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why my children are furry or fermented

I just wrote this crazy run-on paragraph about the big exhibition at work that I'm prepping for and how we're hosting media event after media event (one of which involved a trip to New York) and how I'm also auditing a graduate seminar in "Visuality and Japanese Modernity" (which requires so much reading of literary theory, a thing I haven't thought about since 2003), doing house remodeling stuff (like painting the guestroom a shade that can only really be described as mauve-ish pink-ish purple-ish -- I suspect Big Ginger secretly questions my judgment), taking an improv class, going back to ballet (this time I really mean it), attempting to bake my own gluten-free sourdough bread with a gluten-free sourdough starter named Pat (who needs to be fed all the time because he's way more delicate than a non-gluten-free sourdough starter), and trying to get triathlon workouts in so I don't forget everything I learned about swimming last season.

And then I felt guilty because people do this stuff all the time and have kids and manage to keep their kids and themselves alive, so I really should just shut it since I only have three cats and Pat and Big Ginger (who is a grown-ass adult and doesn't need a litterbox or feedings of brown rice flour every four to eight hours -- which I can't really say for some previous dating choices, but that's another story altogether).

Pat: More reliable than most men I've dated.

And I guess all of this sort of brings up the question that my aunt asked me when I was in New York and we were having dinner, post-media event, just us: "Do you want kids?"

I never felt like I was in a place where kids were actually an option. I was single. I moved often, reveling in the idea of reinventing myself, over and over. I traveled constantly for work. I fell in love with triathlon, and it consumed my time (and let's be honest, my paycheck).  I was around other people with similar lifestyles -- spontaneous happy hours were a regular and important thing. I honestly never really thought about kids at all.

But now I'm married to a kind, funny, wonderful person (who has great cycling thighs, so if our kid got his thighs and my gigantic calves, they could really kill it out there on the course -- or become a wrestler), entering a new age group (yes, we must use triathlon metaphors at all times), living in a city where pretty much everyone I know has kids, and ironically, facing the reality that I may have missed my kid window.

Much like human teenagers, our fur child hates us for making her do embarrassing things.

I've never had that "maternal instinct" (unless you count kittens), and pregnancy and childbirth freak me out (although if I did get pregnant, I would use it as an excuse to eat the entire world, all at once, immediately, and I would only wear sweats and do really weird shit and blame it on "pregnancy brain"). And sometimes I wonder if I've lived my life selfishly, thinking only about myself and my goals. But now I'm just really set in my ways and like having the ability to take a last-minute trip or spend 16 hours a week training for Ironman or not worry about getting reported to child services because I've forgotten to buy cat food, so my cats are eating turkey deli slices for dinner.

But I do wonder if one day I'll regret my decision. (Like maybe when I am dying all alone, with 20 cats hovering over me, waiting to devour my body as soon as I take my last breath. Yes, this actually really happens.)

Big Ginger and I talk about this. (The kid part. Not the being eaten by cats part.) He feels similarly. We talk about how maybe if we had met each other when we were younger we'd want kids. (Although I'm pretty sure he doesn't want me to ever name a child, because I would totally name it Clark Lewis since everyone always says "Lewis and Clark" and it's not fair that Clark is always second.) We both say we'll just be the best aunt and uncle to our niece and nephews that we can possibly be.

Which is why we're flying home to California with a suitcase full of cat books for these guys.

I'm so proud of them. They're already making such great life choices.


Angela said...

SAME! Not that you need it but I 100% validate your choice. :)

Michaela said...

It’s just so hard in the Midwest sometimes. Everyone we know has kids. I never felt weird about my choice before, but here, I’m the anomaly.