Kamel and I sometimes laugh at the clichés of teenagers. Especially teenage love.
“But MOM, I LOVE him.” Mm hmm. Sure you do.
We giggle at the little goobers at the mall, thinking they are so tough, thinking they are such hot shit as they stroll through the food court, because we used to be those goobers.
I spent so many weekends at the mall. My mom or my best friend’s mom (Hi Emma and Emma’s mom!) would drop us off and then pick us up at 10. We frequented Wet Seal and the Candy Factory and Hot Topic and this other store that I can’t remember the name of that had a bunch of novelty items (Kamel edit: It was Spencer’s). And we would scope out the boys and hope we ran into them again and again and make eyes at them and we thought we were so freaking cool. So when my 13 year old kid tells me they are in LOVE, MOM! I will totally get it. And my mom totally got it. And my first thought will be, “Mmhm. Ok. I’m sure.”
And when my kid comes to me with massive heart break I will say, “It’s ok, you will see, this feeling will pass.” Because that’s my job. My job is to shine some light on the path ahead.
Many, many, many months ago, maybe even a whole year ago, I had a conversation with an older friend of mine. I told her that Kamel and I didn’t think that we would go down the path of fertility drugs if we weren’t destined to have kids. She shrugged me off and said, “You don’t know that. You don’t know what it will be like if you can’t have kids.” At this point we hadn’t tired at all. It was like the cat in the box: both dead and alive. I was both fertile and infertile at that point, it could have gone either way. And this attitude bothered me. It bothered me so much I can still remember it, remember where I was sitting, remember what I was drinking. And then it continued to bother me because it continued to be a recurring comment.
I’m bringing this up because comments in yesterday’s post had me thinking about this phenomenon again. The phenomenon where it seems adults are made uncomfortable by other adults’ firm decisions. When someone is certain on something, it’s much easier for the rest of us if there’s some wiggle room, a chance that maybe they won’t choose something so very different from the rest of us and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Different is a bit scary. Plus, at certain points, I think we have all really believed we know best. These are all human things.
The problem is I don’t like being treated like a child when I’m making incredibly adult decisions with my husband (or ever, but… let’s stick with the theme). This goes across the board, for anything and everything. I’ve come a long way from being 13, trolling the mall and feeling like a hot shot when I maybe wasn’t. I recognize my own ability to change my mind on a topic later down the road, but I am owning the decision I’m making about anything and everything right this minute.
I haven’t thought much about adoption, but I’ve often thought that if we a) decide to have kids, and then b) were faced with infertility, that I’m not sure if I would want to go through all the medical options. To an extent, yes–but I’m not sure how far I’d be willing to take it. Like you say, I do think we could have a fulfilling life without kids.
And, you know, not being currently in that situation…who’s to say?
And I kept thinking… you are. I wanted to reach through the internet and say, “But… but… but…You are the person to say, you are exactly the person to say.” We are all the people to say. I don’t have to have gone through something to make a decision on how to approach it. One person’s experiences do not have a universal truth about them. And I feel like we are all guilty of treating others like they just don’t get it. We give them the, “Mmhm. Ok. Yeah, surrree,” response. The, “well you can always change your mind.” The, “You’ll understand when you’re in it.” And the WORST, “You’ll see.”
Like when I saw Beth’s comment yesterday, I’m totally ashamed to admit that my initial response (in my mind) was, “Well you still have time to change your mind.” And I don’t even really believe or think that! But it’s the finality of decisions that freaks me out, except of course if they are my own… and then I’m all “Get off my lawn! You don’t know me!”
I want the world, starting with this bloggyland and me, to do a better job of respecting the grown up decisions that we all make, and then respecting the grown up changes-of-mind that we all may or may not have later down the road. Is it possible for me to talk about not wanting a sea of baby stuff without someone chiming in to tell me that, “Oh you’ll see! You’ll need it!” Or, to talk about a life choice that isn’t (or is) for me without having someone else feel as if I’ve said it shouldn’t be for anyone? Is it possible to have a comment discussion where lots and lots of people can have lots and lots of different approaches to the same life event and it all ends where we go, “Wow! I had no idea that so many people could do one thing all so differently. That is so cool. I will have to think about that!”?
I think it is. And I want to be better about being the lady who talks the talk and walks the walk.