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Being Old Without Children

In February 2011, I posted a story about being old and childless titled, Having No Children – Regrets? It was popular. There were many more of comments than other days with a lot of thoughtful discussion.

But I had forgotten it until last week when a reader named Kelly left this comment on the post:

”I turn 50 in 45 days and find myself unmarried, no kids and my career in shambles. I needed this article today.

“Usually spend less than an 4 hours a year on facebook, but just spent two hours looking for pictures to put on a personal project. It was difficult to see all my family members with their kids and grandkids - milestones, trips, homes, my life became empty in a matter of minutes.

“Until I read this. I am forever grateful.”

(By the way, there are more comments – or, sometimes, private emails to me - than you would think from people, usually not regulars, who appreciate the insights in the conversations here. A large part of that is you, TGB readers, who contribute so much useful information so take a bow.)

Throughout my life I have often said that aside from putting a gun to one's head, there are hardly any decisions that are irrevocable. But not having children is one of them – for women, after a certain age, there is no going back.

Kelly's comment last week reminded me that childlessness, chosen or through circumstance, can be an issue in old age and that it's worth repeating this post. Time Goes By has gained many new readers since 2011, and I'm eager to hear from you. If you recall this post from 2011, maybe you have more to say.

Here is the original post with a few minor tweaks but no substantive changes.

Many elderbloggers post photos of their grandchildren, tell cute stories about them and about the the joys (or, sometimes, heartaches) of grandparenthood.

I can't do that. I didn't have children, a choice I renewed through the years.

When I graduated from high school in 1958, many of the women (girls, really) in my class married right away – some within a week or so in weddings they had planned throughout our senior year. Two or three were already pregnant and the rest couldn't wait to become mothers, as was generally expected of us in those days.

Although few women attended college in mid-20th century America and marrying at 17 or 18 was common, going from the confines of school and home to what I considered the equally confining boundaries of suburban domestication was not for me.

I wanted to live on my own, explore the world around me, meet new people, travel to faraway places, go dancing, drink wine and talk politics all night. I wanted to find out what kind of person I would become and I knew in my bones I would never get to do those things if I was keeping house and changing diapers. I'll do that later, I told myself, much later.

That is not to disparage those who chose the marriage path so young; it just didn't sing to me and I knew I was nowhere near grownup enough yet to raise babies.

Six or seven years later, I did marry – one of the larger mistakes of my life. It was apparent before a year had passed that we were not going to make it and although I hung on and hoped for six years, I made sure there were no children.

Bad marriage but good choice about kids because at age 31, I found myself with no husband, no home and no job.

That righted itself and for the next several years, I created a terrific career, dated some extraordinarily interesting and accomplished men and did not marry any of them.

The late 1970s arrived and many of my friends had married, moved off to married-people land, had babies and we had little in common anymore. I cannot express how deeply I did not (and still do not) care about the relative merits of Pampers and Huggies or of various brands of baby carriages - conversations I struggled to politely endure when visiting those friends. It's probably a genetic failing if not a moral one.

But I was fast approaching 40, a good cutoff date for pregnancy, and it seemed time to seriously consider motherhood before it was too late. So I spent the next year or so weighing the question.

It was clear, I reasoned, that I was not a woman who bubbled over with maternal longing. On the other hand, I am thoroughly responsible and if a baby or two were thrust my way, I'd throw myself into it – Pampers, soccer games (ugh) and all – because, well, how can you not. There is no other choice than to do the best you can to successfully guide a kid from the cradle to adulthood.

I had been on my own for more than 20 years by the time I was doing all this thinking and journaling and wondering about children. I was curious about that kind of life, about the feeling parents described of overwhelming love for their newborns that was different from other kinds of love.

And I had certainly been awed watching friends' children go from babbling to full sentences within a short space of time. The thrill, if the child is your own, must be amazing.

Another consideration was that there was no potential husband on the horizon. Would I be willing, was motherhood important enough to me, to bear a child and raise him/her on my own? And if so, should I? Was it a good or right thing to do, to choose half a home for a kid from the getgo and not from later circumstance, divorce or death?

