My brother had a child... that’s to start in case you were wondering where this post might be coming from. He’s five years younger than me, and it began to stir a lot of emotion when I first found out. Now that the beautiful child is here and I am officially an aunt, I am thrilled.
But in a conversation with my brother the other day he said “ you should have a child otherwise your life won’t be complete.” And then my inner rebel came to the surface. I can’t help it. Every, solitary time someone tells me that I have to have a child to “complete” my life I cannot help but feel totally insulted because, frankly, my life doesn’t feel incomplete now!
Of course children are great. I love them. I love hanging around with them and giving them ice cream and listening to their overly honest perspectives of the world. Heck, maybe someday I will even have a little sucker of my own. But I don’t expect that child to complete anything for me except for maybe my education on how many types of messes they can make. I can do “complete” all on my own.
Children, they are for something else entirely... they are about love and the perpetuation of the creation of life. Children are about joy and fascination and watching them grow. No doubt many people have a ton of fun being parents and they love it. Many people aspire to be great parents, and that is awesome. But there are also a lot of people out there who don’t have children... and they don’t feel in any way incomplete.
A lot of people feel this way. The funny thing is, you aren’t really supposed to say it out loud, and least of all to parents. The older I get, the less I tend to care about what we “are” and “aren’t” supposed to say. I’m married, I have been with my husband nearly nine years, and I don’t feel incomplete just because I am lacking a room with a crib. THERE--I said it.
We people without kids sometimes have a way of offending parents--I get that. We roll our eyes when a kid is throwing a tantrum in the store or when they are loud in a restaurant. We act like we can’t be bothered sometimes or we accidentally make the mistake of telling one of our parent friends that we are “so tired” when they are thinking we haven’t got a clue about what the word means. We childless people do all these things and more.
But you know what? Parents do a similar set of crap to childless adults, too! They tell us how incomplete our lives are without kids. They act like we don’t know “real love” because we haven’t procreated. They continually ask us about when we are having children even though they know we aren’t trying. When their kids mess up our expensive stuff, they act like we shouldn’t be bothered by it, even though we are really trying our best not ot be bothered by it...
We do it to each other-- these little things that secretly tell the other side how much greener the grass is--and for what? I don’t actually think my life is any better than that of my friends with children. I know people without kids who are miserable, and I know people with kids who are happier than me. It works all ways and everyone’s life is different.
Granted, there are parents out there who understand precisely what I am saying and at the same time there is some single gal or guy sitting behind their computer thinking that I am off my rocker because they can’t wait to have a baby to complete their lives. It works all ways.
So let’s make an agreement here between the parents and those of us currently without kids. I will promise to try my hardest not to talk about how tired I am from drinking if you stop telling me to complete my life with a pregnancy. Deal?