A Redirected Maternal Instinct

There are many ways to love and nurture.

I never wanted children. Ever. And so I never had any, despite the thousands of people who have told me over the years that I’d change my mind. Well, I’m 56 now, am still childfree and have zero regrets.

Rest assured, I have never tried to talk people out of their desire to have children. I say go for it, if the spirit moves you. Even though I don’t feel the same way they do, I don’t view them as broken in any way. I wish they didn’t act as if I were broken in return. “I find it strange that you have no maternal instinct,” I’ve been told multiple times.

But I don’t see myself as missing any vital thing. In fact, I do believe I have a maternal instinct. It’s just not directed toward having children. There are many other ways to be loving and nurturing and maternal.

For example, I love dogs. I’ve always gotten my dogs from animal rescue, because there are so many pets out there in desperate need of a home. I view it as a win/win. A mutual rescue. And I tend to go for the full-grown dogs. Puppies are cute, but they’re a trial.

I also love my little free library. When I look out the window and see someone, young or old, excitedly choosing a book, it makes my heart swell. I enjoy promoting literacy in my community, because I think it makes for better, more well-rounded people.

And when I see someone hurting, I naturally want to comfort that person. I don’t care what the reason is. I just know that I want comfort when I hurt, so I want to give comfort when the tables are turned. Compassion is an organic reaction for many of us.

Recently, I rented mason bees (and blogged about it here). I love to quietly visit the bees and see them poking their fuzzy little heads out of their little holes. They’re so cute! I just want to hug them. But of course I don’t want to hurt them. I also love watching them fly over to my blossoming cherry tree to belly flop their way into the pollen. And I know that they wouldn’t be at that very place, enhancing that particular bit of nature, if it weren’t for my putting them there. Yay for nature! Double yay for those who nurture nature!

And speaking of nature, I love seeing the flowers and vegetables in my garden thrive. I love watering them on dry days, and I even talk to them just as I do with the bees and the dogs. I enjoy making delicious food from the harvest, and also adding beauty to the world.

In addition, I am very protective of the friends and family whom I love. Don’t mess with my peeps! I will turn into a lion!

So I don’t see myself as lacking a maternal instinct. I just see it as my putting that instinct to a different use. I hope it makes a difference. I know it makes me happy.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear reader. This day should also celebrate those nurturing souls out there who don’t have children. And I’m blowing a kiss skyward to my own mother, may she rest in peace.

My mason bees, peeking out to say hello!

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5


My Magical Dog

At the risk of sounding completely unhinged, I’m beginning to think my dog Quagmire has supernatural powers. I’ve written time and again about his ability to conjure up a variety of different food from seemingly nowhere. (Check out my most recent post about that, which will in turn link you to all the others.)

This time, we were lounging in the back yard. I was reading a book, and he was snoring in my lap. Suddenly he woke up, yawned, jumped down, and toddled over to the shed. He did a quick jog around the tiny structure, and when he came out the other side, he was carrying a cherry tomato.

Please understand that there is nothing behind the shed except some more back yard. I swear it. I had been back there an hour previously. It was cherry tomato-less at the time. He just ran behind the shed the way a magician swings his cape, and poof! He invoked a tomato. He was rather proud of himself (as well he should be).

He also does things like disappear. He’s sleeping beside me in bed. I’m reading. I get to the end of the chapter. I look up. He’s gone. The bed is still warm, but he’s sound asleep in the living room.

And he sees things that aren’t there. He barks at them viciously. He growls. He’s very protective of me, which is nice. But I must say it’s no fun when he does this at 3 a.m.

I suspect he can levitate, too, because he often gets ahold of things that should have been out of his reach. Dachshunds are nothing if not vertically challenged. But it doesn’t seem to slow him down. He once brought me something I was pretty sure I had left on top of the refrigerator.

And when anyone besides me crosses my threshold, he manages to turn into a Rottweiler. Just ask my extremely tolerant next door neighbor. He went for her calf and she has the scars on her leg to prove it.

This dog makes it impossible for me to have guests. He’s completely out of control. But when it’s just the two of us, he’s the sweetest thing ever. He’s the bane of my existence, and he’s also my best friend. I love him. That’s one heck of a magic trick.

Yeah, I know, Quagmire looks all innocent with his milk mustache, but trust me, he’s got secrets.

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

I Love Tall Guys

Heads up (literally) for one extremely biased blog post. I refuse to apologize. I adore tall men.

When I was in high school, I was very close to a set of twins, Ronnie and Donnie. They were 6’3”. They pretty much towered over everyone else at the school, and I sort of considered them to be my posse. Of course, the tables sometimes turned, like the time they lifted me up and deposited me in a large trash can. Good times.

About 15 years ago, I had a herniated disc that was proving to be unresponsive to all traditional treatment, but I didn’t relish the idea of any kind of surgery that close to my spinal cord. But the pain was excruciating. Something had to be done. As a last resort I turned to acupuncture.

I was nervous the first time I went into that office. Talk about bias. I was expecting a tiny, wizened Asian man. (I’ve seen too many movies.) In retrospect that was rather silly of me, because the man had a Polish last name. When he walked in, though, I was struck dumb, because he was 6’9”. He was also kind and intelligent and cured my herniated disc, to the utter disbelief of my neurologist, within two visits. I began to visit this man regularly for a whole variety of issues. He was a magician. He was the best doctor I’ve ever had. He could gently touch one of my vertebrae with two fingers, and within 20 minutes my whole spine was realigned. I had a mad crush on him. I still do, actually, but now he’s very happily married and 3100 miles away. Dammit.

