I was asked yesterday if I ever regretted not having a career before I became a mom. The conventional wisdom of our day is that a girl should got to college and get her education, have a career, make her own money, see the world, and live a little before settling down, getting married and having her two babies (one boy, one girl, if you please). Do I feel as if I've missed out on anything by marrying young?
I'll be honest with you, sometimes I do. There are places I dream of going that I will probably never see. If we had waited to marry and have babies, I could have gone there. I could have seen the Great Wall of China, or St Peter's in Rome, or the rain forests in Costa Rica.
I will never be rich and powerful, a household name synonymous with success. I would enjoy that. I'm the kind of girl who gets a thrill out of being recognized and respected for the work I do. In my mind, I can see myself in a business suit wheeling and dealing with the rich and powerful. I'll never be that woman. It would have been fun.
I won't discover new lands or find the cure for cancer. I won't ever look smart in my military uniform or or fly a jet or fight a just war for a noble cause. 200 years from now, my name will be forgotten. My own descendants won't even know the shadow of who I was.
But my legacy will go on. Notoriety and history books are the legacy of such a small handful. Most of the people who are known today will be unknown to future generations. We will all have been forgotten in the unceasing march of time.
I may never see the ends of the Earth, but those who come after me will. They will take with them my husband's sweet smile or my own evil cackle. The shape of the hands which cure disease will bear the mark of my own crooked pinkies; their sure and steady stride will be my sweetheart's own. They will bear traces of us, unknowingly, into the future. These laughing, playing children will be our own immortality.
Do I regret the dreams which will go unfulfilled? Yes, I do, but I would regret it more if I had done and seen them all and these dear ones had never been.