I had a reunion with an old friend last week.
If you’d stumbled on the scene, you’d have recognised the heaving sobs of reconciliation, and regret at not seeing each other earlier.
If Cilla had been there, it would have been the closing scene – shadowed in the background – as she started warbling ‘Surprise Surprise’ with a maroon bouffant and a sequinned dress of shoulder-padded majesty.
Except the reunion was with a childhood teddy bear called Fred. A pale blue and white friend who has had some fur loved off. My Mum had given him a wash so he could meet my newest niece and be loved by another young Miss Green.
So why the tears? I can’t lie, I surprised myself. I’ve not spent the last three decades yearning to see Fred’s face and wondering why he hasn’t written or called – or at the very least knocked some morse code out on the ceiling, from his attic home. I can only think it was one part nostalgia, one part delight and one part regret that his return was for someone else’s baby: a Tear Royale.
Childlessness is a big part of my life; it doesn’t define it, but it lurks in the corners ready to leap out and take me by surprise. I don’t fully understand it. One day I feel happy my life can be spontaneous and free, another time I can be sobbing at the sense of loss. I try to pin it down; work out how I truly feel about it. And it won’t come. The definite decision, the solid answer to the big question. I laugh it off: “I’d be a terrible mother, and leave a child on the bus”, and other times I am angry I can argue it from both sides – a journalist’s curse. I fear the regret of a hypothetical future with a theoretical me.
Just. Make. A Decision. And. Be. Happy. With. It.
People try to help me. Tales of the greatest thing they’ve ever done; whispers that they wouldn’t do it if they had their time again; emailed stats about the danger of the late pregnancy.
“If you truly wanted it, you’d make it happen…”
“Unless you can’t imagine life without them, then don’t do it”
And every day I feel differently. Every day I try to trap the elusive answer, bobbing just out of reach. Yes, or no Roo? Yes.
I envy my husband knowing his own mind and despise myself for my agile, twisting turning mind, searching for a solid answer.
And even if I knew the real answer, there’s no guarantee it could happen. Five years married and not even a scare. Every day I get older – every day further away from the little girl cradling and loving Fred: mini maternal me.