That part was easy for me – no. I could not imagine holding down a full time job, the odd hours mine demanded, the travel, weekend work, deadlines, etc. while juggling the needs of a child without a father. And I did not want the disappointment of coming home to a caregiver who told me the kid took his/her first step that day or spoke a first word while I was gone. It would break my heart.

(Just so you know, I'm aware there is much more to motherhood than those two milestones, but it was on my mind then.)

Of course, I also could not avoid the question of whether I would be sorry, regretful when I was old, that I did not have children. There was no way to know.

So I decided that if, in the next couple of years, a man I wanted to marry appeared in my life and he wanted a child, I would do that. But not on my own.

Time passed, the man did not materialize and here I am more than 30 years later, never a mother and therefore not a grandmother.

Do I have regrets now? Only in the sense of missing an experience so common to most of humankind. I am equally curious about having married young and spent 50 or more years with the same person – how different from my life and what an astonishing connection that would be to have lived intimately with one person for so long.

But I also wish I knew what it is like to walk on the moon or be able to sing like Kathleen Battle or dance with Fred Astaire. I would like to have worked in the White House, to know it from the inside. Or Congress.

I wish I had asked my mother and father a whole lot more questions than I did. And I wish so much that I were smarter than I am and could understand many things about which I fall short of “getting.”

Some of these are impossible, others are choices and none are regrettable. Nor is not having children/grandchildren and I suspect that turned out just right for me. But then, how would I know?

I'm pretty sure grandparents could tell me how much I am missing but I don't feel a hole in my life. Overall, it's turned out pretty well. I'm comfortable with my life, and I wonder if other childless elders have regrets about that. Or not.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Comparisons: Yesterday and Today


Nope, no regrets.

We are roughly the same age and I never had children, not by choice but because I was fertility challenged. I was the kind of person who didn't spend a lot of time spilling tears over things I couldn't have, so it didn't bother me much to be childless when I was younger. I had a career and loved art and I had a good man in my life. BUT after my husband had his massive stroke in 2000 leaving him right side paralyzed and without a written or spoken language I found myself occasionally saying that it would have been nice to have a few kids and grand-kids who could pitch in to help. (Our lives were full of tough challenges for the next 12 years.) And that, of course, would be having kids and grand-kids for all the wrong reasons (selfish reasons) which leads me to think Mother Nature knew what she was doing way back when she didn't lead me to the maternity ward. That's not to say I wouldn't have been a great mother. I know I would have been. I guess what I'm saying is it's important to accept your past for what it was...childless or otherwise.

Wondering what life would have been like if different decisions had been made is a good thing, it seems to me. Regretting them, though, is probably not.

Ahhh, the choices we make. I, like you, am older and childless. Endometriosis took care of that in my 20's. Never had much of a maternal instinct anyway. No regrets.

I married young, had two children immediately, and that was fine. I was in love and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life anyway. I was also happy, at age 41, and with two new degrees under my belt, to be able to start a career with a daughter on her way to college. It worked out perfectly.
Being a stay-at-home mom was frustratingly boring for me. I was so grateful to later find a career I felt I was good at. Now my daughter has three children and is an excellent stay-at-home mom but I find that her conversation is completely limited to kids and house. Not sure I have a wrap-up observation to that.

I have 3 children and 8 grandchildren and I cannot imagine life without them - any of them. They have all been a huge blessing to me, and I'm sure they will continue to be.

When I was a small girl and finally got the truth about where babies come from I vowed that would never happen to me.

As the eldest of six (my mother had the 6th when I was 10!) growing up on a farm, I had more than enough to do with child care (it wasn't called that then) and housework. Why my mother actively wanted such a big brood I could never understand. (But we all pitched in to care for her last year when she was dying, so that part paid off for her.)

I've never regretted my choice, but in my 2nd marriage I found myself with a man who had four children, and now I'm lucky enough to have a bunch of sweet grandchildren. That part is fun and I'm learning to be a grandmother. A stroke of luck that I've always got along well with my husband's kids.

