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A Different Kind of Lullaby

"Will I ever be a mother?" That's a question I've asked myself many times over the last several years. And now that I've just celebrated my thirty-nineth birthday, that question has become a statement. I don't think it's in my cards to have a child. I'm writing about this subject because I know many single and married women close to my age who struggle with the concept that they may never conceive a child of their own. And for many of us, there's a feeling of sorrow in that fact. Yes, of course adoption is a beautiful option. And science has progressed in such a way that a woman doesn't need a man in her life to have a baby. But that's not what this story is about. I'm not writing about all of the choices women have today to raise a child of their own. And this isn't necessarily a blog about the blues of being childless. This story is a different kind of lullaby.

I always thought that I would give birth to a child. It was mapped out in my mind. This was my plan: I would graduate from college, find a job, get married, and then start having babies. That's how my mom did it. So of course, I would follow her lead. Life had a different plan.

I did graduate from college. And then I got a job. But I never got married. And I never had a baby. About a year ago, I was scheduled for a routine appointment with my female OB/GYN. And I love her! She's young, cool, professional (but also laid back), cautious, yet she never overreacts to anything. During this particular appointment, after all of the basics were covered, my doctor sat down in her chair while I was sitting upright on the patient table. My body was mostly covered by a medicinal-smelling patient robe with an open slot near the chest for breast exams. My doctor looked at me very matter-of-factly and said, "Now that you're thirty-eight we should talk about the option of freezing your eggs if you think you'll want to have children." And there is was. The acknowledgment that I was no longer a "spring chicken." I took a deep breath and said, "I bet that's expensive." She told me that it probably would be. And then I said, "Is there any chance that you can find me a man first?" She laughed and said that she doesn't envy her single friends who are exploring today's dating pool. After that conversation, I confessed that I didn't want to have a child on my own. While I have enormous respect for the many single mothers who raise and love their children while working hard to provide for them every day, I knew that I didn't want to take the journey of parenting alone. Not by choice. And so I left my aging eggs untouched. And as the next year ticked away, I tried to make peace with the idea that I might not have ever have a baby.

Somewhere deep inside of me, there's a voice that holds out hope that it could happen. But I must confess that other thoughts about having a child cross my mind now that I'm nearing forty. I have thought to myself, "I can pick up and go anytime I want. And having a child would change that freedom. Is my lifestyle too selfish for a baby now?" And when I do the math, I also think, "Do I want to be a fifty year old woman with a ten year old, plus another decade before I have an empty nest?" But then as my number of birthdays continue to increase, I also don't like the idea of being told, "You can never have a baby." Never. It's an awful word. And a hopeless concept. Yet still, all of these thoughts invade my brain whenever I think about reproducing.

And then, one night, something happened. It was a profound moment for me as I struggled with my questions.

This is the story of Lauren. And this what she taught me.

Lauren is three years old. She is pint sized with delicate features. Her skin is porcelain, but sometimes her cheeks turn a natural shade of pink. Her soft hair is curly and a shade of blond that might turn brown one day when she gets older. And her little voice has tones of a sweet melody every time she speaks. If you ask Lauren today what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll tell you that she wants to be a fairy. Which seems perfectly fitting to me because I believe she has magical powers. And while she's not old enough to write her own name, she seems intuitive enough to read the souls of every person she meets. Lauren is a lover of people. In a quiet way. I notice this every time she walks into a room. People are drawn in by her sweetness. This doesn't mean that she likes everyone. But for those of us lucky enough to connect with her little soul, it's the kind of feeling that makes your heart smile. Lauren is my niece. And she taught me that I can have a bond with a child who is not my flesh and blood.

I had Lauren stay with me for a sleep over one night. A big girl bed was prepared for her with softy blankets, stuffed animals and a bright, night light in case she became afraid of the dark while staying in an unfamiliar home. Our day together was filled with choo choo train rides, princess movies, sweet treats and splashing around in a wishing fountain with a sign that read, "No Wading." Hey, I'm the aunt, sometimes we break the rules! After a dinner capped off with a homemade sundae bar, we danced around the family room to Katy Perry music (her playlist choice). It was a busy day and by 9pm, Lauren's eyes were sleepy. I took Lauren up to the bedroom that was prepared for her and read her a bedtime story. I kissed Lauren on her forehead and left the room. After a long day of fun, I was ready to retire for the night. But as I was pulling back my bedcovers, I heard the tiny cries of a little girl outside of my room. It was Lauren. I picked her up and asked if she wanted me to read another story. She shook her head no and said, "Katy Perry." I knew what she wanted. It was a different kind of lullabye.

We snuggled in my bed together and watched a few Katy Perry music videos. Again, I'm the aunt. Why would I want to deprive this little soul of a nighttime pop lullabye? After watching the "Roar" video for the third time, I insisted that we go to sleep. Lauren looked at me with her tired eyes and shook her head yes. And then I kissed her goodnight on her forehead and said, "I love you." She looked up at me with her blue eyes, that for such a small human being are filled with lovliness and grace, and said, "I love you Aunt Andrea." She rested her head of curly locks on my shoulder. And then I watched this child with magical powers drift off to a place of happy dreams. In that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of love for her. She wasn't bioloically my own, but she didn't need to be for me to love her like a daughter.

Will I ever be a mother? Probably not. But Lauren taught me that for some us, it's okay to sing a different kind of lullabye.

Andrea Vecchio

About the author

Andrea Vecchio (@andreavecchio) is the founder and author of Live Your Playlist, creator and host of the digital series Driving Cleveland, motivational speaker, life strategist, and Emmy-nominated television host.

