I have wanted to write this for a long time. I have also never wanted to write this down. It feels selfish, stupid, privileged, entitled, ungrateful, and loathesome. Yet it sits with me everyday and it sits heavy in my heart. I imagine then that I might not be alone in having this feeling. But when I think of the greater picture of life, the real trials that individuals face and that families embrace, it feels insignificant and pales in any comparison ever. It is hard to write this when thinking about our loved ones who hold fast to dreams of growing their own families. My best friend, Laura, in college would say that you cannot compare hards and you have to feel your feelings. So with her words in mind, I am going to share some feelings. In three weeks, Owen turns 1 and our baby days are over. We have been so blessed to have two healthy and happy boys. They are truly the best gifts in the whole world. With their father, they complete our family and I feel so much love for these three men and all the joy and laughs they bring to every single day.
When I was growing up, I used to dream about visiting Rome. My friends and family members also shared these dreams. I would lay in my mother’s lap and we would talk about eating the delicious food and wine and walking through the ancient streets. We would visit the Coliseum and Roman forum, we would throw coins into the fountain of Trevi and drink cappuccino in the piazzas. We would wind our way through the roads of Tuscany and bathe in the warm sunlight. We would gaze in amazement at the great works of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Botticelli. I planned my trip to the very last detail. I collected recommendations from friends and family and took all the steps necessary to make that trip. The day came after years of dreaming, envisioning, and planning. I boarded the airplane and we took off for the peninsula. David and I held hands and laughed as we deplaned for our adventure and then we realized that the plane landed in…Amsterdam!
That is how it feels. I always dreamed of having a little girl. There were visions of daddy-daughter dances, being the “mother of the bride,” and doing all those mother-daughter things that I loved to do so much with my own mom. I dreamt about raising a brave, bold, independent and fierce young woman. I imagined telling her tales of not only her amazing great-grandmothers who shattered female standards but of her loving and kind grandmothers and of women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg who ensured that her life would be equal and valued. Or stories of Elizabeth Blackwell who challenged the patriarchy and became America’s first female doctor. We would admire the fictional Lesley Knope but also enjoy some pink fantasies nonetheless. And when she had her own babies, I would help raise them as my mother did for me and my grandmother for her. And of course there would be so much in between all of this.
But, I landed in Amsterdam. My friends who made it to Rome will revel in those dreams and realities. They have their daughters to raise and I will lovingly watch but the sadness of not also being in Rome will weigh on my heart everyday. I feel this little heaviness everyday as I scroll through Facebook or Instagram and see all the mothers of daughters. I feel a sadness as the only little girls I will really be able to kiss and hold are my two nieces, and I feel sad being different from my brother and brother-in-law who are raising their strong daughters. I feel like I am missing something crucial to my identity, a part of my skin, a part of my essence. In many many ways, I do not feel like my family is complete (or ever will be).
Yes, Amsterdam is beautiful! It has tulips and windmills and lovely, picturesque canals. It has Van Gogh and Rembrandt and a wild countryside. I would never change having Henry and Owen. They make my days beautiful and their unique personalities are hilarious to watch unfold. I want to be in Amsterdam! I am excited to raise strong, compassionate young men who support their partners’ dreams and who respect the dignity, humanity, and value of others. I am excited to run wild with them as they explore the world around them. But I will always dream of also visiting Rome and wondering what it would be like to bring my boy club there (I guess I am greedy). It is a feeling I will carry everyday of my life. I know it and it breaks my heart.