First generation born American and raised by a Grandmother from an Eastern block country, I was groomed for an early marriage and child rearing. At 24 I had 2 in diapers and no husband. After the fact, I spent time wondering what my life would have been like without children when I was young. My children ended up saving my life because I find it hard to believe I would be alive today if it hadn't been for my being forced into taking some responsibility for them. Those were my life issues to be resolved, as it turned out.

There are so many stories about the choices/no choices in child bearing in the American landscape. At this point, after all I put my children through, I'm surprised that they even acknowledge my existence! At 60 I'm amazed that it all turned out so well in that everyone enjoys so much love daily!

The fact that my sons found fabulous spouses and there are Grandchildren is a miracle in my scenario but there must be a million ways to allow miracles into one's elder life without children. This blog might be one of yours I'm thinking, Ronni. A tremendous legacy and no less valuable in how you help and connect people as you do.

I have 2 grown 'boys'; had them following a satisfying career, so later than others of my generation.
With love as the driving energy, they've been raised and supported, with few rules and many opportunities to make their own choices, good ones and bad. I think it was important for me to maintain and pursue a life separate from being a full-time, all-out parent. But to my regret, I didn't.

Since, experience with a dose of courage has shown me that major changes and choices are mostly still available, perhaps limited and surely not as easy. I love the roller-coaster. Maybe later will the merry-go-round be enough.

No children... no regrets.

Always thought I would like to have had a daughter if children had been in the cards but always figured letting her go when she reached adulthood would have probably killed me.

I have a dear friend who had two children. Her adult son committed suicide and her daughter got in with a bad crowd, drank too much, and was in a bad accident that left her brain challenged. Now the mother, in her 70's, is caring for the daughter. One time she wrote, "Remind me again why I wanted children." She was being facetious, but it was a comment with a serious reason. Motherhood is not all happy families and adorable grandchildren.

For you that are childless for one reason or another you might be happy that you are not saddled with a never-ending motherhood. Or as my friend also said, "Weren't they supposed to be taking care of us now?"

Like Ronni, I wanted to engage with the world, have a career and not stay at home as a wife and mother, back in 1966 when I graduated from college. I did get married but felt sure I was not suited for motherhood. Funny that I didn't want children of my own because I spent much time working with children and loved every minute. Again, like Ronni, my marriage fell apart quite soon. I then developed my second wonderful career for another 10 years. I loved my single life. Then I met The One. We married at age 37 and suddenly I wanted a child. (Surprise!) Fortunately, by this late date, I did not have to sacrifice my career.

I delivered our first and only child in the nick of time the year I turned 40. My only regret is that I didn't have a second child, because I now believe children need at least one sibling to feel right in the world.

When people write about the advantages of having children to help take care of them or their spouse, I don't think they understand that it's not always done out of duty. I spent five years taking care of my Mother, and I cherish every minute of that time, giving back to her the unconditional love she gave to me. I didn't have a sibling to "help with the tasks" but I didn't care.

Today my daughter lives far away and probably always will. I love her deeply, but I regret that our relationship has not turned out to be as rich and intimate as I had hoped. So perhaps I was right after all that my personality was not suited for motherhood. I'll never know for sure.

My first grandchild will arrive in November. I am hoping I learned some things with my daughter which will enable me to be a better grandmother, if I am given the chance. I have been thinking a lot about exactly what kind of grandmother I want to be. Did any of you think about that ahead of time? I don't think I want to leave it up to my instincts!

No children -- no regrets. Life is challenging enough without that responsibility for me. I have two younger brothers with children -- they can have all the fun, I'll just watch.

In my 20s I was conflicted about marriage and children. I was a feminist before I ever heard that word, even though I was a child in the 50s when girls were supposed to grow up to be wives and mothers.

But everything changed in the late 60s, when I went to college, so when my friends were all getting married, I didn't. I wanted a partner, but definitely did NOT want my mother's marriage.

Long story short, in my quest for a nontraditional relationship, I kept picking the wrong men--men who were commitment phobes--and in my 30s I got pregnant by a man who walked away from the situation. I thought long and hard about what to do, and ended up having the baby. When my son was 4 I met and married a wonderful man who has given me the kind of relationship I wanted.

