I have been experiencing an odd phenomenon lately. It's weird, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I will be working with an older adult, they will ask me if I have children, I say no, and then they pause before telling me the strangest things.
I have been deemed a safe person to whom they confess their most personal thoughts.
Person 1, a woman in her early 90s: "Oh, well, that's not so bad, not having children. I mean, this isn't a world you want to be bringing children into these days."
Ok, the first time caught me off guard. I just smiled and said something about life working out.
Person 2, a man in his mid 70s: "You don't have kids? Well, I don't know why everyone is having so many. I don't know what is going to be left by the end of these kids' lifetimes. You know my [insert daughter/granddaughter/I forget who he said] is pregnant? I am so mad at this pregnancy."
Wow... That one really took me off guard. I assured him the community was full of good people and the kid would have a good life full of love. I didn't want to automatically put a positive spin on things, but geez, that's no way to live. Blood pressure levels alone.
(Which brings me to a side point--why are there all these tv channels available in hospitals and physical rehabilitation facilities? They're so stressful. All that bad news. Why not just have, like, a puppy channel and some G-rated sit coms, cooking shows, and old game shows. I think those channels would be more healing.)
The third confessional had a different tone. Upon learning I did not have children, this woman in her late 90s told me that her son died when he was 31. This happened many decades ago and I could feel the pain as she told me about losing him. Losing a child is a lifelong loss. She knew she could confide in me.
Well! I've always heard that you never know what kids are going to say. But now I've learned it's just people in general. Young or old, who knows what is going to come out of someone's mouth.