I’ve always pictured myself as a mother of a big family. Growing up as one of five kids in less than seven years might have predisposed me to think in terms of many children, but I always say I was born wanting children. I never not wanted to be a mom. Never.
Then I married my husband. I could swear I told him I wanted children, I must have. How could I not? I didn’t find the right man until my late-mid twenties, my biological clock had been ticking since I was what? Two?
When I started seriously pushing, his reply was, “No. I don’t want children.” NO? Who was this man? Didn’t he listen? Or did I just assume marriage meant children and of course he would understand and agree? Me being me, “no” to children simply did not mean no, it couldn’t, and I had every intention of having a child.
Well, we had a child. One. A boy, strong and healthy after an appalling pregnancy. High risk, hyperemesis gravidarum (which means the vomiting never ever stops, not for months and months and – well, that’s graphic enough), it became so severe it triggered a latent heart condition I never knew I had before that time, plus several episodes of pre-term labor. That pregnancy cured me of ever wanting another pregnancy. I had my boy, and I found I was happy.
Good thing, because being a parent means you are a parent For Ever. Even when they are teenagers and simply refuse to clean their room. REFUSE. I love my son with a passion I believe no one can know unless you are a parent, but parenting is never easy. When the bedroom mess crept out into the hall, I began to dread walking up to the second floor. If I had to go into his room for any reason, I first had to fight my way to his door, and most of the time heard things break deep underneath. I never got hurt, but it didn’t do my blood pressure any good.
I had begun writing when he was little. No, I started much earlier than that, but I got serious about it when he was little. I peopled my books with characters nearly as demanding as my child, and perhaps that is how I filled my mind with a bigger family. They, too, often refused to do what I wanted, woke me with ideas in the middle of the night until I started keeping a notepad by the side of my bed, and there were always more of them. I could have as many as I wanted. Names I never got to use on living children I gave to my characters. They never loved me back, but they never messed the house into the hallway, either.
As children do, he grew up. (Never cleaned his room, but he did grow up.) And he moved away. And eventually married his teenage heartthrob, after nearly a decade apart. (It’s a lovely story, but it’s his to tell.)
As I felt the day coming when he was going to leave, I wondered if I would suffer the ‘empty nest syndrome.’ It really worried me. I had heard so many tales about parents going into serious grief when the last child moved out. (The first child, for that matter.) He was, after all, my only one, my lone ‘chick,’ and he was going to leave the nest, never to return.
Remember his room? About two days after he was out, my husband and I (yes, the same hubby) went into his room and dunged out what was left. The floor had to be scrubbed, I even took a picture of the dust bunnies just in case I ever suffered from nostalgia. (Hasn’t happened!) I painted and wallpapered the walls, put in a lovely tile rug to cover the damage beneath and hung a stunning vintage chandelier. In less than two weeks, I turned it into a beautiful sewing room, where I now teach sewing classes.
My books are finding their way out into the wide world, just like my son. I’m proud of all of them, my living child and my imaginary ones. I often miss having my son in the house, miss the sound of his voice, but I never miss the mess that was his room.
There is a lot to say for a clean house!
Mary Ellen Boyd
Temper The Wind http://amzn.to/1Fpjh3O
His Brother’s Wife http://amzn.to/1JtZPVZ
Fortune’s Flower http://amzn.to/1HIGSwv
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Guest posts are the opinion of that author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Gilda Evans or others posted here.