I’ve made it plenty of years without being asked about why I’m not married and why I don’t have kids. That is, until Monday.
I was hanging out at Starbucks to help get my mind off a few things and get some writing done. As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed one of the employees trying to help the guy who was sitting over by the cream and sugar cart with something he was trying to do on his laptop. I got up to throw something away before heading out and the man looked up at me with big eyes like he needed help.
I fussed with whatever computer glitch he had but I couldn’t help either, so I got up to leave. He started telling me that he actually lives in another city but stopped in there while he was working nearby. He told me he’s Armenian and has only been here a year for work and asked how old I am. I told him I’m 29 and he said, “Oh really? But you have a baby face. Are you married?”
“Oh, you’re Mexican, yes?”
“Yes, my parents were born in Mexico,” I answered.
“Oh, your people are usually married at your age or have kids, no?”
Trust me, I took no offense to this at all. He then asked a bunch of personal questions that I gladly ran away from when he had to answer his cell phone.
I’m going to be 30 this year and the last time I ever considered marriage was three years ago. Since then, I haven’t given it all that much thought and there’s truly no rush.
One day in high school, I was talking to my favorite English teacher and he asked me why I wanted to be a teacher. I said, “Because I want to show young girls that they don’t have to get married right away, that they deserve to go to college if they want to.” He said, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married and have kids. Not all women want to go to college.” I was stunned to hear him say that but also surprised that I was suddenly forced to change my thinking after years and years of having it drilled into my brain that college had to absolutely happen for everyone.
That day also set something straight for me about being fair with all women and respecting what they most want from life. If a woman wants a husband and kids and it’s what her heart truly desires, that’s no less awesome than wanting to get through college and doing whatever with a degree. I look to my best friend sometimes as an example of what I might want from marriage if it ever comes to me. She’s my age, she’s got a Master’s Degree and she’s engaged. Most importantly, she’s still the same person I’ve known for over fifteen years. I really appreciate that because it’s important to me to still be the woman I am and not completely change certain parts of my personality just because I’m in a relationship (naturally, I won’t be talking to strangers at Starbucks anymore when that happens, so I’ll change THAT). Then I read some amazing mom bloggers and I think, Oh wow they look like they’re having fun and holy crap, they’re hot!
I guess what is happening here is that I really appreciate what new things I can learn about how different women define themselves as they make huge life choices that change the way they’ll approach each day. Some choose to stay single and they fill their lives with exciting adventures, or just private nights at home doing whatever it is they most want. Some women create new lives with partners and they raise children, keep a household in order and make their families a number one priority.
I feel like these days, a hot cup of coffee is my number one priority and all of my choices are undoubtedly selfish. I’m mostly grateful that no one in my family has ever pressured me into getting married or having kids, and it’s probably because all of my aunts, except maybe one or two of them, are divorced.
The last time I spoke with my grandmother was months ago. My mom and I were on the phone with her as well as one of my mom’s sisters (one of the two who is still married). I joked and said, “That’s it, Grandma. You ain’t gettin’ any grandkids outta me. Looks like I’m gonna end up single (or as I said in Spanish, solterona).” She said, “That’s fine. Go ahead and screw around, you’re still young.” Or, something to that effect and in much more eloquent language.
She passed away on Sunday and I’m kind of glad that she joked with me like that because she never had before. Coming from a woman who raised eleven kids on her own after my grandfather died, it seems like decent advice.