My son is now 32, and I am very happy to have him in my life. I was not the best mother, but he seems to have turned out just fine anyway. Though I never had the overwhelming maternal instinct that some women have, I did want the opportunity to see a child grow and develop. I think if I had not had my son I would have regretted it.

Admirable post about a subject which has no right or wrong answer--only the answer each of us chose, which may (or may not) have worked out for us. The one thing I AM pretty clear about is that, even if you have them, making your children your retirement plan is probably not a good idea. Hence, my passion for the Villages.

Fifty-plus years ago, with little or no forethought, we started our family (huge by today's standards). Birth control was not a topic for discussion.

As our family grew, I believe that Ann Landers once polled her readers about parenting ~~ given the chance, if "starting over" were possible, would they do it all again ? My recollection is that the majority responding would choose to remain childless.

Too many times, in my experience and that of others I know, the pain of being a parent has overwhelmed the "joy" that's so often referred to re: having children.

Yes, the babies were adorable, there was joy, but babies can grow into adults with many a serious illness. They can suffer the loss of a job. They can do drugs. That's the short list.

Some mothers (admittedly not all) can suffer unbelievable, mentally exhausting pain alongside their children.

If the clock could be turned back, and given a choice, I hope I'd have the good sense to do things differently....engage the term "family planning".....join the convent (well, maybe not).

I never wanted children, and do not regret that decision. My relationship with my husband is very close, and I think would have interfered with my relationship with a child. My mother said that that had been true of her parents.

What is eery to me now, after my aunt's death earlier this year, is that I am the last member of my family. But it is not a younger generation I long for, but wishing I had asked more questions, listened more closely to the stories. There is no one to ask.

It seems a different kind of aloneness than simply the death of a loved one. Still, I do not wish I had done anything differently.

I really never planned to get married, but had a list of the perfect man. Just as I graduated from college I began dating a man who actually met the criteria on that list. We got married the next year, and 40 years later are still having fun, most of the time. Being retired has added some new wrinkles to the relationship, but all those years of building a life together has done us well for this time in our life.

Only one daughter because I realized shortly after she was born that I was a terrible mother. I would still say that of myself. In my 30s I wanted everything to be perfect and I was very busy making everything that way. It was not good for any of us. I can only see that now in hindsight.

Our daughter grew up, went to college, became a minister, got married and now has 2 adorable children on whom I dote. Although a lousy mother, I am the world's best grandma! I had no grandparents so I realize the importance of such a relationship. When my grandkids are old, I want them to be able to say, 'I had the best grandparents.'

Passed over for a promotion, no longer enjoying the job at hand, a husband earning 10x my salary, turning 30.... should we have a baby?!?! Our lives were pretty perfect; why take a chance on change? Should the family line end with us? Round and round we went until a wise friend said "Be comfortable with the ambivalence. It never goes away."

I think that would be true had I not gotten pregnant the first month we tried, just as it has been true over the three decades I've been a parent. I love them and I wish they would go away.... and life goes on, with me swinging in the ambivalence hammock, a smile on my face.

On the other hand, if it were possible for grandparenthood to come first, EVERYONE would jump on that train :)

proud new grandma

I am eternally grateful that birth control pills were easily accessible when I married (and I had a wonderful, happy marriage even though now I'm a widow). I knew from a young age that I never wanted kids. I helped raise 3 younger sisters, and that sometimes included a passive, incapable mother.

I've been involved off and on in the "childfree" community; there are many women and men who don't want children, but the pressure of social expectation/family presents problems. Being "childFREE" as opposed to "childLESS" is a great difference; it's an attitude and feeling of freedom. Personally, I never wanted that kind of responsibility, even though I'm a very responsible person.

I admire parents who really know how to parent, but there are many who do not. And probably if being childFREE were more acceptable, we'd have fewer abusive, neglectful parents. An acceptable choice without pitying glances, advice we'll "change our mind" and "who will take care of you in old age."

At any rate, I'm 62 and have NO regrets. I do have several grand-nieces, even a couple living nearby, but since I didn't have children, I planned for my elderly years whereas that "fall back" plan to have kids take care of you wasn't an option. And not always a plan at all.

