I didn't get to be a Mom. I needed to make that decision in my 20s; my Dad had muscular dystrophy, as well as a beloved aunt. The medical tests, done by the MD Society, indicated that I was a carrier.
I would only have an MD child if I married somebody with that genetic glitch. But it had happened in my family. It's an awful, difficult disease, and I watched my Dad struggle with it his whole life. He'd been gorgeous, young, vital, beyond strong, generous of heart, great of skill, and the disease took all of that from him. His only complaint? He wished "those old docs would find something for his bad back." Me too. But the disease would die out in my family, for generations to come, if I had no children. I don't understand the biology- genetics very well, but it turns out the disease is passed through fathers to daughters. The sons catch a break on this one. It was not a difficult decision, and I haven't looked back.
My own Mom, kind and loving beyond measure, died when I was seventeen and my brother was thirteen. So you can see that I might approach Mother's Day with some amount of ruefulness.
There is great mystery surrounding the art of mothering. It's at the center of my religion's story, the mysterious Mary. It turns young, self-centered women into the tender, loving, engaging mothers of young children, and it does it with the strength of a biological imperative. It fosters the need for learning and education, for medical care and medical science, for religion, it runs an economy, and sculpts a history. The politics are profound. Everything matters as young women take on the daunting task of raising a baby, herding elementary kids, holding their breaths as the kids plough into adolescence full force.
It goes by in a whoosh, in a breath.
The kids in my family, my niece and nephew, were and are kids who are entirely doted upon, adored, needed, applauded. My sister-in-law Maggie is a wonderful mom, my brother a singular Dad, exactly the man you want raising those two rambunctious kids. I got to be an auntie, and that goes on. Mackenzie is trying for her first job, in a state that is 49th in the economic recovery, and she's an artist to boot. I'm hoping that what we send her props her up, gives her courage, helps her find her footing and a life worth having. Scottie is studying automotive engineering, builds itty-bitty sports cars, so he's gold. We're still doting. That never gets old.
There are little kids whom I adore. The lovely Lily and Lea are two kids who will put us through our paces. Issie and Aubs, two fiesty little girls, still want me to play with them in the backyard. And then there's Charlie, who went on a mission trip to Mexico to help build a house with this family, and is learning how to play the piano. He's really good with both pianos and hammers. Their moms and their grandmoms are some of our favorite people. We love them and support them as best we know how.
I think you do get to have a choice on whether you are parenting material, or not. Not everybody is, for all kinds of reasons. But you do get to love the kids that are given to you to love.
That'd be the great, good thing.