I'm often asked if I have kids.
The answer is a simple "no." That sometimes isn't enough for people. They usually start in with the assumptions. They ask if maybe I can't have them. It's really not their business, but I'm not afforded a whole lot of privacy in my life - my choice, of course. Anyway, that's not the case.
So there's that answer.
Or they may think I don't like kids. Also not true. Want to see me smile?
Put a baby in front of me and wait for it.
Life is funny the way it can play out, and by that I mean things don't always work out how I plan. At one time in my life, children were part of the life plan. Graduate from college, get a great job in journalism, buy my first car, get married, build a house, have babies, etc. That's how I planned it. And, for the most part, I achieved most of my life's plan. Then life, and my direction, changed.
That's been known to happen.
A decade ago - where has all the time gone? - I headed west on a journey bringing me to Colorado. Looking back, I really had no idea what I was doing. All I knew is that I was doing it and I felt adventurous. I remember right before I left, I was driving down East Washington Street with my mom and I knew she didn't want me to go. I recall saying, "I was born in Indiana, and I've lived here all my life. I want to get out and live a little."
I can say that has definitely happened.
Not only have I been living in Colorado for 10 years, but I've also been divorced that long. In this decade, I have had the time of my life, much like Baby did in "Dirty Dancing." Except this isn't summer camp. This is reality and sometimes life's puzzle pieces are slower to fit together than others. I like to think I'm working on one of those masterpieces resembling works of great art like a Van Gogh or a Monet. Someday I'll be sprayed with shellac and hung up in a puzzle museum.
Maybe that will prove my life has been solved.
In short, the last 10 years have gone by much more quickly than I expected. I'm sure I had some secret personal goals of living part two of my dream of a successful career, a happy family and continued good health. Not that I have given up on that idea.
Stranger things have happened.
My life has just taken a different course that has more to do with making people laugh as a comic than laughing with babies as a mom. Instead of cleaning up baby spit-up and toddlers' spilled milk, I've spent my time cleaning up life's little messes like broken hearts and medical bill debt.
I'll take the spit-up any day.
The answer to why I don't have any children isn't as easy as I can't or I don't like kids. The decision hasn't always rested on my shoulders, to be honest. Maybe that's the universe telling me motherhood wasn't meant for me. Maybe it's the universe telling me I need a little more time to get my life in the right place for that role. At this point, I just bank on the idea that life will work itself out, a motto my best friend Megan and I have had for years.
I really do find that it's true.
Like life experience, maybe motherhood will come with time. Children could be an unexpected treat for me. Maybe they will be adopted or a gift from a spouse's previous marriage. They could be honorary, like a degree a celebrity receives from a college where they never graduated.
Maybe they are closer than I think.
- April E. Clark just made her mother's stomach drop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.