I am not a mother. I always wanted to be a mother, at least that is what I tell myself, but perhaps I thought I was destined to fill a role that was not meant to be mines. As I progress through life, I find myself accepting the empty womb and realizing it does not make me an empty person with an empty life. I have many nieces and nephews of whom I adore. They are all spectacular in their own way. They are very different, in personality and temperament, but they all remain to me, sparks of light that fill my world.
My niece, who is eight years old, is incredibly stubborn, funny, and imaginative. She always keeps me guessing and I find myself running just to keep up with her growing curiosity. I admit, I spoil her, that is true. I try to keep it to a minimum, but let’s be honest, I am her auntie and I have no little ones of my own. I want to procure a beautiful and trusting relationship with her, so she knows she is loved and supported unconditionally by me. The fine line between loving and spoiling is something I struggle with constantly. I am always questioning myself to determine if she understands that I mean to give her love and not gifts, and hoping she understands that a gift has nothing to do with love.
I went to see her one day and the second I walked through the front door, she ran into my arms and hugged me. My heart was immediately filled because of this, but then she asked what I brought her. Is it new, is it shiny, or expensive??? At this moment, I thought I had failed her somehow by perhaps convincing her that my love was tied to a gift or bribe the little ones find so appealing. Internally in a panic, I took a deep breath, composed myself, and looked at her little face and quietly uttered the words, “I brought you my love little one, I brought you my love.” Without hesitation, she lay her head back, flinging her arms out to the side like she was getting ready to dance in the rain and yelled, at the top of her sweet little lungs, “BEST GIFT EVER!”
That could be, quite possibly, one of the best moments ever. Knowing a child loves you and knows they are loved by you is, in itself an amazing thing. My hat goes off to all the parents out there who are kindly and carefully shaping their young children to grown into good and decent human beings. It is an extremely challenging task, which in my opinion, goes unnoticed and underappreciated far too often. If I am never meant to be a mother, I can accept that. I am grateful of the role that I do get to fill comes with so many rewards. I may not have given birth to them, but I could not love them more if I had. Children teach us to love more softly and unconditionally than we ever thought possible. It is a beautiful gift that they don’t even realize they are giving.
All of that being said, it is important to remember that love does not only come in one form. It shapes us in many ways. It also teaches us how to grow, forgive, learn, remember and forget throughout our life. Love it or hate it, we are lost without it.