Saturday, January 19, 2008

Life lessons

My daughter, after spending a semester at a prep school in Southern California, will be attending a local college for the spring semester. In the meantime, and continuing part-time once school begins, she’s working as a clerk at the law firm where I am a secretary.

It’s fun working with my daughter. I have someone to ride to work with in the mornings and home with at the end of the day. We eat lunch together. Which she might view as not quite as much fun.

The other day we were in the lunch room chatting with some of the other secretaries. I don’t know how we got on the subject, but I related the fact that when I was in my early 20s I was unable to find a doctor who was willing to tie my tubes. At the time I was convinced I didn’t want kids.

The look on my daughter’s face was one of “Who is this strange woman?” I can understand that. I’m the mom who used to throw themed birthday parties and I taught myself to twist animal balloons for said parties. I graded papers for her 5th grade teacher, was the room mom for more than one elementary school teacher, and chaperoned innumerable field trips. PTA president, Band Booster secretary, soccer coach – I’ve been what you would call an involved parent.

But before I met my husband, I was sure that I never wanted kids. I’m really grateful that doctors know 23-year-old girls shouldn’t make such major, nearly unchangeable decisions about their future. There’s no explaining to them (or at least there wasn’t to me) that the first time you hold your baby, you fall in love in a way you never do with anyone else in your life.

It’s a completely different love than the love you feel for your parents, siblings or husband. It changes you to the very core of your being. It’s the reason you don’t mind changing poopy diapers, wiping snotty noses or getting peed on as soon as you uncover a penis (THAT was a shock, I’ll tell you!).

It makes you do things like agree to coach the soccer team. Even though you’ve never laid a foot on a soccer ball in your life. And the reason you can’t help but run out on the field, pick your son up and swing him around when he scores his first goal.

It’s why you get a nearly painful feeling somewhere in your heart when your daughter gets up during a jazz band concert and kicks total ass at her improv solo on the saxophone. That’s YOUR kid up there and she’s amazing.

My kids are 18 and 14 now and sometimes I still look at them in wonder. THEY came out of ME???? How can that be?

If I knew when I was 23 what I know now, I never would have tried to convince my doctor to tie my tubes. I would have tracked down my husband and insisted that he impregnate me RIGHT THAT VERY MOMENT. Which might have been awkward.

No comments: