When a proofreader was going through the manuscript for Seraphic Singles/The Closet's All Mine, she wondered how "Other People's Children" fit into the rest of the book. One moment I'm talking about dating (or not dating) and the next moment, I'm babysitting my nephew. What was that all about?
What that was about was that many women (if not most women) love children, especially babies, and one of the harder burdens of Single life is not being anybody's mummy or, if a Single mum of one, never being anyone else's mummy. My life as a Single woman--and now my life as a Married woman--is infinitely richer for my sister's son "Pirate" and my brother's children "Peanut" and "Popcorn."
I know this isn't a tremendous comfort if you're the only child of an only child, or just don't get along with your family, but some of us can feel better about "not starting a family" when we remember that we were born into a family and have a permanent place in it. Even as family members die, we're the people who pray for them, and hopefully they are praying for us. Love lives forever.
Sadly, I don't get to see my nephews and niece as much as I'd like, for I live across the ocean from all of them, but I enjoy socializing with the Youngest Member of the Parish and his mother.
Feel free to mention in the combox any of your little friends: nieces, nephews, wee brothers and sisters, fellow parishioners, students, babysitting charges. Don't use their real names, of course! Think of a cute one-time-only nickname.