Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Five Little Monkeys
"What are you trying to prove?" asked one friend when she heard about my miscarriage. "You've already got four kids."
"But I don't understand." says my mother, "If you find it so much easier with two kids than with four, why are you even considering adding a fifth?"
My Dad feels I'm too old. My sister simply says I'm nuts.
How can I explain that the characteristics that got me through college and veterinary school, that got me INTO an Ivy League college and veterinary school are the same characteristics that keep me going now. I have never chosen the easy route. I took AP classes in highschool, did all the extracurriculars and worked after school. In college, I took more than the required credits per semester, took some classes two years early, did extra research and stayed for summer sessions.
All of which now seems like a complete waste of time now. Except I had fun too.
I get bored living the status quo. I never wanted the quiet home and hearth. I figured I'd be in Africa by now, letting a Maasai warrior watch the three or four kids I had while I continued with my research. They'd be educated in the evenings, learning from life in the wild. Never really thought about a husband at all.
I had a blast with the first kid. Couldn't wait to get out of Connecticut and show her the world. Living near Geneva with two kids was fantastic; within reach of the Italian Alps, speaking French and meeting people from all over the world. THIS was why I had kids. Okay, in comparison Germany has been a sobering reminder of reality, and the double whammy of twins slowed me down for a bit, but I'm finally waking up again to why I had kids in the first place.
Kids are fun. You get to show them the world, you get to show them YOUR world, you get to show them that life is fun and for the living.
I didn't have kids to turn them into carbon copies of the rest of suburbia; I had them to be free spirits and to do whatever they wanted, to be whatever it is everyone else is afraid to be. Funny enough, by trying to integrate them here into Germany, I forgot that I didn't need them to be like everyone else, didn't even particularly want them to be like everyone else. I tried to fit in so that they wouldn't feel like foreigners, so they wouldn't be embarrassed not to be like everyone else.
I didn't want to be like everyone else in America; why the heck was I trying to turn myself into a German housewife? Same story, different country. Boring.
And so now that I am back again, now that I can do anything I want, the last thing I want to do is what everyone else expects of me. It's just not me.
I don't know if I will have a fifth child. I do know that it's an option. Not everyone else's option, but mine and mine alone. (Well, Damon has a little say in the matter, but he's wanted five since we met.) I've got other options too - going into a veterinary public health program in Berlin, working at a veterinary clinic in Stuttgart or perhaps wildlife rehabilitataion in the area, enrolling in a philosophy program in Freiburg. Writing my novel. All of which will still be there after another child.
I guess people worry about me, about what I am giving up for myself by being the mother to so many children. But you know - I love it. It's a job I am fairly good at, one I continue to grow into and learn from, one that keeps me moving forward and satisfied of work well done at the end of the day. And it's a damned lot harder than anything I ever studied in school. My life hasn't stopped for my children, my outside interests are still there. And they will still be there when the children are grown and gone.
I'm not doing it to prove anything to anybody. Not even myself. I'm not doing it because it's easy, but I'm not NOT going to do it because it's hard either. I'm just not someone who chooses a path because it's the easiest or the fastest, I choose a path because its got a better view or is more fun to travel. Mostly for the fun. And it is fun.
Oh yeah - I also just love babies. And my sister is right, I am nuts too.