I've been away the last few weeks. (Read about it here on A Separate Life.) That means I didn't get to fully participate in World Childless Week, other than my three posts here, here and here. I intend - when I recover - going back and reading a lot of the writing and discussion around the week. Even though it has been many years now, it still means a lot to me that a community gets together and discusses our issues with openness and love and understanding.I just wish I'd had time to be involved in real time.
My trip was spent with relatives, and the children of the relatives, so it was a little bittersweet. I loved getting to know the kids better. They're all such interesting young people now, and my niece has admirable feminist tendencies, which I applaud. But she was also a reminder of what I have lost. She was presenting her thesis, thinking about her future, when I remember her as a three-month old one Christmas, the Christmas that I went through whilst my first ectopic pregnancy was resolving. The eldest son would have been just a little younger than my second ectopic pregnancy. He's at medical school across the country, but was there for a few days during our visit. The house was full of people - the two eldest both have partners, and we got to know them as well, they cooked us dinner, we took them out. It was a bustling happy home. We came home to peace and quiet, which is lovely, but it's also sometimes a bit too quiet. Not often, but the contrast is there.
Then of course there was a comment. It was said with the nicest of intentions, and so I hope I responded in kind. It was noted that of the three brothers there, my husband was the most considerate and helpful, getting things done, organising people, etc. "You wouldn't think he would be, because he doesn't have kids," the commenter said. My response was along the lines of "why wouldn't you think he would be?" I went on, but this is paraphrased, and is perhaps stronger than what I actually said. "He's a person, he can see what needs to be done, and as you can plainly see, fathers do not have a monopoly on being helpful around the house." Sigh. There's always someone who says something.
School holidays had not begun. So flight prices were better, places
weren't crowded, traffic was okay. There are benefits to no kidding
And of course, once again, recovery has been easy. Well, as easy as it can be when you're coughing and under the weather. Yes, I picked up a virus. Yes. there was an overnight flight with only about half an hour sleep (we arrived in NZ at 1 am Perth time - ouch) so I needed to recover from that as well as jet lag and illness. Yes, I'm still recovering. Yes, I don't have to drive kids to sports events or ensure they are eating while studying etc etc. Yes, that makes it easier. Though you all know I would have happily done it all.