A few months ago two friends of ours sat with us on the beach and asked us frankly,
‘Why would you have children?’
I sat there and collected my thoughts. Why would you?
In our culture we hold up individual autonomy and independence as two of our main values. Our friends are happily married and thoroughly enjoying life. Why would they want anything to change? They can travel. They can renovate their home. The can ride their bikes anywhere. I know they fill their Saturdays with fun activities that are definitely harder with children, if not impossible.
I thought about two years of interrupted sleep. A career derailed. And there really is just more fluid involved in parenting that I really thought there would be. Sometimes as I think about mounting my diplomas to the front of the washing machine and I wonder why I did.
As our daughter played in the sand about us, Scott and I told them why we had chosen to have children. I don’t remember what we said.
I wonder why and then I look over at this little person who is sitting on my husband’s lap carefully and deliberately eating goldfish crackers I wouldn’t have it any other way. As I look at the little mouth and perfect little feet that I love to kiss so much I can’t imagine turning back the clock and choosing to do anything differently.
I wonder why and then I realize that she is this perfect little combination of the two of us, a beautiful living reminder of our love. She is this little person unfolding before my eyes. A little person that I am enjoying to get to know. I can see some of her personality in between the cracks of toddler behavior; a calm spirit, a precocious sense of humor, a quick mind, an infectious excitability.
I wonder why and then I catch a glimpse at the inside of her arm and realize it looks exactly like mine. Like me she will spend the rest of her life looking at that arm.
I wonder why and then I think about the hours of tickling and giggling. I think of that pitch of her voice when she hits that deep belly giggle. I think of her little face curled up into smile, and how much I want to cover those little cheeks in kisses.
This afternoon I gave her grapes while she cuddled on her daddy’s lap. Grapes are one of the few foods that she will always eat. She clambered up from her father’s lap, waded through a wad of lap blankets, all while holding grape out to me. When she got to me she placed it in my mouth, curled up against my shoulder and said,
“I love you,” she then looked up at me and put her finger on my nose and said, ‘oh, I love your nose.’ Then her little hand went up to my glasses and waved about above them, ‘oh, I love your glasses.’ Almost like she wanted to take them off, but knew better. Then she slid off me and on to the floor and ran off to run amuck.
We have a rough day where she is whining, I am tired, and then she runs up to me grabs my finger and says, ‘I want to play with you.’
I wonder why....