I’ve never wanted children of my own. When I was little, I didn’t think about what it would be like to be a mother, nor did I treat any of my dolls like they were my babies.
When I was a teenager I was certain I didn’t want children and when I moved into my 20’s I was even more sure. So much so, I’d get into roaring arguments with anyone who dared to tell me, “Oh, just you wait. Your biological clock will start ticking and you’ll change your mind.”
Any time a baby was passed around a room, I’d find a reason to go and help out in the kitchen to escape the fear I felt over being made to hold a baby. Sure, I’d make faces at little kids to get them to laugh, but the minute their clocks ticked over to meltdown o’clock, I was extremely grateful said child was not my own.
When I turned 30, my sister got married. I knew what this meant. I knew my sister and brother-in-law would bring a child into this world. I knew it in my bones and the thought struck a quiet terror inside me.
My life was going to change forever. Up until that point, I’d successfully managed to avoid most children and life was good.
Diapers and meltdowns. Germy hands and snotty noses. I’d have to hold a baby! GOOD GAWD, I’D HAVE TO HOLD A BABY!
I’D HAVE TO BE A ROLE MODEL! <Insert great panic here.>
Time passed and my niece was born. I hid my fear behind a brave face of welcoming change and then one day she smiled at me. In that moment, everything did change in the most wonderful way possible.
As she nears her second birthday, I’m so grateful for all she’s taught me.
Most of all though, she’s taught me that I had no idea—absolutely no friggin’ clue—that I could love so deeply. The depths of my love for her mystify and baffle me every day.
I love my family and I love my friends. I’ve been in love and had my heart-broken. I’ve been in love and fallen out of love. And yet, I never knew, until my niece was born, just how much I could love someone.
It makes me a bit weepy just thinking about. The woman I used to be is gone, and in her “I never want children in my life” place stands someone I never thought I would be. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I still don’t want children of my own, but it excites me to be the best possible aunt I can be.