By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
I cried after I got off the phone with my friend Irene*. She had extended an invitation for me to join her and her two small children for some revelry on All Hallow’s Eve, and the ask brought on my waterworks. But not for the reasons you think. It wasn’t because I was once again feeling sorry for myself, heartbroken that I’ll never get to:
- make my toddlers’ costumes from scratch (like my mom used to)
- encourage my teenagers’ creativity when they create their own clever costumes (like I used to do)
- delight my kids by dressing up as something funny (like my dad used to)
- announce that House Rules mandate I get 10% of the haul (Dad again)
- pass along decorations and traditions from my favorite holiday
No. I was crying out of sheer gratitude.
You see, a while back Irene and I had a frank talk about some of the things I’ll miss most because I won’t get to be a mom. Ballet recitals, baseball games, the Tooth Fairy, Santa. And…are you sitting down?…she listened. Not only did she listen, but she heard, and a few months later she did something about it by inviting me to be part of her family, so that I get to experience some of the joys I otherwise would have been denied.
I have been waiting a looooong time to find a friend like this.
I had to decline Irene’s invitation, but I’ve already booked out next Halloween to spend with her and her kids. Oh, and the reason I declined was because I’d already accepted an invitation from another friend to come over to her house and help hand out treats to the neighborhood kids. Look at that: Someone else heard me.
For the first time in ages, I am feeling hopeful again.
*Not her real name. I don’t want to embarrass her, and she knows who she is.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.