Friday, April 3, 2015

One More Heartbreak

This post does not mean I have had a change of heart about childfree. I'm still okay with it, generally happy with it, and if I did want to flip flop, I still can. But something happened last year when I was visiting my mom and ive been meaning to blog about it, but honestly, it took me a while to get my thoughts together.

We were at an antique consignment mall, browsing all the stalls, looking for fun and interesting things, when we ran across a stack of photographs. The photographs were mid-century family snapshots. Kids, parents, grandparents, likely aunts and uncles, etc. My mom frowned and I asked her what was wrong.

"How sad that nobody wanted these photos," she said. "Someone's family and there wasn't anyone left to save them." 

Now, there are probably lots of reasons why the photos could have ended up in an antique mall, not just childlessness. Maybe they accidentally were left in a book which was then donated or sold. Maybe they are pictures of an estranged family. Maybe the descendants of the people in the photos just didn't want to keep them? But that hit home.

"Who will keep the photos of our family?" I said.

No, seriously. I'm the end of the line for my mom's family. Her sister had kids, but what a clusterfuck that side of the family is. I wouldn't count on anyone in that family to keep family history or heirlooms. It's something that makes me sad. Just like seeing my mom's sadness at not having grandkids. She never pressured me, but when we confessed we were trying, she was very excited. These are the things that still break my heart a little.

No matter what, having kids is not a guarantee that your family heirlooms and photos are safe, just as having kids is no guarantee that someone will take care of you when you get old.

I guess I'll have to work on being such a bad-ass cool auntie that my friend's kids will want these things to keep and respect.


  1. There are definitely lots of reasons. This is a long story, but my deaf-mute uncle moved into an assisted living unit in town after my grandfather died. Then he met up with this kook of a woman & they got married. He moved in with her and she put all of his stuff into a storage unit, including all of the family photos from the farm. And then she didn't pay the rent and they lost all the stuff. We didn't learn about this until after the fact. My aunts were furious and I was sick at the thought of all those photos, which probably just got trashed by whoever bought the stuff. My uncle never had kids, but I certainly would have liked to have had some of those things :( and even if *I* haven't had any kids to pass them on to, surely some of my cousins &/or their kids would be interested in at least some of them. :p Sad. (It's the pictures that get to me most, too.)

  2. Oof! That's heavy. And you're right, kids aren't a guarantee that anything would be kept or you would have a care taker, but still there's so much complicated loss in this path. Thank you for sharing. <3

  3. There are so many layers of loss in a childless-not-by-choice life, aren't there? This is one of the layers. (((HUGS)))


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