Treva Brandon has mixed emotions about graduation day, for good reason. Read more from Treva on her blog.
If you’re someone like me who tried to have kids and couldn’t, there are times in life that can be sad reminders.
For most child-free women, it’s probably Mother’s Day: an emotionally tough day indeed for those of us who will never have children of our own to celebrate us.
I can get through Mother’s Day because thankfully, I still have my mom to celebrate. The brunches and lunches, activities and outings, keep us both busy and keep my mind off anything remotely self-pitying. Since I’m her only child, I make sure the day is filled with love and distractions galore.
No, the day that absolutely kills me is Graduation Day. That’s the day I really feel my childlessness.
For several years, I’ve lived within walking distance to my high school, which means for several years I’ve also been within earshot of graduation rehearsal and ceremonies. Every June the entire neighborhood is treated to the sounds of a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and the long reading of the names of student graduates.
It’s lovely and joyful, and depressing as hell. So much so that I have to run to the local Starbucks until it’s over.
You see, every time I hear the strains of Pomp and Circumstance coming from the front lawn of my high school, my heartstrings get pulled, and I’m painfully reminded of the kids I forgot to have. Well, maybe not “forgot,” more like waited too long to have. Those opening notes aren’t music to my ears; they’re tones of regret for not taking my biological clock more seriously.
I spoke about this several months ago in a blog post entitled “Oh My God, I Forgot To Have A Baby!” If you missed it, here’s a recap of what I went through to get pregnant:
Six IUIs with donor sperm, three rounds of IVF, two embryo transfers using donor eggs, and lots of timed intercourse, which might sound fun, but it wasn’t. Drudgery was more like it. I got on the stick at 43 and got off (no pun intended) at 47, with no more time left on the clock. Game over.
If there was a pity party, well, that’s over too. Onwards, I say! I’ve got other worthy pursuits to keep life full: a busy career, an active social life, good friends and family, and a wonderful new husband who gives my life unexpected dimension and purpose. I continue to work hard to make peace with my past and bring closure to that chapter of my life. It’s not easy sometimes, but I do my best to take the long view; to gracefully accept what was, and appreciate what is now.
It’s true what they say about one door closing and another one opening: you find opportunity. It may not look like what you planned or wanted, but hey, it’s an open door for God’s sake, so walk through it already!
Not long after the baby door closed, the volunteering door swung wide open. I walked through it, and guess what? I found opportunity – to give of myself and be of service to others.
Last year, I joined my husband Robby as a Special Olympics coach (he’s been coaching for 29 years); and after a several year hiatus, I rejoined the Fulfillment Fund last month to become a mentor to a 14-year-old girl named Melissa.
Already, my mentee Melissa and I have established a unique relationship. We talk, we bond, we teach each other things and learn about the world together. I like to think we both have a bright future ahead of us.
You want unexpected dimension and purpose to your life? Try volunteering. It’s THE greatest thing you can do, especially if you don’t have kids of your own.
Last week, I attended Melissa’s eighth grade graduation from Global Education Academy, a bilingual school located in South Central Los Angeles. It had everything you’d come to expect in a graduation: a booming P.A. system, soaring music, lofty commencement speeches, and a long reading of student graduates.
Come to think of it, it was just like a Beverly High graduation, but better.
Because when I heard the strains of Pomp and Circumstance playing, and saw the processional of young students in their cap and gowns, it pulled at my heartstrings in a way that didn’t have me running to the nearest Starbucks.
It was lovely and joyful, and not at all depressing.
Graduation Day is no longer a sad reminder of my past, but a celebration of everything yet to come.