If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies, giving insight on various topics. Click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
For this week, Tracey’s topic choice is: “The grass is always greener on the other side…”
Today is my eldest son’s birthday. He’s eleven.
Eleven years of my life (or more, if you count the months I carried him), spent mothering my boy. It hasn’t always been easy. The older he gets, the more the rules have changed. We used to talk about our next play date. He’d hold my hand, all the time, and he always wanted hugs. Now, we’re having conversations about college, already. There are moments where he’ll reach for my hand, but those moments are few. Hugs aren’t consistent, either. Usually he’ll relent at bedtime, when he’ll still let me tuck him in. I know that won’t last.
Recently, when I dropped him off at school, he didn’t want me to walk him all the way to the entrance. A gaggle of his friends were there. It would have been totally uncool for Mom (me) to escort him, apparently. He didn’t say it aloud, but it’s what he was thinking while he tried to shoo me away.
Yeah. We’re already there.
I can remember a time before him, that precious time I had to myself, sans kids. I didn’t have anyone else to answer to. The only person I was responsible for, was me. I never had to rely on sitters or relatives or anyone else. I could use the bathroom in private, or have conversations with other adults on the phone without interruptions. I could sleep in, if I wanted to, or stay up late, if I wanted to, knowing full well I had nothing (or nobody) to tend to the next day.
There are moments where I’ve wondered what my life would have been like without my boys. Nearly every time I’d drive by the old apartment community I lived at/worked at, in Nebraska, I’d reminisce. In those days, I could sit around in my underwear with a pint of ice cream, watching bad t.v. and no one was the wiser.
I have friends who don’t have children. They either choose not to, or, it just hasn’t happened for them yet. Maybe they don’t feel ready, they don’t feel those maternal or paternal instincts, or maybe they feel that opportunity is no longer available to them, for whatever reason. I understand all of it. I respect those decisions. I understand not wanting kids.
Last night, my little family headed out after dinner for an evening stroll through the neighborhood. Along the way, there were plenty of arguments, raised voices, and utter chaos. This behavior wasn’t coming from the adults in the group. It was coming from our two lovely children. Our destination was the park, just five blocks down the street. I always envision this beautiful scenario, where my boys smile and laugh, have a conversation, play, while the husband and I hold hands, lovingly watching the exchange unfold in front of us.
In reality, the boys immediately take their shoes and socks off at the park, run around like banshees, screaming their heads off, alerting the neighbors who surround the park and most likely aren’t enjoying the noise and high octave levels. At some point, the eldest boy decides to pour sand onto the top of his head, showing us the granules while he shakes his hair mere inches from our faces.
The younger one cries because he may have injured himself, only, when we tell him we should head home because he’s hurt, he immediately stops the waterworks and continues forth with his naughtiness. When it’s time to go (and you know leaving a park is never easy), more screaming and fighting ensues. I had to tell them both that NO ONE would be allowed to speak a word on the walk home, because, as my eldest boy recently has taken to saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
It’s not always like this. There are many times my boys are well-behaved, yet there are many times they’re not.
I understand not wanting kids.
There’s this scene from Friends With Kids (an awesome movie, I highly recommend watching it), where, Jason (played perfectly by Adam Scott) is hanging out in a bar with Ben (also perfect, Jon Hamm). Jason is in love with his best friend, but doesn’t want to admit it. Ben asks Jason: “Why didn’t you guys ever try to get together?”
Jason: “It’s too much familiarity. She’s like one of my limbs.”
I may be reaching a bit, here, considering the line pertains to a potential love interest, yet, I can’t help but feel that it’s the perfect analogy in my own life. My children, they’re like limbs. Extension of me. Sure, I look back on the good old days, the days before my children, fondly. Some moments, in yearning. But, my reality now involves my children, one hundred percent. I’m not the same person I was eleven+ years ago. I’d have no clue what to do, or how to be without my preteen, or his younger brother. I can imagine a life without them, because I’ve lived it, but I wouldn’t want to go back and change a thing. I’m who I am, now, because of them. Even with the screaming, the fighting, and the chaos.
My eldest boy is eleven today. I still can’t wrap my head around that. The time has literally flown by so quickly, it’s taking me a moment or two, to catch my breath and really reflect on so many wonderful memories I’ve shared with him. Memories I would have never had, had the path in my life not included my children.
Happy Birthday, Bug. I hope you’ll always let me call you that.