What my kids give me:
Their trust and belief in me.
Last week, Time Magazine ran a cover article about "The Childfree Life: when having it all means not having children". On yahoo, there were two columnists that posted their dialogue about the article and many others in the media weighed in. I read in one article on the LA Times which mentioned that most dialogue has been focused on whether a couple's decision to be childless is right or wrong.
My concern about the cover article of Time was not a matter of right or wrong. I do have friends who've decided not to have kids. Most of them for health reasons.
But, I remember one friend (who got married before I did) telling me that she and her husband never wanted to have kids. She was honest with me and said, "We're just too selfish. We like our life the way it is and don't want to change it." I was a bit taken aback. I hadn't considered this before she openly shared this with me. Ten years later I found that friend on Facebook (in the old days when I was on Facebook) and discovered that she and her husband had a son. I smiled. Something must have changed.
One of the things I am regularly confronted by as a parent is my selfishness. When I got married, I glimpsed my selfishness and had to learn to compromise. But, when I had kids I saw it even more. Except the thing is that as a mom I didn't have a choice. I had to push through it. My kids needed me.
I still struggle with selfishness. I get tired. I know my own weaknesses and know that I'm not a perfect parent. But, I also wouldn't give it up for the world.
I also can't imagine growing up and being alone. Not having children or grandchildren. Not having nieces and nephews. Being alone. I can't imagine missing out on the joy I had tonight watching Sami play soccer for the first time or Eli run around the goal post in the middle of the pack. I can't imagine not laughing with my children at silly jokes they make up about "hot" dogs in the car today. I can't imagine not being there when they needed me today.
I can't imagine missing out on having my kids.
I am not so much angered by the article, but saddened by it. Our culture believes that being happy comes from having the "things" we want. What people miss is that it is the "people" not the "things" that bring joy and memories into our lives. No "thing" could take up the space that my kids take up in my heart.