ImPROG - Children is the word of the day

Funny. My improg word of the day is CHILDREN. Funny, I say, because I don’t even really like children. Alright, not true. They taste like chicken. Baked, boiled, fried or barbecued, them are some tasty vittles.

Sure, I had dolls growing up. I also had trucks. I liked pink party dresses. I also liked my jeans and to be barefoot. I liked to have my hair curled. I hated taking a shower.

But I honestly can’t remember a time when I wanted kids. When I told people this, they were shocked. They were amazed. Some people felt sorry for me. Others looked at me incredulously, as if I would change my mind.

I practiced birth control religiously from day one.

I went through most of the ob-gyn’s in my town looking for somebody who would tie my tubes. They all said the same thing: “You’re too young. You will change your mind. “

Guess what? I didn’t and they lost a patient. Even people who knew me well thought I might change my mind.

One of the most annoying questions after I got married was, “So, when are you going to have children?” I got so fed up with the question that I finally would tell people, “I can’t.” That usually shut them up and stopped them in their tracks. Very few people are brave enough to ask questions about that.

Then when the cancer came, my oncologist wanted me to have my ovaries taken out, to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Well, it’s about time a doctor agreed with me! Now I don’t have to worry at all about birth control. The hot flashes? Well, that is an entirely different story (one we will save for later).

I don’t really dislike children. In fact, I have some favorites and I am a great “Auntie Hayley”. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my niece and nephew, and a few select friends children. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They make me tired, and I take my hats off to those of you who do have children!

Don’t worry. Your children are safe with me. I won’t cook them.

I just happen to be childless by choice.

When I was in my 20’s there was an Ann Landers column that I found and I have carried it around with me for, well, almost 20 years. I’d like to share it with you now, in the hopes that it brings a smile to your face! Feel free to share it with others that have mentioned they might not want kids. Believe it or not - not everybody does!

Ann Landers' famous "The Childless Couple"

There is nothing sadder than a childless couple. It breaks my heart to see them relaxing around swimming pools in Florida, sitting all suntanned and miserable on the decks of their boats -- trotting off to Europe like lonesome fools. It's an empty life. Nothing but money to spend, more time to enjoy and a whole lot less to worry about.

The poor childless couple are so wrapped up in themselves, you have to feel sorry for them. They don't fight over the child's discipline, don't blame each other for the child's most obnoxious characteristics, and they miss all the fun of doing without for the child's sake. They just go along, doing whatever they want, buying what they want and liking each other. It's a pretty pathetic picture.

Everyone should have children. No one should be allowed to escape the wonderful experience that accompanies each stage in the development of the young -- the happy memories of sleepless nights, coughing spells, tantrums, diaper rash, debts, "dipso" baby sitters, saturated mattresses, emergencies and never-ending crises.

How dismal is the peaceful home without the constant childish problems that make a well-rounded life and an early breakdown; the tender, thoughtful discussions when the report card reveals the progeny to be one step below a moron; the end-of-the-day reunions with all the joyful happenings recited like well-placed blows to the temples.

Children are worth it. Every moment of anxiety, every sacrifice, every complete collapse pays off as a fine, sturdy adolescent is reached. The feeling of reward the first time you took the boy hunting -- he didn't mean to shoot you, the lad was excited. Remember how he cried? How sorry he was? And how much better you felt after the blood transfusion? These are the times a man with a growing son treasures -- memories that are captured forever in the heart and the limp.

Think back to the night of romantic adventure when your budding daughter eloped with the village idiot. What childless couple ever shared in the stark realism of that drama? Aren't you a better man for having lived richly, fully, acquiring that tic in your left eye? Could a woman without children touch the strength and heroism of your wife as she tried to fling herself out of the bedroom window?

The childless couple live in a vacuum. They fill their lonely days with golf, vacation trips, dinner dates, civic affairs, tranquility, leisure and entertainment. There is a terrifying emptiness without children, but the childless couple are too comfortable to know it.

You just have to look at them to see what the years have done: He looks boyish, unlined and rested; she's slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn't natural. If they had had kids, they'd look like the rest of us -- worn out, wrinkled and exhausted.


Margerie said...

Hey, some of my favorite people don't have kids. I think they are entirely rational :) My hubby and I call them the DINKS (double income, no kids) and they are fabulous!

And a note: Hayley is filled with good humor. She doesn't even roll her eyes when I drone on and on about my kids. Or if one of my children actually calls her to talk, she listens.

Susan said...

I'll add to Margerie's comment: Hayley is fabulous with my kids. She sends them zany things, is so fun to visit with, and when they greet her at the door by shooting her with a water gun, she thinks it's funny (they'd better watch out, though, next time we're in town).

In fact, most of the people I know who don't have kids are fabulous with my kids. I think it's because they're not so bloody exhausted as we parents are.