By Nicole Cater
I’m 38 years old. I’ve never had children. Ideally, looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I would have had them young. I would have been able to keep up with them. Even when I was married, I still would have been able to keep up, mostly. But my husband made the decision for both of us that I would not be having children. I divorced him. I wanted children. I looked with great hope to my future romance. There would be children.
But as the years crept past, as my next relationship went nowhere, I gave up. I would not be a mom. At 35, I made peace with this. Besides, my genetic material is hardly worth passing on. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. To give up one dream when so many have been taken from you involuntarily is hard. Once again, I was shedding tears for what would never be, the life that wasn’t. But this time it was my own doing. I could blame age. I could blame my illnesses. But I know, ultimately, if I wanted the dream to come true, I could have made it happen. Instead, I killed it. My dream did not have to die. I murdered it.
But then J came along. His wife had passed away after a lifelong illness and he offered me the same unconditional love that he gave to her - I grabbed it with both hands. After all hopes had been dashed, long after all dreams had died, here came a new one. True love, at long last. True love is such a cliché; I hesitate to use it. But I use it in a different way. It was not the falling instantly head over heels that we all think of. It was the giddy infatuation that led to a slow burn. The building of a friendship first, love creeping in softly, overcoming my senses with passion.
Did you think I was speaking of J? Oh no, certainly not. It is S who has captured my heart and hasn’t let go. And though I’m not his stepmom, it doesn’t matter to him. I am mom. My bouncing baby boy came into my life at 14. Now at 15, his love for me is as complete as mine for him. We talk about everything and nothing. I dispense advice on topics from homework to bullies to girls. He brings his problems to me. Because I am Mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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