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Today is a Different Day
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Today I'm going to a baby shower for my niece by marriage. She and I are not particularly close. Her main goal in life since I can remember has been to have babies and take care of babies. Period. She has been a teacher for a couple of years--kindergarten level, natch--while waiting to become pregnant.

Now that's she's expecting, she will quit teaching and make babies. She's ecstatic, because her first is a boy. Her mother had two girls before she had a boy, so now my niece is finally, at last, better than her perfectionist mother.

Over the years I've tried to indicate, as tactfully as possible, that there's more to life than popping out babies and keeping a perfect house. Babies grow into childhood, adolescence and finally become adults. They will do this best if mom and dad are whole people with lives and interests and goals and ideals beyond the biological.

She hasn't heard a word of it. After all, her mother achieved the same goal by having children of her own and then adopting her infant grandchildren when their mother proved to be a drug addict and abandoned them. I'm guessing my niece will try to do her mother one better in this department, too.

Her mother--my sister-in-law--has come to realize, in the last of her life, that she wanted to do more than have children and raise them and keep a clean house and feed a growing brood. But now it's too late; she's tired and worn out. I've suggested we could go to community college classes together, but she thinks we're too old. Balderdash. From my point of view, we're finally coming into the years when we can fulfill some of the dreams we kept postponing while the everyday demands of living consumed our lives.

And I'm staying in the circle of family and friends, hoping to be there for my niece when she one day realizes that an abusive philandering husband and a brood of children may not be what she wanted after all. She has him under control and the breeding has started--but what will she do with the rest of her life?

If only we could put the experience of ourselves, our mothers and grandmothers into the heads of our children.

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