I think I'm starting to become suspicious and weary of people without children. I remember pre-offspring I would be sitting, for example, in the college pub after class with a classmate and they'd have to leave after only one beer to go pick up their toddler from daycare and I'd feel sorry for them. 'Awww, poor person,' I'd think, 'having kids is such a drag, man.' And the other person would rather charitably let me believe that they would actually rather be sitting around discussing obscure social theorists and their convoluted ideas about consumsuption and the modern individual with me rather than snuggling with their sweet smelling, cuddly babe while reading 'pajama time' for the 200th time.
Now I know better.
Bam, what a difference a few years can make. Now I think of adults without children as not really fully grown yet. They have an innocence about them. They carry life lightly on their shoulders, amusing unaware of the superficiality of their problems, of how irrelevant all of life is compared the bottomless responsibility and sense of forboding that having a few bambinos running around brings. Love is gruesome. It is a heavy, heavy thing.
Remember those 1970s or so little cartoons of naked people with sickly sweet little "Love is..." sayings. I've never quite gotten them, perhaps I was too young to really get it, and the fact that they never wore clothes kind of distracted me (don't they get cold? They don't live around here, I know that.) But now, here I am older and more tired, I know for certain that those nudies were totally out to lunch. The one I remember best is the the 'Love means never having to say sorry.' What the? In my experience, love means having to say sorry all the time. Over things that couldn't possibility be my fault, like the weather and socks that don't match (okay, maybe my fault, but, dude, I got better things to feel sorry about).
Love is spending years nursing, cuddling, feeding, dressing, sacrificing in a thousand ways to please, sooth, and nourish a child and then have that child pass you over for someone who keeps whacking them with a plastic light saber and pushes them down the stairs.
Love is carrying a collective 60 pounds of screaming raging children through the darkened house after a very long day, stepping in cat upchuck along the way, and still reading one child her chapter before bedtime, nursing and singing the other to sleep and making sure the cat gets a good scratch behind the ears before dragging your own exhausted body off to bed.
Love is not having enough time to trim your toe nails for five months.
Love is taking years off your life by only sleeping in 15 minute stints for years at a time.
Love is poop, pee, vomit and applying salve to strange rashes in places only highly paid doctors or prostitutes will venture.
Love is not hauling off and smacking the brat who wakes you up an hour and half before you need to and then going back to sleep half an hour later, leaving you to deal with the now completely awake baby, who then falls asleep 30 minutes before you must start work, leaving you just enough time to finally trim your toe nails and blog out a whine about the whole love and children thing.
For so many years there has been no such thing as calling in sick, of walking while swinging my arms, of using the bathroom alone. Love is the only thing that would motivate someone to tolerate these barbarous conditions, and to make a person insane enough to actually enjoy it along the way.