Have I mentioned I'm 44? Yeah, that's right... 44! Not 24, not 32, not even 40, but 44--with absolutely no intention on procreating ever again. I am so certain (and paranoid); in fact, that I not only had my tubes tied, but demanded the hub slice off a piece of his manhood in the process. Just so we're clear, I do love being a mother and wouldn't trade in my daughter for anything less than a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with an ocean view on the outskirts of Sorrento, Italy... oh, who am I kidding, I wouldn't even trade her for that!
Lately, despite my strong stance against multiple children, our beautiful, albeit demanding, 3-year-old bundle of joy dropped a major bombshell on me: "I want a baby sister or brother!" I looked deep into her soft, brown eyes and advised, "Well then, you'll have to get a bruthah from a different muthah!" We both had a good laugh, even though only one of us got the joke, but underneath the laughter, a tiny heart developed a small crack, and it wasn't hers. Like I said earlier, I'm 44 and the hub is gonna be 51 the day after our seed turns 4; there's a pretty good chance that one of us (if not both) may not be here if/when she has a child. I know, I know... "Don't say that," but it's hard not to think about when you have children in your later years and even harder when you only have one.
Let me be vaguely honest here for a moment and tell you that I HAVE two brothers, and we barely speak. On a good day, we talk 23 times a year (including holidays), and that's only if the subject is light and call is brief. The truth is, my brothers' don't know me. When we were younger, there was much turmoil and chaos in the house, which was cut short due to the big "D" with the rents. We each went our separate ways and I, being the youngest, ended up living two hours away with my mother. At 18, I packed up my little red sled and headed south. My mother followed and we've been here ever since. I don't see my brothers' often; in fact, I can count on one hand the combined interaction we've had in the past 10 years. So why does it bother me so much that Isla will never experience sibling rivalry? Perhaps it's because there's a chance that her relationships will be different, or better, than mine, but I guess we'll never know.
The other day, while clipping Isla's nails, she began kicking me. "Stop it!" I demanded. "One of these days, you're going to be a Mommy and your little girl is going to kick you in the face and I'm going to laugh and laugh! Then, you're gonna call me up and ask me to babysit and I'm gonna say NO WAY!" "But you HAVE to babysit, 'cause you are my Mommy!" she insisted. "No I don't." I informed. "Well... then, who's gonna watch her when I have to go to work?" she asked. "That's not my problem, I guess you'll have to hire a babysitter or get a nanny." I told her. The conversation continued and I was kicking myself for not recording it, but in the end, we both agreed that: it's not nice to kick our mother and we shouldn't do it ever again. Later that night, as I lie awake in bed replaying the day's events, I wondered what her life would be like without me around. Who would be there to help her in those first few weeks of motherhood, like my mother did for me? Who would she call for guidance, or to share first stories, or even just to babysit? Though in my heart, I know she'll be okay, I also know that no one--not a brother or sister or cousin or friend--can ever fill the void of a mother. All I can do is be the best mother I can be, so that her memories (if that's all she has left) will surpass any pain she may feel... and THAT is one hard pill to swallow!