Broody in the Empty Nest

Lisa writes: In England they call it being “broody,” the clock ticking feeling that the one thing in the world you want to hold is your own baby.  It strikes women in their twenties and thirties and if not dealt with can bring on a sense of panic.  But I am in my fifties, almost in an empty nest, and yet I have been having that familiar tug, that feeling like I want to pick up the babies of perfect strangers and have a little cuddle.  When I see a young mother struggling with a whiny toddler and a crying baby, I want to walk over pick the baby up, put her over my shoulder and with that rocking motion we mothers know so well, calm her to sleep.

broody, baby boy, empty nest feeling broody

At first I thought that this was some sort of game that mother nature was playing with my head, making me broody when my childbearing days are over, but then I thought again.  Mother nature is not playing with me, it is I who played with mother nature and if I remember my margarine ads correctly, this doesn’t end well.

I had my kids in my thirties, long after she intended me to bear offspring.  On my clock I have kids in college and could be a decade away from meeting my grandchildren.  On her clock, I should have already purchased the layette, hosted the shower, offered to take the baby for the weekend and just maybe visited on Grandparents Day at nursery school.  You see I fooled with the timeline the universe had set out for me, yet someplace deep in my soul, deep in a very basic part of my brain the message didn’t get through.

Laughing Baby

A Grown and Flown friend writes: A colleague forwarded a YouTube video today that shows a baby gurgling with laughter as his father tears a sheet of paper in front of him. Every tear – the sound of it, the sight – sets off peals of happy laughter, unadulterated joy. My response?  I cried.  Not the sort of “laugh-until-you-cry” moment.  Tears of loss and sadness as I remembered my own laughing baby.

I have so few memories of my children laughing like that, or of laughing with them in that way.  I went back to work when each of my boys was 12 weeks old.  For the first years, I commuted to the city.  I had to catch a certain train every day to get home in time for the sitter to catch her bus, and if she missed her bus, it meant strapping two kids into car seats and driving her home, and then coming back to start our evening together.  To bathtime and stories. I don’t regret that I have always worked outside the home.  I had no choice about this, but I also have no remorse. [Read more…]