But perhaps my best tall guy experience happened very recently. I was about to get into what I expected to be a very heated and potentially life-ruining confrontation. I felt sick. I had nightmares. But I also had help, in the form of one very lanky lawyer. I had met him before and he inspired confidence, but today he brought a coworker along with him. Each one of them was every bit as tall as my acupuncturist. Riding the elevator, flanked by these two gentlemen, I felt extremely tiny. And I’m a big girl. I’ve never felt so protected in my entire life.

Safety is a huge issue with me. I never met my father, so I didn’t grow up feeling as though someone strong had my back. I didn’t have a protector. I didn’t have an advocate. The handful of times I sat on a man’s lap as a child, it always felt uncomfortable and pedophilic and wrong.

So, walking into the heart of darkness with these two guys beside me, I imagined we were moving in slow motion (again, too many movies) with a soft breeze blowing my hair back, and the song “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background. These towering heroes had my best interests at heart. That’s another sensation I’ve rarely experienced. If the age difference hadn’t been even more extreme than the height difference, I’d have probably fallen in love with both of them on the spot.

Yup. When I see a tall man, I often have to resist the urge to climb up him like a koala in a eucalyptus tree. So far, though, I’ve managed to control myself. There’s no accounting for taste.


Come the Apocalypse, I Want to be with my Dog.

I have a new theory. The best possible thing that can happen when you are searching for a mate is a horrible first date, because then you can see how that person reacts under pressure. Stress separates the men from the boys. It cuts through all the surface bs and shows you what someone is truly made of. There are all sorts of ways of dealing with negativity, as evidenced by nature. All of these ways are legitimate, but only a few of them are viable in terms of a life partner in this modern world. Here are a few examples.


The Shark. In times of great tension, the shark will not only attack the source of the problem, but will also turn on anyone and anything that happens to be in his vicinity, even members of its own family. When in the midst of this feeding frenzy, the shark has absolutely no regard for loyalty, and does not care about who is on his side. When in the presence of this type of fury, there is nothing you can do except prepare to be eaten. Frankly, I find the shark to be tragic and self-destructive. And the most depressing thing about the shark is he cannot see why this type of behavior is a problem. Somehow being eaten will become your fault. You’ll never feel completely safe with a shark.


The Fainting Goat. Also known as the Myotonic Goat, this poor creature freezes in times of panic and keels over, thus rendering him utterly useless to himself or anyone else. I used to date one of these. Don’t ask me why.


The Turtle. When the sh*t comes down and you’re with a turtle, you are on your own. He will pull himself into his shell and wait for the boogeyman to go away. Oh, he’ll protect himself all right, but he won’t confront anyone or anything and prefers to live in a state of denial. He’s completely resistant to change, which makes improvement impossible. Also, if you come by his house and he doesn’t feel like talking, he simply won’t come to the door. Who needs that?


The Badger. No need to wait for a crisis situation when on a date with a badger. He’s going to be in a foul mood regardless, even if you could potentially be the best thing that ever happened to him. He’s never going to see it.


The Porcupine. Now, here’s a guy who is prepared. He doesn’t want to be messed with, and has made sure that he won’t be. The problem is, since all he wants is to be left alone, he’ll never let you in.


The Octopus. I have to admire this guy’s ability to avoid conflict. I like his stealth and intelligence. But if none of that works, he shoots ink. Do you want someone who’s going to throw stuff at you? No. That, and he tends to be clingy.


Frilled Lizard. You’ve probably seen one of these guys on the National Geographic channel. When you piss one of them off, the frill on their neck expands and they’ll chase you on two feet. Yes, they look intimidating and they get the job done for the most part, but honestly, what would happen if you stood your ground with them? Not too much, I suspect. I think you’d win that confrontation. These guys are all sizzle and no steak.


The Rattlesnake. The rattler is sort of a first strike kind of guy. He prefers to be the aggressor in anticipation of any possible antagonism you may or may not have in mind. Don’t hang out with the rattlesnake if you’re hoping for cozy get togethers with groups of friends.


The Praying Mantis. Honestly? Do you really want to hang out with a guy who is so desperate for sex that he’s willing to go there with you even though he knows he’s going to get his head bitten off for his troubles? This guy is so focused on what he wants that he has no concept of the consequences.


The Meerkat. I have to admit that I have a certain fondness for meerkats. They’re loyal. They’re family oriented, they’re protective, they’re cautious. But they’re also an emotional drain. They’re constantly anticipating trouble. They’re always on the lookout. Their watchword is paranoia. They never seem to relax.


The Benobo. Scientists have dedicated their lives to studying benobos, because these cousins of ours seem to be totally devoid of aggression. They’re the hippies of the primate world. They’re all about free love and live and let live. I could see myself getting caught up in this lifestyle, but I suspect I’d get fat and complacent, and years would go by without my realizing it.


The Dog. Dogs don’t seek fights, and in fact try to avoid them, but if you eff with them, they’ll take you out. I can respect that. They tend to restrict their aggression to those that deserve it. They’re loyal and protective, and usually generous and kind unless they’ve been abused. They’d much rather cuddle with you than argue, but they’ll do what they have to in order to protect themselves and the ones they love. A dog will always have your back. They also know how to heave a heavy sigh and release all tension. This, to me, is a very healthy and well-balanced approach to life. Yup, I’ll take a dog every time.

So next time you’re thrust into the dating world, pray for a flash flood or an earthquake or an armed robbery, because then you’ll know exactly what you’ve got on your hands. Disaster can save you a lot of time and heartache.