As someone without kids, I feel a special responsibility to preserve my family traditions. Is that weird?
For example, I spent Memorial Day here, on my family’s farm in New York.
A bunch of cousins met up there to talk about ways to keep the farm in the family, rather than selling it.
Some of my younger cousins talked about how they want their kids and grandkids to be able to visit and play on the farm. I want that too–for them, not for me.
Since I won’t be preserving the family genetically, I need to do it in other ways. By being the cool auntie who hangs out on the farm with my second cousins once removed. By modeling for the younger generations that there are life paths other than marriage and parenting.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, there was a tradition of “spinsters” living on the farm–unmarried women, who pulled their weight by working in the kitchen, maybe weaving on the loom.
I wonder if they felt fulfilled, like they had their place and thrived in it.
Or if they always wondered what else might have been.
Or maybe both?