Motherhood was never for me. I knew from a young age that it wasn't my choice. I've known people who were not meant for motherhood but went ahead with it anyway, a sorrow for them and their kids to struggle through.
But I've found something in my neighborhood I never thought I'd find: children who enchant me. Just the other day I came out on my porch to find this batch had lined themselves up to have their picture taken. (Apparently word has gotten around that Petrea likes to take pictures.) I snapped a few before they realized I'd started, so they're just waiting here, not posing yet.
These small individuals are just like every other individual, which is to say not one of them is like anyone else. Each of them is a special heart, a special brain, a unique person preparing to contend with the world.
John and I have always said we "lucked out in the neighbor department" in Pasadena. Good people on all sides. That includes the children. Gee, I wonder where they get that?
Not everyone is meant to be a parent. Some of us are perhaps meant to be those people down the block who let folks act silly at their house.
I don't regret my choice not to have kids. But I hasten to add, I'm thrilled with our choice of neighbors.
I also lucked out in the mother-in-law department. Phyllis welcomed me from day one. I love how she has advice on hand if I need it (and I do need it), but she never forces it on me. She's fearless, too: she forges ahead with projects that interest her, art forms she wants to explore and technology she wants to learn. Nothing stops her. Here's my favorite picture of John's mother Phyllis, aka Diva:
It wasn't taken in Pasadena but on Whidbey Island, Washington. Phyllis had organized a family reunion there to honor her mother. That reunion brought together a family that had been scattered for years. I like this shot for a couple of reasons: partly because John and his father confer in the background, but mostly because Phyllis takes her place in the foreground, and in her family, as matriarch.
Happy Mother's Day.