My first thought? “But there’s life during children too.”
I was at the car dealership getting my oil changed. I did not have any of my kids with me because it was a Monday morning and they were all at school. I planned it that way. The car dealership is boring for me so I KNOW it is for my kids. Shortly after I sat down a family of three entered the lobby where I was waiting – a mom, a dad and a toddler, around two years old.
They were speaking Spanish and I said “Hola” to the darling, smiling boy. In the first few minutes after his mother sat down the little boy was walking back and forth between his parents repeatedly (his father was standing at the reception desk), toddling along so cutely, making very little noise.
Soon an older lady sat down right next to me and her presence overtook my senses. From her “loud” outfit to her louder voice, to her copious amounts of perfume that assaulted my nostrils. And then she spoke after only observing the little guy for a minute.
“There’s life after children.”
I have honestly never seen a more well behaved toddler in a car dealership, or most places for that matter. And I am guessing the half smile and the small laugh that came from his mother was a just a polite gesture since I am not even sure she understood what the older lady said to her.
But. I did and it ticked me off.
Obviously I am not sure why she said it. Maybe it just came out. But I sat there internally fuming and wondering what she meant by those few inappropriate words.
Sure, I am glad to know that there is life after children but I also know that it is a very different one in many ways and that someone (like me) who is in the thick of raising small people does not need to hear a phrase like that. And the funny thing? I like having my kids around!
In this situation I felt like this woman was trying to tell the mother of that little boy (and maybe even me) that life is better after children.
But right now, I would have to disagree. Maybe I have to do that for sanity’s sake. You know, like for instance, when I am having a night where one kid is throwing up and another has an epic tantrum and no one ate the dinner I worked hard to prepare, I try to remember that life during children is still abundant and fun and lively and not to be dismissed.
Like the times when I take my kids to Canada on vacation and their faces light up with joy at new things like tubing and paddle boating and snow on a mountain.
Or when I occasionally still rock the “baby” at night and she asks for me to sing her a lullaby.
And maybe the times when I realize they really do love each other, like when I witness one help the other learn to play a song on the piano.
Or the many moments when they have taught me something or reminded me how precious life can be.
Life with children is full of them learning to do things for themselves and riding next to me on the roller coaster because they are finally brave enough and telling me they love me and snuggling up next to them on the couch while we watch a movie as a family.
I am no where near anticipating my “life after children” and I know that one day I will look up and that life will be here and I will marvel at where all the time went.
So, lady in car dealership, enjoy your “life after children”. I’ll take mine with kids included, thank you very much.