I have two regrets about not having kids. (1), I will never know what kind of father I would have made and (2), Having no heirs, I am the last person alive in my family. When I go, my family line goes with me.

Karen, I also am becoming a gram for first time in November. Perhaps Dkzody has a few tips.

For some time, I've lived without grandchildren and plan on winging it as it happens. I don't embrace having or forming expectations; rather prefer the surprise and spontaneous ways.

I married and had one child pre-birth control pills. After a very bad reaction to those first strong pills, I got pregnant again. I never wanted children, and I was a poor mother as was my mother. Now I have 14 genetic and adopted grandchildren, two of which talk to us. I plan on winging old age dependencies myself. Great topic.

No children and no regrets.

Life is about choices.

I am second oldest in a big family. I dreamed about being a teacher, but it took so darn long to get there because I was repeating grades, told I would never graduate, blah blah.

My grade two teacher smelled of elderberries.

Never mind that.

I achieved my goal with honours and oh did I love working with all the different characters that walked into my classroom.

Ten years into retirement, I often bump into my ex students on sardine numb bumbling bus 211 from downtown, or at the local mall.

When that happens, the student runs up and hugs me. Some of them are big hulking dudes!

Then that ex student proceeds to tell me every single achievement since they last saw me.

This is music to my ears. I get all emotional, realizing how much trust we earn when we give our true selves, whatever the job.

A kind of quiet pride comes over me for having turned some lives around.

There are many creative, simple or original ways of contributing to society.

These comments are such interesting reading! We came from an extended family, five generations in the same small farming community - yet I have only one child and my sisters have none, by choice and circumstance. My son and his wife have moved back in with me (into my tiny house) and at age 27 are expecting their first child in January. The abject panic I felt at first has worn off into a more calm resignation. When asked why this threw me into an anxiety attack, it was easy to categorize: financial, political and environmental concerns, all of which are inter-related, of course. I'm sure that I will be madly in love with the child, and my capacity for worry will simply continue to increase!

Ronni...Are your "grandchildren" possibly your blog and storytelling sites? Just look at how many varied stories and feelings were generated by your story today. I cannot imagine how much time and energy it takes for you to keep these going and I know you enjoy this part of your life. I only hope you can feel how much each of us who participates in your site appreciates what you do!

No children, no regrets. I still cannot stand talking about pregnancies, babies, and everything that goes with it. Eyes glaze over.

Seems to me, Ronni, you are a parent. Helping, advising and always there for us.

There are many ways to parent.

Childlessness or not - should be a choice. In my day, too often it was not. Most of the money that I donate to "good causes" goes to organizations that promote and facilitate family planning.

I wish that, like many other commenters, I could have had more success in making the choice about whether to have children or not to have children. It seems to me that my childbearing years were one big mess of failed birth control, unavailable abortion, and a "pill" so fraught with side effects that it had to be discontinued. I made not a single procreative choice, yet I ended up with four children from two unhappy marriages.

Although motherhood was never my choice, I stepped up to it and always provided a clean and pleasant home, good nutrition, and support for learning and whatever talents individual children had. I was never a bad mother but not being cut out for motherhood, I was probably less maternal than I should have been. Oddly---or not--- I did much better as a single mother and when I became a student and later a career woman.

My maternal instincts didn't kick in when I became a grandmother and the expected cooing and cuddling did not come as naturally to me as it did to the "other" grandmother. I hate changing diapers and feeding babies---always have, always will. I laughed at Ronni's aversion to discussing the merits of various diaper brands because I felt the same way and I was supposed to be a mother among mothers. But child care and other domestic issues have never been my favorite topics of conversation.

If I could go back and have a do-over I would, like the mothers in the study cited by Pat, choose not to have children. But having had them and my oldest son having turned out to be my best friend and soulmate, I am also, like Ashleigh, "swinging in the ambivalency hammock." We are who we are, we do what we do, and we live the lives that happen to us.

