Of all the culture gulches that plague us- paper v. plastic, Limbaugh v. Franken, new car buyers v. used car buyers, renters vs. owners, and the list goes on forever and the party never ends, the one that at times most affects my family is the kids v. kidless divide. The gulf is huge and, until recently, thought to be unspannable.
Kids are the ultimate trump card, and there are plenty of times when good parenting overrules all other social obligations. To parents this is a no-brainer, but to the rest of us it can be trying. When there’s a larger group, folks with kids usually get their way. I grew up in a time and place when adults always got their way, and it was our task and burden as kids to keep quietly out from underfoot. I’m not sure if I agree with this philosophy, but it’s what I’m used to.
The older and the grumpier I get, the harder it is for me to be flexible around other people’s children. I get that their parents HAVE to be both flexible about the needs of their children and rigidly inflexible about the schedule they’ve set for when the kid eats and sleeps and poops. I get that. And those parents will be rewarded in their old age by doting children and grandchildren while I look enviously from my lonely wheelchair. But until then, or until we have kids, I’ll remain ambulatory on the other side of the divide, on the other team.
My team, the late diners and late sleepers, the keepers of the sacred fire of spontaneous moviegoing and pic-nicking, is Team Kidless. My team doesn’t spend much time reading mommy or daddy blogs, unless there’s a direct blood or close friendship bond. I’d throw myself in front of a truck for my niece and nephews and the small army of kids our friends have produced who’ve stolen my heart, but unless they can dance like Beyonce or 5 star a Guitar Hero rock anthem on expert difficulty, I don’t want to spend my free time watching videos of them.
I’m always a little bitter when my blog rival Ben posts something really adroable that his daughter Annabelle has done. That 4(?) year old is smarter, faster, friendlier, and has way better skin than I’ll ever have. Ben also holds the record score for blog activity from his recent announcement that he successfully knocked up his beautiful and muscular wife Rachel. I just can’t compete with that!
And then it hit me with all the attention the blog’s been getting during my recent posts. I’m switching up. I’ve become a mommy blogger! All I want to do is race home and write about whatever brilliant or interesting thing Fer did or made us get off our arses and do. Also I’ve been meaning to post about a profound experience I had carrying a sleeping 3 year through a starlit field a few weekends back. MAH BABY!
So I get it, after subbing in on the other team for a few innings. I get the love, the obsession. Funny thing is, soon as my short term parenting leases are up, I’m happily back on the other team. Ada’s mom has an expression for my experience. “Other people’s kids,” she says and pinches the fabric under your sleeve. “Your kids!” she then says as she gives a wicked pinch to the soft flesh just inside the sleeve. Too true, suegra.