My writing time is sparse and precious. I have a child.
During one of my very few and far-between spaces of time without that child demanding my attention in one form or twenty, I escaped to Starbucks (okay, can I just get one of these stores installed in my living room, please?) and let my fingers fly across the keyboard. What joy it is when they move like that on their own -uninterrupted and unhindered! But, of course, not even this sweet, mocha-flavored bliss could last long; I have writing interruption karma stacked up against me, it seems.
Because in walks a very young couple with the most adorable newborn infant cradled in one arm. Apparently they knew one of the baristas personally and a very loud conversation about the cuteness of said baby ensued. I hate to eavesdrop. I really do. But people, I promise it simply couldn’t be helped in this instance.
Boy holding cute baby: “Yeah, marriage without kids is completely pointless. Why bother? Go forth and prosper!”
Barista: “Some day I’ll have kids, but not now. I just have too much I want to do with life first.”
Young mom of cute baby: “You can still do them with kids! Imagine how much more fun they would be if you shared them with your child!”
Boy holding cute baby: “Exactly. Having children doesn’t change your life. We go everywhere with her. We go on dates and take her with us, even. (glances down at comatose, unmoving infant) Some people LET their kids ruin their lives, but that’s not a necessary thing.”
At this point, I was digging furiously through my bag to find my iPod so that I could block the sound of idiot from my precious ear drums. It was either that or run the risk of standing up, walking over to cute baby’s parents, and making a horrible scene. That wouldn’t do. Where were those head phones?!
Boy holding cute baby: “If you love your kids, they can’t interfere with your life. They only make it better.”
Oh that does it. Fingers in my ears.
Why was this conversation upsetting me?
The young, impressionable barista was buying what was perhaps the biggest load of bullshit ever irresponsibly spouted by a pseudo-adult.
Kids definitely, unequivocally, and irrevocably change your life.
When they’re newborns, they stun you by showing you the true depth of your ability to feel fear. You never had anything to be afraid of before – not really. But you do now. Because this tiny creature could get hurt, she could get lost, she could get stolen. She could die. There was no terror in existence before now.
As infants, they introduce you to the joys of exhaustion. You stumble from the bed and into the nursery for the fourth time that night and realize that you could pull five all-nighters in a row, give yourself alcohol poisoning, and catch the flu and you would feel better than you do now, after a single month of nightly feedings, diaper changings, fever monitorings, and collick visits to the ER. And this is just month one. Wait until month nine. Or thirteen.
When they’re toddlers, they show you the true depth of your patience. You had no idea you could read Brown Bear, Brown Bear fifty-seven times in a row. You are utterly flummoxed at your ability to calmly and quickly leave the fourth busy restaurant that week with a kicking and screaming three-year-old under one arm. You’ve missed how many new movies? Thirty-nine? Wow. You barely noticed. How long has it been now since you’ve slept through the night? Four years? You’re a super-hero. Check you out.
And it goes on like this, your child teaching you what you never would have guessed about yourself. You’ve never had a single life lesson that made it through your thick skull as well as the ones your child has in her curriculum. And believe me when I tell you that this changes things. Life will never be the same.
And I REALLY want to be a fly on the wall when the young Starbucks couple with the adorable baby is the young Starbucks couple with the precocious five-year-old who knows damn well what it is mommy and daddy are trying to do alone in their room – and will have nothing of it.
Oh well. At least it’s a form of birth control.