So summer has come to a screeching halt: Here’s what I did—the lake, the mountains, the park, the mall. Tomatoes. I also managed—with fingers bruised and bleeding—to complete a polished first draft of #2. I took a great social media class from Dan Blank (he’s a god) wegrowmedia.com. I was a guest on Bipolar Burble—a stellar blog run by Natasha Tracy natashatracy.com. I worked—I’m a nurse. I kept the hubs in clean underwear and did enough weeding that I’m rather sick of it. Throw in a bunch of kids with kids (and the attendant noise, drama and energy) and my life overflowed with grins and sighs. I like my place.
Which brings me to a recent cover of Time Magazine—nice segue eh? (It’s a gift)—Two lovely people lying on a beach—perfect bods, young, apparently successful. The bold caption reads The Childfree Life—When having it all means not having children. I hear ya Time Magazine: Kids are a thankless bunch, a monumental responsibility, whiny, difficult, expensive, demanding. And raising them to be good, kind, smart, contributory people who have compassion and integrity simply requires too much time and involvement. I am salivating over that beach! And the tedium. OMGosh! The homework. The teaching them to talk and then the listening to them. Constantly preaching what’s right and wrong. It’s utterly exhausting: the correcting, the disciplining, the never-ending character-building when all you really want to do is sit on the couch and Keep Up With the Kardashians. And don’t forget the endless monitoring of friends and cyber activity, texts and posts and 6 second vids. I’m with ya T-Mag, who in their right mind would choose this?
She sighs. I did. What was I thinking?
I guess I was thinking of my endgame. You really need one of those or none of it seems worth it in comparison to the high sheen of glamorized freedom. Here’s mine: When I die I want a room full of family to weep because they’ll miss me and laugh because they’ll remember me. That’s it: A room full of weepers and laughers is my endgame because I’m just that full of myself.
So because most everything I do is with that in mind, I will continue to make spaghetti and fill my house with noise that comes in all shapes and sizes. I will be mauled by little people. I will fill 25 glasses on Christmas Eve and blubber while the hubs toasts this ever-burgeoning family. Of course this means that my fridge is littered with kid art, but it also means I have 10 numbers on speed dial in case I fall and break a hip or the roof flies off my house. Now cheering little people at their football games and dance recitals can seem a silly choice given the more sophisticated alternatives, but only until that one kid in the midst of kid soup finds you and beams—then it feels a little like receiving a congressional medal—I like that. I know this is all terribly provincial in comparison to the sacks of joy one might experience childless—like I say, I hear ya TM—I dream of beaches and total self-absorption at least once a day. But it’s too late for me—I drank the Koolaid and had 4 kids. I blew a perfectly fine chance to grow old as a corporate exec and become obsolete because I’d dared to age then die with no stretch marks being vital to exactly no one. Now look at me; stuck here in my own well-crafted, posterity-filled, suburban utopia (or hell depending on your world view). To each his own, I say. And more power to the intentionally childless! But if you ever crave spaghetti with noise, you are more than welcome to drop by.
Ooops, gotta go—pun intended—somewhere in the distance a mini’s potty-watch has sounded and I have exactly 4 seconds before…