“We have to get mooncakes” Nancy said, “they bring fertility. ” Nancy lived in Chinatown in New York City and the bakery down the street from her had fresh mooncakes to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival.
I was in my late 20’s and working in a museum on Long Island, picking up some of Nancy Grossman’s sculptures from her apartment/studio, for a one person exhibit we were having.
I told Nancy I didn’t want to have children.
That’s when Nancy told me that fertility wasn’t just about having children. She didn’t want to have children either, for her, fertility was about creating art.
Two nights ago, Jon and I sat outside watching the fire we made to celebrate the first day of spring, when we saw an orange light glowing throughout the trees. It was the full moon. We watched it rise above the tree tops getting smaller and turning yellow then almost white.
I had been feeling the signs of my period coming on since the morning. A dull ache or momentary sharp cramp, the moisture inside of me.
I’m 55 years old and still menstruate.
Not as dependably as I have my whole life, or for as long. Now I often feel the signs twice a month, once, always when the moon is full.
My mother menstruated till she was 56 years old, so this might be my last year. Although I’ve been thinking that for years now and my body seems to have other ideas.
It’s only recently that I’ve learned to think of bleeding once a month as a blessing, instead of an annoyance. Even though I never wanted to have children, my body is doing what it does. And I appreciate its will.
My body has the same determination about creating as I do.
Maybe it was that mooncake I ate all those years ago.
Although I think having met Nancy, who was living the kind of creative life I only dreamed of at the time, did more for me than the mooncake. She was a woman I admired who understood that giving birth was only one way for women to create. And that we have the choice of how our fertility will manifest.