What marvellous stories and comments - I particularly liked Ashleigh's "ambivalence hammock" and Chana's comment " making your children your retirement plan - NOT a good idea" -like you Ronnie I've often wondered what my 'other ' life would have been like. Denied the opportunity to go to university (my dream) I threw myself into what I saw as the only alternative - marriage and motherhood - having had a lonely childhood I decided that a large family would be ideal - six children later I realised that being the mother of a large family is very different from being a member of a large family! However I have a wonderful family and gorgeous grandchildren - but I could not be described as a 'doting' grandmother - perhaps I used all of that up first time around! I eventually got to University and had a terrific career in the second half of my life which fulfilled that dream also - so extremely fortunate - but able to realise now that every decision has two sets of consequences - the 'two' lives I have lived have both been circumscribed by the other - living without regrets is the only way to deal with that.

I'm glad that I've fathered 3 children and raised 2. My wife dearly wanted children so it's a joy to see her happy. Besides the lives brought into the world, it also has been and continues to be a joint project we share. I can understand, however, those that are childless and how that is just fine (if that is their choice), and how they can be very happy, with no or few regrets. This is probably (but not always) a bigger deal for women and therefore my reference to my wife. (one note: in today's world, boomerang children can be costly in retirement!)

Thanks largely to The Pill, I'm child-free by choice and have no regrets! I was among the first "guinea pigs" and I shudder to think how high-dose those early birth control pills were. Still, it was the right choice for me. I never was good with young kids--not then, not now. I don't babysit! I worked full-time most of my life and probably would have given kids short shrift if I'd had any.

Yeah, it may be a problem 15 years from now when I'm in my 90s, if I'm still around, but having kids is NOT a retirement plan, as others have noted. There's no guarantee that the kids will be able (or willing) when their parents get old and need help. They may live on the other side of the country or have jobs that consume 60 hours/week. I realize that I'll be pretty much on my own, especially if my husband predeceases me (he's 84 and I'm 77).

The no marriage part was best for me. I think of all I would have missed. I didn't believe I would have made a very good parent. My 'kids' say meow plus other 'kids' have feathers. I would have missed this wonderful experance. I've made the right choices for me.

Since our generation is the first generation to actually have choice about whether to propagate or not, our comments are sterling research into the effects of remaining childless when propagating is how our species continues. It used to be that if a woman didn't have children it was because she was a spinster or barren! Now we have choice. It also means that if we do have children, that is a choice, not a burden thrust upon us. I love being a mom. No regrets. But I know many women who do NOT love motherhood. One of my old friends said before she died, "If I had to do it all over again I would never have had children. I have six children and none of them came with a blueprint and what I learned on one didn't even apply to the next one!" (Her kids weren't very honoring nor loving to her, but I perssonally blame her husband for that.)
Anne Lamott speaks well to the issue of deciding to have a child in the midst of a "different" lifestyle in her book "Travelling Mercies".
I think it is important for the childless person, male or female, to feel the connection we all have to each other. The rising generation is a product of us all however we contributed.

When I first married in 1972, my older sister noticed that friends were making comments like "So, are you going to have kids?" Finally she sighed and said that when she had married in the early 1950s the question that she heard was "So, how many kids are you going to have?" She did not regret her two boys, but did think that it would have been nice to be have been given the choice.

BTW, I was never child-oriented and at 17 began to say that I didn't want to have children. I put up with the usual laugh followed by "You'll change your mind when you fall in love/ get married/get older/etc." I never did change my regrets...I am the Aunt.

Like Kelly, I made the decision to not have children for some of the same reasons. I graduated high school in 1966, when so many of my classmates were getting married immediately and having children. My older sister had two children by the time she was 19! I was determined to be different, go to college, move to a big city and have a career. My first job reinforced my decision (long story). Then I came to the career part of my life which required extensive travel. There is no way I could have accomplished what I did with children.
Now I'm at a point where I long for grandchildren. I've even thought about starting a Facebook group for women of a certain age without grandchildren.
And the other big question in my life now is, "who do I leave all my "stuff" to?"
Regrets, yes!! I look at my sister who has nothing but her sons and grandchildren. She is happy!

