t-know-what. I’d forgotten what it was like to have to wind a watch at the end of each day to simply be able to tell the time.

And then, I got into a conversation on Facebook about what’s good about e-mail. I contributed how it helps me stay in touch with friends who have moved out of the country, into different time zones, and recalled the days of typing letters on “onion skin.” Do you remember onion skin paper? I know if I tried to explain it to my nieces, they would look at me like I was crazy. “You peeled the skin off an onion and wrote letters on it?!” I can understand why they would think that was weird.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I sat next to my great-grandmother and listened to her stories about traveling from Montana to Colorado in a covered wagon. In my limited experience, only Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie did that, and that was on TV, so it couldn’t be real, right? But my great-grandmother was a pretty serious lady, so I swallowed my skepticism. In time, I learned to listen and I began to wonder how much the world would change by the time I got old.

I don’t consider myself “old” at 45, but I am older, and I continue to be in awe at how much the world has changed in my lifetime. I love how my place has shifted in the circle of life, how I am now the teller of strange tales. “When I was your age…,” I begin, and my nieces give me that look. It may be weird to them now, but I hope some day they look back and think the role I played in their lives, bridging the gap between my past and their present, was also wonderful.

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s old enough to remember when the whole extended family could pile into one car, seatbelts not required.

 

Nieces and nephews August 5, 2011

I have just booked my flight to go home to England to see my family. I am counting down the days. I am long overdue for some time off, but more than that, I want to see my nieces and nephews.

I’ve been writing on this blog lately about the role we can play in the lives of other people’s children and how valuable that can be for us and them. The problem is that I’ve lived away from my family for 20 years. I have a niece and a nephew already out in the workforce, three more in college and another three growing up way too fast. My circle of influence over them, or even my participation in their lives at all, feels so insignificant.

Now I don’t have children of my own, I wish that I could have played a bigger role in their lives. But that’s all water under the bridge, as they say, so all I can do now is make an effort to spend some time with them, which is exactly what I plan to do. Soon.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Happily Ever After February 28, 2011

Filed under: Childless Not By Choice,Children,Family and Friends — Life Without Baby @ 6:00 am
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By Kathleen Guthrie

My two oldest nieces, ages 8 and 10, recently appeared in a local theater production of Into the Woods. I saw it on Broadway 20 years ago, loved it, but had forgotten that the central story is about the Baker and his Wife and their search for items to break a curse…their curse of not being able to conceive a child. Yeah. A musical about infertility. Good times.

 

As we waited for the show to start, the gentleman sitting next to me asked which cast members I had come to see. I pointed to the girls’ names in the program, and he pointed to the name of his niece. But it wasn’t until after curtain calls, when he congratulated me on having such talented daughters, that I realized he thought I was the proud momma, not the proud aunt.

 

And this got me thinking…. Growing up, my siblings and I took turns performing on stage and in sporting events, then sitting in the audience or the bleachers to cheer for each other. My parents attended almost every event, so naturally I assumed I would one day be the mom handing out programs, running the box office, or yelling my lungs out as my kid kicked the winning goal. I was sure I would have much to be proud of. It never occurred to me that I would be denied the pleasure of hearing someone say, “She must get it from you.”

 

“I wish…,” the characters sing in the play, and I know it would be so easy to dwell on my curse. Instead, I choose to create my own version of happily ever after.

 

 

Kathleen Guthrie is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in AAA’s Westways, GRIT, Real Simple, and 805 Living magazines. Read “How to Be the World’s Best Aunt Ever” on eHow.com.