Perf. Moving on.
Having Kids Is Not The Worst Thing Ever
Many parents love to tell non-parents about the ghastly doom that is having children. They especially like to tell pregnant women and their mates things like, “Just you wait,” or, “Enjoy your last days of freedom,” or “Life as you know it is over.” You know, helpful stuff like that.
Now, as I mentioned before, some things do change. And kinda permanently. Or, at least, for a decade or two. And that’s a big deal. But, having kids isn’t like putting fire ants in your pants or wrestling wild boars. No one sticks needles in your eyes when you awake in the morning. It’s not the worst thing ever.
True, being a parent is a continual gauntlet of shame, confusion, guilt and frustration. But just when you think you should just let yourself get disemboweled by a swinging battle-axe, you get hit with an unexpected bundle of sweet, amazing, adorable love and ridiculousness. That’s how they get you. So you get up, dust yourself off, and jump to the next platform.
For your reading pleasure and personal enrichment, here is a list of things that make being a parent not so horrible:
A. You are not immediately forced to become a completely different person just because you have kids. This one’s important. You don’t *have* to go out and join a mommy club or whatever. You don’t *have* to only hang out with other parents. You don’t *have* to alienate all your childless friends by making your life all-kid, all the time. Honest. You don’t have to. You’re not being abducted at night to become part of a cult. You’re just having a kid. Don’t get all weird about it.
B. Voluntary (albeit gross and slobbery) kisses. Come on, even if you think kids are annoying, you have to admit that that’s cute.
C. Hilarious/awesome kid clothes. Again, even if you’re anti-kid, you know that beanie up there is pretty darn great. There’s just something outstanding about seeing humorous clothing thrust upon a defenseless tiny person.
D. Having a squidgy little prop to take funny pictures of. Is this the same as having a yacht or a truckload of beef jerky or a vacation home in Paris? No. But it’ll give you a chuckle. You gotta be thankful for the little things.
E. Getting to watch a teensy human grow, develop and learn cool things from day 1. This is actually really cool. It’s remarkable watching someone learn all the little things that every human has to learn—that YOU had to learn. The whole process is fascinating and a little magical.
The really good things…well, they’re trickier. They sneak up on you a bit.
Recently, Stephen and I took a big trip. Our first really big trip without our daughter since she was born. We did all types of adult-y stuff to prepare (will, life insurance, etc.), and…we decided to write our daughter letters in case we died.
Now, this is a sad freaking thing to do, regardless of who it’s for. Even if you don’t have a wildly overactive imagination like I do, you’re still gonna get super bummed, super fast. I’m guessing that’s just inherent to beyond-the-grave activities. But, I can say, that it is 2.8 (or a billion) times sadder, if you’re doing this activity with your kid in mind. But I wasn’t going to let my orphaned kid go through life without a letter from her mother, so I sat down and did it.
And I felt like I was going to be torn in half. I just kept thinking about how she would never know, not fully, how spectacular she is to me. She’d never know that I think her laugh is the best laugh that’s ever been heard. She’d never know how much I believed in her or how my love for her goes into my bones. The idea of not being able to wipe her tears when life inevitably threatens to break her, or not being able to bear witness to the gift she is to the world…those ideas, they’re almost too much to bear.
I don’t think I truly knew how intensely I loved her until I tried to cram it all in a letter for her to read in the event that I got swept away by a tsunami or murdered by an antelope. I tried my best to communicate the unending strength, depth and vibrancy of my love for her, but I know I failed. Maybe you guys can corroborate for me if Big Foot sneaks into my apartment, carries me off into the forest and feeds me to a bear.
So, I am a little absurdly gooey about my kid. I really do get stupid with love for her. She’s kinda awesome. But is it worth it? Is it really, really worth it to have kids just because they turn your brain to love-mush when you try to write them in-case-I-die letters? Tune in for the last installment when I conveniently provide you with the correct answer.