My friend Casey wrote this to Jen and I after a visit we had with her last summer. At the time I was still debating the having a kid thing. I just found it again and thought I’d share:
I don’t know why I didn’t realize it before, that when my child-free friends ask me about how it’s going with the kids, what they are asking me, with wide-eyed interest, is not always about my kids. It’s not that they are not interested in the details about the bickering or the cute dress-up moments, but they are hearing me through a window that they hold up. Like trying on sunglasses and then looking in the mirror and asking “Could I get away with this?” “Do I have the bone structure?” “Does it flatter my lifestyle, these…glasses?”
Well, after sitting at a table of childless thirty-something women, I realize that sometimes I am talking to these brilliant women. And sometimes, as the only woman with two baby boys at home, I am talking to their wombs. And I have been replying totally inappropriately. I have been blathering on about the true, day-to-day life with babies. Which is not a fauxpas, exactly, but it was an error in recognizing my audience.
So I would like to take a moment to speak to the brilliant woman’s womb, the wide open, squishy, flexible, womb. That, yes, can hold a baby. At all cost.
You would make a wonderful parent.
You will make all the sacrifices necessary to make a balanced life for your child.
You will gain tremendous strength and endurance.
You will find a deep, deep love for all humanity.
You will have a quiet appreciation for yourself.
You will miss out on things, but there will be no regrets.
You will not remember who you were before children
and you won’t want to live without them.
So do it. Have babies. Have lots of them. Have big, pink fat ones. And brown ones. Have ones with disabilities. Have sweet ones. Have one that bites. Have a couple with silky hair and then one with big coarse, curls. Have a baby that says things that sound like art. Have a baby that is art. Have babies at work and on the subway. Have babies that do things you can’t do. Have babies that make you do things you couldn’t do before. Have a baby so small and so quiet that you can keep him in your purse and just take him out sometimes to hold. And them put him away. When you have to be brilliant.
Don’t be afraid of your life and what will come out of it. Express yourself openly. Build things. Make messes. Leave stuff behind everywhere you go. Someone will judge it, hate it, keep it. You may judge it, hate it, keep it. And then let it go, to grow and echo through all grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren…