I tell my husband stories about my kids constantly. They are happy, funny stories to me. Then I get sad. My husband says the memories keep my kids alive for me. He also says that I think if I am in pain I am maintaining a connection with them. I discount that comment a bit. He may be right. But this is a man who has never had children. How can you explain to someone who has never had kids that the umbilical cord is never fully cut?
The stories I tell him about my daughter I have told over and over. There is the story about how she named her kitten, Meow, when she was two years old, because, well, it said, "Meow." And how she named her parakeet, Chirp, (she was older when she got her bird) for the same reason. And that she named her puppy, Berlioz, after the kitten in the Aristocats. And her next parakeet, Leonard, she named after the barn kitty she loved at my dad's. And how she brought a baby chick home from school. A mom brought a box of baby chicks to school after Easter to give away (and no, we did not live in the country.)
I tell my husband how she named her chicken Drew, after the actress Drew Barrymore, and how she kept Drew in a box in her bedroom. How Drew as a chick, would ride around on her shoulder, and eat risotto out of a bowl at the dining room table. Soon Drew got big and moved into the garage. Then we noticed she was growing bright green tail feathers that seemed a bit colorful for an ordinary chicken. Not that we knew much about chickens. And a large red comb on the top of her head. And started going cock-a doodle-do early in the morning. So my daughter's chick named Drew grew up to be a rooster. Unfortunately, in the suburbs they frown on roosters crowing in the morning. So the rooster my daughter named after Drew Barrymore had to go live on a farm.
We had many more animals because of my daughter and her love of them. And one of my favorite stories is of my daughter naming her cat, Meow, and her bird, Chirp, and her dog after a cat, and her bird after a cat, and her rooster after an actress.
And who else am I going to tell the stories to? If I was with my daughter we would probably tell each other. When I was married to my ex-husband we would reminisce together over each stage of our children's lives. And when you are together as a family you have shared memories.
Now I tell my husband. Who has never had children. He laughs. He listens patiently. He doesn't like to see me cry. But he doesn't understand how my children grew in my womb and the roots are still there.