The thing about having kids--or maybe, the thing about having these kids--is that the vision never matches reality. Or, reality never lives up to the vision. No matter how many times I live it, I am still surprised to find that my vision and reality exist in different universes entirely.
It's never how I think it's going to be. I don't know how many times it has to happen before it sinks in. I'm three years into this madness and I still expect it to be different. I expect to be able to take my banshees into a restaurant AND eat a meal there. I expect to be able to attend a friend's bbq AND eat a meal there. AND converse with someone besides my children or husband for more than ten seconds at a time. But it N E V E R H A P P E N S.
It's NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!
Tonight, we drove over into the SW part of town on an errand. We rarely go there, and some dear friends live there. We were passing by and I've wanted E to see their house, because it's fabulous and such a perfect expression of C, the mistress of the house, with whom E and I used to work. They were work pals and rarely get to see each other. C and I were work pals too--when I was single, before E was a part of my life, I would give C rides home from work and she'd ask me in for a glass of wine, and we'd drink and talk about work or what was going on in our hearts or our hopes for ourselves and our futures. It was a time in my life that had no schedule or agenda. I had no-one to go home to. Often, C's husband J was out, working or at school, so she'd be alone at home had I not stayed. It's hard to say who needed who more, but we were there for each other. Those are some of the sweetest times with a friend that I can remember. I treasure my memories of those times like I treasure C and her J.
So that's what I had in mind when I spontaneously called them as we were passing their house, to ask could we stop by? I wanted them to see the boys, and I wanted E to see their house, and in my mind, these things would happen all orderly-like. We'd arrive, the boys would be cute, C and J would show us their lovely house, their newly remodeled floor. And we'd admire, and talk for a minute, pet the doggie, promise to get together soon and leave. It would be composed, controlled, enjoyable.
Instead? We were a living commercial for reasons not to have children. It was insanity! Mayhem! Loo grabbed C's computer mouse and began to navigate through whatever work document she had open. He ran from appliance to appliance testing the power buttons. He wanted out. He wanted in. He barked at their dog, who was beyond excited at our presence and could not contain himself. We spent every single second there, intervening and instructing. Little hands were everywhere! The noise level! The energy level! J, C's husband, said to me "so, it's like this? is it like this all the time? aren't you, you know, going crazy?" in the way of someone who works in medical, for whom the term "crazy" is not an adjective. You get the feeling J really knows the meaning of crazy and that's what he was asking me and the answer is YES. I am going crazy. Yes, it is like this all day long and you bet, I'm going CRAZY crazy. That kind. The real kind.
If you want kids, but don't have them yet. I want to assure you, and reassure you, you have SO MUCH right now. So much that will be gone when the little ones come. Peace, quiet, sleep, accomplishment, leisure, travel, all these things will be GONE. In their place? Some crazy. So don't hurry too much. Enjoy those glasses of wine, those slow talks on summer evenings in the back yard with good friends. You won't know you'll miss them 'til they're gone.