Rupi Kaur wrote in The Sun and Her Flowers,
in a dream
i saw my mother
with the love of her life
and no children
it was the happiest i’d ever seen her
- what if
It gives me chills to even just read that and when I do, I think about my own mother.
She is a single mother, having raised 4 girls by herself. I’ve seen her breakdown, work back to back hours just to put food on the table, and still manage to haul me to all my after-school activities. It was impressive, though as a typical teenager, I didn’t truly appreciate her efforts until after I left home.
But was she happy? Is she happy…now? I don’t know.
My mother fell deeply in love with someone many years ago. They’re not together, but she still thinks of him and he finds his way into her dreams from time to time. When she speaks with him on the phone, she lights up inside. She becomes a joyful child who just got a bite of her favorite candy. But he’s not here. She’s still not with him, and she never will be.
Would she be the happiest she’d ever be if she were with him right now and her 4 beloved children never existed? That’s morbid, I know. Of course I know my mother loves my sisters and I dearly, but maybe — despite what our culture tells us — there’s more to being happy than having children.
For many, their children become their entire lives. They become so consumed by their lives of their children that they forget to do things for themselves.
I know my mother did. She bought us new clothes every year for the start of the fall semester. Meanwhile, my mother was still wearing clothes she bought in 90s. She paid for me to go off to week-long summer camps and beach trips with my friends, but I don’t recall a time she did that for herself either — except for when the love of her life took her to Las Vegas when I was in elementary school. That man brought her to life and made her remember that she too, in fact, had a life beyond her children.
If I choose to have children, I hope that someone will be there to remind me that I’m more than just a mom. I hope I fall deeply in love with someone who falls just as madly in love with me. I hope that if I have children with that man that we won’t have to hold each other accountable for our happiness, but that we can both find our happiness on our own. However, I hope it’s a happiness that grows better and stronger when we’re together — even with children. Wishful thinking, huh?