When I was 26 years old, I became pregnant. I was married at the time, but we both knew that we didn't have a lifestyle that was conducive to raising a happy, healthy, well adjusted kid (is that even actually possible?)
I struggled with the choice to terminate the pregnancy. I had never actually wanted children prior to that moment in my life, but baby hormones are FOR REAL and I began to waiver in my conviction.
Ultimately, we decided to terminate the pregnancy.
That choice changed the trajectory of my life.
I have re-visited that choice many times since then, and mostly I am grateful that I didn't have a child with that person; especially considering who I was at that time.
Even still, my mind tracks the years. I think, wow, my child would have been this age this year. I wonder what he/she would be doing now? I wonder what my life would look like?
I'd like to believe that I made the right choice, and on days like today, I find myself going further into the story of what life would have looked like if I'd decided to have children.
You see, today, I sang for the funeral of a matriarch; a woman who was was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a dear friend to my parents.
As I listened to the homily the priest delivered talking about her life, I watched her husband, a man I have known since I was five years old, and all of their offspring, move through the experience of saying goodbye to this amazing woman.
She was described as "selfless, brave, giving, a well spring of compassion, a deliverer of truth, an angel on earth."
I began to reflect on my own life. I looked at all of the twists and turns. The choices.
I have often said that "my art has been my offspring." I "never got the call,." "I was never in the right place in my life with the right person."
I'm sure every life contains regret. I'm not talking about the little bullshit regrets here, I'm talking about the big, knock the wind outta ya stuff.
Today, I got the wind knocked out of me when I realized that I haven't built a family. Oh sure, I have parents and a brother as well as some aunts and uncles who love me and I love them, but when they move onto their next adventure, who will I have? Who will be gathered around my bedside when I receive my last earthly breath?
So before I decided to finish the bottle of wine myself tonight out of sheer self pity, I thought I would take a moment to see what I HAVE created as my family in lieu of having children...
Once upon a time I was the loneliest extrovert you could ever meet, but in recent years, I have let my guard down and my intuition rise. I no longer feel I have to fear who I might let into my life because I can trust myself to know who will be worthy to stand at that bedside and who will not.
I am allowing my soul family into my life and I have just the tiniest little seed of faith that I am giving birth to a family that will stand by me, celebrate, and allow me the honor of doing the same for them.
Will there always be a little twinge of pain around what might have been if I'd had children? I suppose so, but I am proud that I stood by my convictions and didn't just sleep walk through those choices.
Every person in my life right now is a choice. I am happy to say that I am choosing wisely with love for myself and for the whole of humankind knowing that I may not be everyone's cup o' tea and everyone may not be mine, but I can trust that I will know how to sort the difference with love and compassion for all.
After all, it's a choice...