I was thinking recently about what makes a person decide to have children, and what makes a person decide not to have children. I have always said that I can appreciate the decision to not have children - I mean, obviously, you would save a great deal of money, and time, and stress. It does not take a genius to see that as an adult, your life would certainly be your own to a greater extent, and that your career could take a greater role. Heck, your marriage, if you chose to go that route, could even gain, I suppose, by having a greater amount of time to spend on one another.
One day last week, though, I was watching one of my younger kiddos sleep. He happened to be right next to me, sleeping in bed with my husband and I, early in the morning. This is not a baby or a toddler - this is a 7 year old, very nearly 8 - yet nevertheless, looking at his face, I found myself overcome with a feeling of...I'm not sure I know how to describe it.
I looked at him, and all in one moment I again (because I have felt this before) recognized that this human being was mine, in a way nothing else ever will be, and that his face and his hair and his long fingers are all a result of two people who love him so entirely and completely. And I felt that overpowering pull of protectiveness, possessiveness, pride - all of those things that make a parent a parent. That pull that made me reach out and lay my hand on his face, and stare at him as if he was about to disappear. Looking at him and knowing him.
THAT - that feeling I am completely failing to describe entirely appropriately? THAT is one of many reasons I count my blessings that I have children.
I do not want to go through my life - my particular life - without having that. Without knowing I don't have that. I realize that with all things being relative, a person who chose not to have children would not realize he/she was missing that feeling. It is impossible to miss what you don't know you are missing. BUT - I know, because I have made another decision, that I would not want to live without having THAT feeling knit into my very self.
All of my boys bring out that emotion at varying times, and I try to at least for a second capture that feeling when it comes and swats me in the face.
I capture it so that when I am hollering at the pack to tone down their voices, and when I am reminding everyone to throw dirty clothes down the laundry chute instead of on the nearest floor, and when I am making the fourth trip of the day to or from a football field, school or grocery....I can always reach around and remember that yes, I did choose this life, and that in spite of the daily insanity and the fraying of the nerves --- I am so damn glad this is the life I chose.