Some time ago, I read an article on msn.ca about celebrities who have chosen not to have kids, and it got me thinking, “How many people in this world have really sat down and planned out how they want to live their lives and what they want their lives to look like, and then stuck with that plan despite outside pressures?” Probably not many. And the few who have are the really successful ones.
I thought I had it all worked out when I was in my teens. I was going to be a writer (think Danielle Steel), I was going to live in a condo overlooking water, I was going to drive a Porsche 911 and I wasn’t going to get married or have kids.
Then I fell in love. And then out of love. And then in love again. And then university was too expensive and I really liked the job I got straight out of college and working full time at it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And between working and an active social life, I didn’t have time to write. And I didn’t really have anything to write about as it turned out. (Or maybe the hard work of writing got me down one too many times and I just gave up. I’m good at that. Giving up, I mean.)
I never really wavered on the not having kids thing, though. It looked like a lot of hard work and a huge of loss of freedom. Not until much later did I realize that having kids could also bring much joy (even though there was still a huge “hard work” component attached to it).
And, eventually, I fell in love and stayed in love long enough to begin to contemplate a future with one person and maybe the addition of one or two little people.
Call it a biological clock. Call it the desire to leave something behind when I go. Call it whatever you want. I came around to the idea of having kids probably much in the same way that a lot of people come to the realization. I had done everything else I wanted to do and I had some energy left over, so, heck, let’s have a baby.
And for all my griping, exhaustion, frustration, hair-going-grey-faster-than-I-can-dye-it, possibly selfish attitude, having kids was, hands down, the best thing I have done in my life.
I could not have been one of those people who excel at sticking to their plan. I don’t measure success that way. I would like to, don’t get me wrong. The whole idea of having a plan and sticking to it is very appealing to me. But, if I’m honest, it’s not me at all.
I measure success by how much laughter rings through my house, how efficiently we get out the door in the morning with lots of time left over for hugs and kisses and last minute bug hunting in the yard, how cuddly my kids are when I tuck them in and they ask me to tickle their backs just one more time before I leave the room. My success in life hangs in the air after I dry tears away and hug the hurt out of little hearts. The sweetest success, the best measurement of how successful I am as a human being lies in the little sleeping children that I brought into this world and that I work so hard to raise. They are my success. Every other accomplishment in my life is sweeter because of the success that those little people make me feel—even on the days that, from the outside, look like a failure, the success of having landed in this life, with this wonderful husband and these two fantastic little people cannot be measured except by love and laughter.
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