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Weekend Round Up

I took Peaches and two of her friends to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for her birthday, which is tomorrow. While we were there, I had the Baby Goddess wearing a harness attached to a lead attached to my beltloop. I'm a huge believer in child restraints of this nature, and am used to the disgusted looks I get from a certain type of person.

This time, I had no less than three people stop me and tell me that they thought it was brilliant. One woman wanted to know where I had gotten it, as she wanted to go out and get one for her own child. Yet another difference between child rearing in theory and child rearing in action.

When I was twenty or twenty-one, an old boyfriend called me up one day and said that he was going to be kicked out of his apartment unless he got rid of the kitten he had just gotten. It was a little black ball of fluff, no bigger than my hand. I hate cats, but I promised him that I would make sure that the cat was well looked after for the rest of its life. I renamed the cat G. Gordon Liddy (Liddy for short) and he moved back to Phoenix with me. After about six years, my mother called me one day and asked me if I still hated my cat because she wanted to get a cat, and thought if I didn't like mine, she could just take him.

Within seconds, I was at her house with the cat and all his stuff (considering I didn't like him, he had a remarkable amount of stuff). He's lived there ever since, just him and my mother. He's slept on her bed, gone with her to work (she works less than half a block from home) and been her buddy for a long time.

For the last several years, he's had diabetes, necessitating several-timess-daily insulin shots. My mother has spent a fortune boarding him at a vet while she's gone out of town and in general has gone above and beyond making sure he was happy in his last years.

My mom's a great mom, and Liddy had a great life. I know she misses him, and it really makes me sad. I'm considering shipping Oswald off to her next. He's all broken in now.

I'm realizing that I possibly made a huge mistake in becoming a parent and getting married ever. Like, a really big mistake.

When I had my girls, I was trying very hard to be something I wasn't. I was trying to be the extrovert that likes to be in the midst of things and can spend all of her life being at the center of everything and love it.

I'm not that. And when you're married to someone for whom "uxorious" describes the first five minutes of the day and it only gets more intense from there, and two children who don't just want to be like Mommy, they want to be with Mommy, touching Mommy 24/7.

It's possible that my personality makes it that way. No, it's not that I'm such a bloody joy to be with that they can't resist. It's that I have such a need for privacy and time alone that they perceive time with me as a precious commodity that becomes more valuable because of its perceived scarcity. Although I'm pretty fun, too.

I've just spent a lot of frustrating time realizing that because of choices I made while trying to be something I'm not, I've limited my life in a lot of ways that drive me crazy. I can't just abandon my family. While I'm struggling to create literature that's substantial and lasting, I've already created humanity that's substantial and lasting, and that can't be ignored.

A hundred years from now, this will have evaporated. Yeah, it's just not a thing.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
My mom used one of those harness things on me when I was a kid. There's a picture of me in the family album from the San Francisco Zoo wearing a red jacket and a white harness. Having once taken my three year old nephew to a major league baseball game and seeing how well toddlers listen, I'm all for the extra control!
Jan. 17th, 2005 06:12 am (UTC)
I seem to recall the harnesses are getting more popular. I think they're kind of weird, but my opinions on parenting are mostly theoretical, or things I observed about the parenting of my eight-years-younger sister.

As for the introvert trying to be an extrovert idea, that really does fit with some of my perceptions of you. Perhaps realizing this in such clear terms will at least make it a bit easier for you to deal with it well.
Jan. 17th, 2005 06:24 am (UTC)
Nothing of substance to add, just wanted to take a moment to let you know I'm still here.
Jan. 17th, 2005 06:39 am (UTC)
I saw this series and thought of you.

I know how you feel in general, and that's one reason (of many) that I'm hesitant to have children of my own; I just don't know if I could handle that much need, that much closeness.

On the one hand, it really sucks that you're sort of fenced in this way. On the other hand, I suspect that you're a pretty good parent, and that the girls will turn out well. I'm not going to make out like that's any kind of replacement for your creative work, but that's still a damn fine accomplishment.
Jan. 17th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
My daughters are wonderful people. Moreso for being so completely unlike me. But it's really one of those "if I'd know then what I know now..."

On the other hand, an equally large part of why they're in my life is nearly identical to the reason why I have so many cats in my life even though I can't stand them. Other people have wanted them desperately, and I tend to go a long way toward being accomodating.

I've been married four times, and every single husband has stated his desire for children. The first one was just plain out of luck (and we can all thank our lucky stars that by the time he remarried, it was really too late). The second and third got their wish, and the fourth wasn't fussy about them being his biological children.

Given that I'm only just now getting around to doing what I've been intending to do since I was five, I only just now see how I've hampered myself in the effort. I guess that's the takeaway point: be careful of the company you keep NOW, because when you tie your fate to another person's, they get to make half your choices for you.
Jan. 17th, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC)
But you *are* doing it -- and doing it well. And children, like cats, provide good material.
Jan. 20th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
It's all fodder.

That said... the people I know who seem to make the best parents are people who are the most self-aware and at the same time NOT self-absorbed. Like you. I know it's a hard thing embracing that creative life while living with the choices made while trying to be something and someone else. I'm not sure what the answer is. I think you'll find a way of balancing all those choices, though. The impression I have of you, from what I know of you if anyone can you will and you'll do it with dignity, serentiy and calm.

Good choice on the harness, by the way. I'm a theoretical parent but anything that keeps your child a) in sight and safe, b) out of things they should not be in and c) in sight and safe is cool in my book.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )