So, I'm graduating from my university life in December. It really is about time, I started my undergrad in fall of 2001, so I've been at this thing for six and a half years. Actually that's not true, I took two years off in the middle of that to serve as a full-time missionary in Ireland (a mostly gorgeous country that still pulls at my heart and mind and always will). So really, it's been four and a half years of concerted effort, not six and a half. But it feels like it. And just as the end is looming in sight, something more frightening than six years of undergrad work is at the threshold. Babies. No, I'm not pregnant. How could I be, I still have another four weeks left, and morning sickness and finals do not make a very agreeable mix. To be honest, a baby has never really been much of an option for me, until now. My Handsome Prince still has an undetermined number of years left in school, and I've seen enough couples doing the baby trade-off between classes to know that I did NOT want to have children while both of us are still in school. But all that is about to change. I won't have 15 credit hours anymore to balance with a job. Some people would say "get your career going girl! You didn't go through that many years of intellectual servitude for nothing!" Which is true. But . . . but . . . sigh. What I really want as a career is to write for children. All kinds of children. Picture books to 'gritty' YA novels. That doesn't necessarily conflict with my ability to multiply and replenish the earth. So no excuses there. Other people might say "perfect, you can have kids, and write stories for and about them!" Yes, I do want to write for kids. But that doesn't mean that I really like kids. (Gasp! I know it's shocking.) Don't get me wrong, I like babies. It seems like just about everyone I know either has one, or if they don't, they are working on rectifying that right now. Sometimes I even get a bit baby-hungry when I see all these cute wee tots. But I don't really like kids. I have no desire to ever own a five year old, and I think it really is too much to hope for to expect a baby to continue as an infant infinitely. And Handsome Prince is already beginning to have visions of coaching Little League. (I think I did manage to talk him out of trying for a whole baseball team though, think of what that would cost in equipment! He settled for a Short stop.)
So basically it comes down to that I'm scared. What if I have a brood of awful children who all have freckly pale skin, runny noses, and temper tantrums? It happens to people, I've seen it in grocery stores.
On a more serious note, what if my kids have autism? (There's a streak of it in my family.)Will I still be able to love them?
And why do parents sit around and swap horror stories of things their children have done to humiliate them in public, or spewed on them from various bodily openings, or shoved objects into those openings and had to be taken to the doctor to have them removed, and then smile and ask childless people like me "aren't you so excited to have children?" Well you can't say "No, your child has cured me of any parenting aspirations I've ever entertained," which is what you're thinking. No. You have to smile back and say, "Oh yes,I can't wait to experience my own bundle of joy!"
And yet. I basically melt when I see cute babies. It doesn't matter if they are physical present or in photographs. And I stop to linger in the baby departments of stores, fawning over tiny sweaters and shoes. I have the perfect nursery decore picked out, and I have names picked out for two girls and a boy. I guess I really don't stand a chance. Handsome Prince may get the short stop he's been dreaming about after all.