24 comments on “A Different Kind of Lullaby”

  1. Carly Reply

    Made me cry, Andrea! Great post! You can love my little E if you ever need a sweet boy to snuggle ;). Good luck on your journey…wherever it takes you :)

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Carly, you can bring that sweet baby boy around me anytime and I will snuggle with him! Thank you for this wonderful message! xxoo

  2. Julie Norris Reply

    So sweet Andrea!! Sometimes we just never know..I always say God works in mysterious ways ..sometimes we may not understand or get the lyrics at first but we just keep on listening:)
    I was a firm believer I’d never have kids..granted I started a little differently but its amazing the love that consumes you from one lil person–I went from thinking a firm zero to 5!! so stranger things happen:)

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Wow, 5?? That’s wonderful! What great blessings you’ve had Julie! And I agree with you 100%, we don’t always understand the plan, the lyrics, or the message UNTIL at first. But in time, clarity gives us our answers. Thank you for your post :)

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Thank you Lisa xxo… you have a sweet heart… all good things and blessings will continue to come your way!

  3. Shelli D Reply

    Proud aunt surrogate aunt lol I love all my babies or bundles as my boss from SC calls them… I will never be a birth mother but I have lots of bundles to love and love me back

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      And they are lucky to have your love Shelli! I know how much we, as aunts, ADORE our little nieces and nephews!!! Unconditional for sure!

  4. Rebecca Reply

    This is great and so true…I just mentioned something about this to my sister and my niece was in the room and she said “you don’t need your own kids, you have us”!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      That’s amazing! I love that your niece said that to you Rebecca! Obviously you are a favorite aunt :)

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Thank you Bonnie! As for my singing… well, some might question my tone and my tune hahaha!

  5. Debbie Britt Reply

    Beautifully written, Andrea! I am so very proud of the woman you are. I believe you will have your Mr. Right and your own child, but only God knows our future :-) Be blessed, precious lady!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Thank you Debbie! It’s definitely in God’s hands. I’m just along for the journey 😉 We all are!

  6. Jane Kauffman Reply

    Lovely story, Andrea. You can be the lovely “spoiler aunt” and enjoy your nieces and nephews like we enjoy our “greats”. We were not destined to have children but were blessed by adopting two. Blood is ok, but it’s not everything; love is what counts!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Absolutely Jane! Love is what counts! And no doubt you give LOTS of love to your children! I’m so lucky to be an aunt to 6 beautiful, smart and amazing kids.

  7. Kristin Reply

    Hi Andrea,
    I enjoyed reading this blog. Lauren sounds like a sweet child. What a gift from God. Enjoy her unconditional love :)
    Many Blessing to you and your family!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Hi Kristen! Thank you so much! Lauren is absolutely precious! (and so are my other 3 nieces and 2 nephews). Today I saw Lauren and told her how special she is… her reply… “You’re special too Andrea.” Haha! Love the little ones. They melt your heart with simple words every time. Sending blessings to you and your family too. xxoo

  8. Jay Pillo Reply

    I am 54 years old and I have 2 step children & 5 step grandchildren. I never had kids of my own (biologically), but I challenge anyone, anywhere, to love their children any more than I love mine. Family doesn’t have to mean blood related, it comes from the heart; my heart; their heart. Also, I was adopted when I was 4 days old, so I definitely can relate to unconditional love. My parents were not my “birth parents”, but it takes a special kind of person to raise a child as their own. Thank you, mom & dad.
    You have felt that same feeling with your niece. Speaking from experience, it is truly a special feeling that goes beyond description. Savor the moments.

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      I love this story that you shared Jay! It sounds like you are a blessed man. And it all begins with the parents who love and raise us (blood or not… it’s LOVE that really counts). Thank you for your beautiful thoughts.

      • Jay Pillo Reply

        Thank you, Andrea……I truly AM blessed. And so are you; you are also fortunate enough to feel the unconditional love from your nieces and nephews. There is no better feeling on this Earth that can compare to knowing that you are so special to someone else. We may not always feel important to ourselves, but to others, we could mean everything, If you never give birth to children yourself, so be it, You still have all of the benefits of being able to give your love and heart to children who feel that same way about you.

  9. gary gates Reply

    hi andrea,
    am anxious for your book to come here in tampa! i enjoyed reading this blog about having kids and i can identify how you felt as i remember going through my twenties, thirties and forties! am 54 now and i look back on my earlier days and remember having a map like plan for life because it seemed that once my high school and college years passed in the late 1970s -early 1980s, most of my neighborhood friends got married and had kids! but my goals were get into the job that i wanted first and then if it happened great, if not continue doing what i have always been. my close female friends have always told me that i would be a great father and husband to some woman some day and i know that they were being supportive but they did not know that in the 1980s, alot of ladies that i knew who were single, told me that it is hard to be in relationships and to enjoy being single. my only hard part was that to some degree, i felt left out in a way! then as i got to my 30s and still never married and no girlfriend, i began to plan my life. i decided that when i was in my forties, if i did not hook up with that certain comeone special, ok but if you look down the road, do you want to raise kids in your 50s as well?
    i remember when i worked at captain kids world at sea world aurora in 1983-84 and we were surrounded by all kinds of kids and most of my co workers were female and alot said to me “someday gary, you will make a great father” well, never had kids BUT, i did raise one female cat that lived to be 15 and one male cat that lived to be 18 and it seemed like i did have kids with those cats cause i raised the caats at the same time. i also remember staying at my grandparents condo in sarasota florida and meeting their neighbors and after talking to them, they would ask me if i was married and i said no and their response was “how did you escape that” so i kind of thought about what they meant and i guess they were giving me a compliment.
    now thay i am mid 50s and nearing closer to retirement, my job comes first and then someday i hope to meet that certain someone specail who is like me and realize that were both too old to have kids BUT, can still find that lady and enjoy life all the way to the end. i have always
    told my close friends that if that day happens, i will treat the lady like a queen!!!!!!

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