It took me until I was 40 to realize why my mother had problems being a mother. Her mother died in the flu epidemic when Mom was only 7 years old, and she and her sister and brother were raised by hired housekeepers. Frankly, she had no idea how to be a mother! I think realizing that helped me to understand my own parenting problems.

I'm so glad that other parents have mixed feelings about having children, especially now that they are grown up.

Cara, you are SO right that there's a world of difference between "child free" and "childless". Terminology does matter! We were both out of step with our generations (altho' I was probably more so since I'm 15 years older than you are). I, too, was semi-active in spreading the message that not ALL women had to bear children. I hope there are younger women taking our place because family planning (including planning NOT to have kids) is still very much an issue.

Three girls and a boy in a bunch, like bananas. Since I mother boys only, just Barbie and pink elbowing into my life is an unexpected dimension of joy. As for the boy, at most family doings he has uncles to toss him balls of all sizes. I watch and remember.

Through the years, growing old while these four grow up has changed me: not just the pattern of my life, but me…Instead of stockings I say socks, instead of bisecting a sandwich, I know how to cut sail boats, and when bending for a hug, a stretch might be just a couple of years away.

To ask my grandchildren for help and information has been an unexpected pleasure. One translated a Spanish phrase for me when she was a second-grader. (Her teacher gave lessons after school.) In recent years, however, computers have been our greatest bond.

My sons use PCs. Their children have Macs … and so do I. We're in the same world, after all.They hold my hand as I lurch into Facebook and whenever we meet I have my iPad in my purse with sticky note pleas for help.

Well the way i look at it God punished many of us with singleness when so many other very lucky people were very Blessed by God to be married with the gift of life which many of us men would've wanted that as well.

No kids, no regrets. We have LTC insurance, a pension and SS. We will buy into a CCRC when we are older.

Having helped my elderly parents, I cringe every time I see someone write about having kids so they can look after them when they are older. Children should never be raised with the expectation that they will be care givers. My parents did not have to deal with care giving since their parents died overseas or young from heart attacks. But they expected it from us and it was stress every day and ruined relationships.

Most of us baby boomers are sandwiched and have learned a good lesson experiencing the hell one can go through. My brother and I both have determined that we and our spouses will take care of ourselves. He is doing it because he feels his children are entitled to a life where they can visit their parents/grandparents with no expectations except a fun time together.

My best advice for anyone with kids is that they should never ever be expected to care for you when you get older. Not even by kidding on the side about it because that is planting a subconscious seed you hope will germinate.

If they decide to do so, that is good, otherwise you set them up for a long trip of guilt and stress.

Children are a gift to to raise. I helped raise my nephews. Then they are to be let go to live and enjoy their lifes and their families. Not to becomes care givers.

I looked this "old" post up because I noticed Nate's comment. I had almost forgotten it. At that time, I was commenting as "Meg," my previous user name, but reading Ronni's really brilliant post and the wonderful comments of the TGB community, I felt compelled to write again. This post is, to me, one of the best ever on TGB because of its wisdom and also because it gave all of us the sense of being okay wth our choices or the lives we lived because of them.

I am 46 and instead of talking to my partner about having kids I talked to an old classmate who had become my "Guru". I wish I hadn't! (talked to the wrong person) who was kind of dismissive and said I could have them at 45. Then I thought I had first to be debt free which I was at 46 and now I will be 47 in January and I am full of regrets. Especially as I love my partner and he would have been a great father (actually is, he had children before we met). Right now I am at the point where I think I CANNOT IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. How will I be able to tolerate the years to come? Be aware: not really taking a decision in this matter will be a decision after all. Good luck to those of you ladies who still can make a proper choice (sometimes we are so busy that we do not stand still and listen to what we really want / need) and can have children.
I wish I had read this post / blog earlier, I really connect to the joy people express about their children and grandchildren. And yes, I did love baby-sitting my little cousins.
Reading again what I wrote I sense the dry and self centered tone of a dried and cut off branch. To me personally the mothers who wrote here sounded connected to life. Beautiful!!

Growing old and having no wife and family is one of the worse thing that can ever happen to a person that really would've wanted that for many of us Good single men still looking these days since many of us are certainly NOT single by choice.

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