Savvy Wiki

I'm One of "Those"

Written By sbaffone

  • 1:11am, 02/06/09

    Oh, Lord, I realized today- I am one of those people. The annoying "dog lady" and the proverbial aunt without children. Both clubs I generally thought it necessary to be a certifiable weird-do and or social outcast in order to gain access and most definitely people for whom we should feel sorry. No offense meant, believe me. Ugh, maybe I shouldn't put that into print to live in perpetuity but its my truth and that is what I am all about these days-staying rooted in my truth-the good, bad and the ugly. Anyway, I never wanted to be a part of either club and yet here I am-feeling a lot like the president of both, appointed to a position for which I never campaigned. Bella is hangin' in but that's about it right now. See, I am reporting on my dog.

    When I was growing up, we lived in one of the most idyllic neighborhoods- something right out of Dennis the Menace. My childhood friends and I would produce plays, variety shows (I always sang), go Christmas Caroling, organized fairs for MS and sled down the hills out back, both on snow sleds and in the spring when the grass finally poked its head out, on big cardboard refrigerator boxes (much to our parents dismay!). Taught to look out for the lonely and elderly, one of our favorite past times, especially in the spring was visiting dear ol' Mrs. Reynolds, who lived in the original farmhouse in our neighborhood, formerly known as Bartram's Orchard. We'd trek our way up the small hill, cross the stream and climb up the steps of her porch that looked just like the one on Walton's Farm. She smile big, open the door, let us in and after offering us cookies, lemonade or whatever the appropriate seasonal beverage, she'd often take us out to her garden and proudly show off her rhubarb, which she used in the most delicious, farm-fresh rhubarb pies. Anyway, even back then as a child, I remember feeling so sorry for her. I knew from a young age that I never wanted to end up like that and while I am hardly lonely or elderly (thank God!) I realize I am that person without children, the one people sometimes whisper about because they can't quite figure out how I am "so good with children" but don't have any of my own.

    In an effort to identify the elephant in the living room, the best strategy I use is to simply put it all out there right up front. When the time seems appropriate, I have learned to say, I don't have children and that's not by choice. We went through years of infertility and it just didn't work.

    The good news however, is that I am an aunt and I while I might not necessarily want to belong to the "women without children" club-I love being an aunt-Aunt Steph to 38 (+ 2 Godchildren). I love them, deeply and profoundly and am pretty sure they love me too. I love them so much I've considered posting publicly what is so wonderful and magical about each one of them but thought it better since the case could surely be made it a pure act of self-indulgence and super boring to anyone not family, so I'll reserve that for another more appropriate forum.

    In the meantime, tonight I chose to revel in the joy of their lives-the exuberance, hilarity, and pure love I know because of them. There is not a time I allow to pass without shouting out, "I love you!", as they pull out of my driveway or after dropping them off from a "playdate" or sleepover. They are precious gifts not exclusive to their parents. While I would love to resign my membership to "women without children" and "weirdo-dog lady", I am a proud, card-carrying member of the aunt club and that I would campaign to be president for any day of the week! The picture is from our Christmas Scavenger Hunt, a holiday tradition I LOVE to design and host. As one of my nieces says, "Its my second favorite day of the year, Aunt Steph!" Her birthday is her first.

    To what "clubs" do you belong? Which ones do you like and or would prefer not to be affiliated or even more so, didn't expect you would ever be a part of? For me, my life has been so much these days about making peace with memberships to clubs I don't like (childless women, daughter without a Mom now, Forty-year olds) and finding the redemptive value in what those clubs actually might have to offer. That's why I am writing a memoir about this very topic.