08 December 2006

Big love

I have written at length about my decision not to have children.

I think it is a good thing for everyone involved - for me, who needs 4 or 5 hours of alone time every day, and for my non-existent progeny, who don't have to put up with my cranky ways.

(Oh, yes I am. Everyone who meets me thinks "Oh, Suebob, she's so nice, so kind, such a good listener." For about 2 weeks. People who have known me longer than that admit "Yeah, Suebob, she is one cranky wench!")

The one thing I think I have missed out on is getting to feel the love parents feel for their children. I gush about my dog (the best dog in the world) but I have a feeling that nothing can compare to the love you have for a child that you are doing your best to grow into a good human.

Petroville has a heart-wrenching post about recognizing her own mother's love for her and apologizing for not realizing it at the time.

I had a glimpse of it the other day, when my mother, who is 80, was remembering a time 40 years ago.

We had gone camping and I had gotten terribly chapped skin from playing in a creek and in the sun. She put some lotion on me that, instead of soothing my sensitive skin, made me feel like I was being boiled alive. Something in it, perfume maybe, just reacted badly with me.

"You SCREAMED, oh," she said, tears filling her eyes. I could see the pain was as fresh then as it had been 4 decades before.

That's Big Momma Love.

How do you bear it?

19 comments:

Carolie said...

Oh...you made me get all teary! I don't have kids, but I've seen the look in my mother's eyes, and the look in my brother's eyes when he looks at his daughters. What an incredibly wonderful, incredibly painful feeling that must be to have.

Mr Stapler said...

You mean that short blonde big-nosed kid who follows you around is not your child?

[My log in word today is "nfafo." I can tell you that I am squarely against the NFAFO agreement and agree with Ross Perot on this one.]

Andrea said...

I have a little boy, 2 years old, so I haven't felt the major rejection of the teen years yet. But Lord. To know that's ahead of me. I shudder. I guess I'll just have to hope my love's big enough to get me through it. That's part of the reason I'm afraid to have a girl when we try for our second child. I think the independence is harder fought for with the xx chromes.

There was a point in my own adolescence when I went a little crazy. It was only for a couple of months, and I was hanging out with some older people with whom I worked. I was drinking and going to parties quite often, getting so drunk I couldn't come home. But during that time, I opened up to my mom more rather than cutting her out completely like one would expect. I don't know why, but I felt okay telling her what was going on. She once told my sister she was afraid to discipline me for my bad behavior because she was afraid I'd get mad and stop confiding in her. Luckily for me, I was able to figure out I shouldn't have been acting like that and I stopped being stupid. The only good thing that came out of it was a strengthened relationship with my mom. And I'm so glad for it.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

it is the good kind of pain.

Rhea said...

That was very touching. I am mom to a sweet little dog instead of a child. I would be so afraid to have a little girl of mine go out into the world...

meno said...

It's not always easy.

I was never sure that i would have kids, but then i had one.

It's been better than i expected (me = pessimist), buy it requires denial of what the world can hold or i'd never be happy.

MsLittlePea said...

Sweet story! My dog is my kid too! I've been thinking about maybe having a baby lately. I wouldn't be able to until next year so I can use this time to really think it over and I should because I'll have these thoughts and then 2 weeks later change my mind....I too need plenty of alone time which is why I've even waited this long. Motherhood might not ever happen for me and like you-I'm happy with that too. For now I can live vicariously through all my sisters' and my best friend's mommy stories.

Maggie said...

Ditto what Meno said. Its fulfilling, its grand, and sometimes its painful. Sometimes you just want to run away screaming and other times, most of the time you just snuggle into their arms and enjoy it.

Mir said...

You weren't reading me last year (I assume) when I totalled my car with the kids in it. Chickadee's forehead was split open down to the bone and I thought I would die. (I kept it together at the scene, and in the ambulance, and then when my ex got there and could stay with her for a minute, I went outside and completely lost my shit and then cleaned up and came back in and kept on keeping on.)

That's hard to bear.

On the other hand, every day there are little joys, some days there are huge joys. And all the time there is this remarkable person who is a piece of you and yet not you at all, and you get to be there. It's worth the parts that are hard.

[Also---I swear I'll shut up after this---for those of us who didn't grow up with that kind of overarching love, it's incredibly healing to be able to give that which was always missing from our childhoods.]

But those of you who manage to have meaningful relationships with kids not your own (friends' kids, nieces/nephews, etc.) really have it made. ;)

super des said...

I stick to my philosophy:
Someday tiny dessss, but not yet. Not until I can not freak out as much, and in a different way can freak out a lot more.

Mignon said...

Yes, but you don't have to be a mommy to have compassion, and some moms aren't compassionate. Your mom seems to have passed hers on to you - so you've got one lucky pup.

jennster said...

oh man.. that made my tummy go in knots. it's something so unexplainable... it's something so heartwrenching and painful at times, yet there is beauty in the pain.
i fully respect people who recognize the fact that they aren't kid people, and then don't have them. you can always adopt me you know. lol

Susan said...

Being a parent has taught me that I should apologize to my parents EVERY SINGLE TIME I see them. Not for anything in particular, just for being a kid.

Because if I was anything like my sons (which I am certain I was), I drove my mother to drink on a fairly regular basis.

Elizabeth said...

Like Ster said, you should be commended for knowing that you aren't a kid person instead of having kids because you think you are "supposed" to, and then resenting them.

As for the love/pain, oh it is something. And not just for my own kids, but for any child. I can hardly stand to read the newspaper because stories about children being abused make me sick to my stomach.

marian said...

there's nothing worse than realizing that you've inadvertently hurt your child. it's the worst thing ever! i can totally relate to your mom tearing up after all these years.

Laura said...

I remember that day.

Laura said...

you get a whole new way of looking at the world. You realize that the little stuff in life is a lot more important.
Like this week... Grant was eating some chips and staring out the window looking at our big huge moon. He kept talking to the moon "moon this...moon that... blah blah blah.. then he cocked his head, picked up a hand full of chips, aimed them at the moon and said "Here 'go moon."

He has never looked more pure and more innocent ever. I wish I could just keep him like this forever. I bawled... knowing that this is just a fleeting moment... and that he is going to grow up just like the rest of us hardened adults... and that all of our parents felt this same way when we were 2 and were holding a bowl of chips talking to the moon.

happy and blue 2 said...

I just don't put cream on my kids that makes them scream, ha,ha..

mothergoosemouse said...

If I didn't have a husband like Kyle, I probably wouldn't have children. I'm a cranky wench who needs to be left alone too. Even if I've been alone all day anyway.

That said, I'm insanely glad that I've got them - and someone to help me navigate the joy and the pain.

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