I was laying down with my youngest little boy tonight.
Me: You use to be so little!
Sam: One day I’ll be 100 years old!
Me: Make it 150!
Sam: And you’ll be dead!
Me: Maybe I’ll die on a big adventure….
Sam: Like in the desert. I don’t want you to die.
Me: I promise I won’t die until you don’t need me any more.
Sam: I’ll always need you, so you’ll always be here?
Me: For as long as you need me!
I started thinking. And I’ll let you in on a secret: I think in weird loops so here goes. I started thinking it’s interesting that children see the end of your life story, not the beginning. I see the beginning of theirs, but if everything goes the way it’s suppose to, I’ll never know how their story ends. Thinking about my children dying then made me wonder why I had them in the first place. Thinking of them dying, maybe in pain, maybe alone…. ugh.
So from there I went to thinking that’s a good reason for me to tell my childless friends why their occasional doubts about their decision (or unintended consequence) to stay childless is really ok: you don’t ever have to ponder your children dying.
Then I had a mental argument with myself.
Me: Dying, so what? The joy that your children will feel will far overwhelm any pain or anguish that comes into their lives.
Me2: That’s bullshit. Where in your life experience can you say your joy has surpassed your anguish?
Me: OK. That’s a good point. It does seem like the stress and anguish far outweigh the joy. But maybe that’s because anguish happens to you and you have to get off your ass and create joy. Joy doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. Anguish happens. If you want more joy, if you don’t want to be laying on your death bed thinking the scale tips toward disappointment, then you have to do something about it. You have to create it.
Me2: You’re a self-righteous bitch. What you’re suggesting is I laugh more, I make more friends, I seek out moments of happiness and enjoyment, I see the positive side. Oh good God, that means making an effort. And I’m tired. You know that.
Me: Get off your ass. Do it now. I don’t want to linger in the shadows with you.
OK so all of this happened in about two minutes. Most of it while brushing my teeth watching Sam trying to lay flat under the sheets so I wouldn’t see him. My God, I remember doing that with my mother. In Oklahoma. In the bedroom she grew up in. The beginning of her life story which I would know nothing about.
Today my almost ex-husband decided to scrap the dissolution we’ve been working two years on. For a marriage he desperately wanted to end, he can’t seem to let it go. And that little bit of anguish will continue.
Tomorrow I’m going to a 5 year old birthday party. I’m going to solidify friendships with these new people in my life. I’m going to laugh really hard and leave my phone number with at least one other mom to set up a play date. I really don’t want my life burdened by anguish. I don’t want to leave that model for my children.
When I die on my big adventure in the desert, I want my kids to know I was laughing.