Recently I smiled when I read a post that commented, “little girls need old women,” but almost immediately thought of my own old age, only a decade or two away, and our confident plan to be somewhere where any transitions can be dealt with more easily in our old age without children, and realised that it will be harder to be around little girls there, to be the old woman they need, to get the rewards of being there for someone else. At first, I felt conflicted, wondering if it means I should try to stay in the wider community as long as possible, so that I might have the chance of meeting little girls I could befriend and nurture and listen to? Maybe my plan isn’t as reasonable as I think it is?
I thought of the logistics of doing this, and then I thought of the effort of trying to move, when frail and vulnerable and easily stressed, without any younger generational support, when it was inevitable that I would have no choice but to move. No, my plan still seems sound (though I do have another fifteen or twenty years or so to figure it out properly). And sure, I can be the kindly great-aunt, the one ready to listen to great-nieces when or if they visit. But living where I do, without any relatives nearby, the opportunities for that will be severely limited. So whilst my plan might be sound, what it may mean is that infertility has robbed me even of being the friendly old lady across the road. I feel a little sad at that, because old women need little girls too.