Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Selfish Selfish Selfish (Is this post)

Sometimes, I get the feeling that more people are reading this blog than I would have ever imagined. (Although, I never imagined many people would read it, so it's still not that many.) I'm fascinated by the dynamic created here. This is my scratch-pad. This is where I go to really empty out my head so I can play with my ideas. Insular ideas don't get shaped and molded. We really are social beings. We can't even think alone for very long.

Anyway, thank you for being here. I'm so glad you are. I wish I could have you all over for a big pot of soup and some really nice beer. (Alas, I am not a wine person. Perhaps it says something about my lack of refinement.) Would you like to come for dinner?

I also have very small and quiet thoughts that run around inside my head and never come out. Only God is present for those conversations and when I try and bring those secret things into the light, they fade away so quickly that they never get the chance to stew and ruminate and grow into something good. I mostly have that kind of thought when I'm driving home from school. (Montevallo is my school-home in a way that Auburn never was. Montevallo is a sort of sacred space for me. An oasis in the desert.) It's a kind of exercise in the sublime as I listen to the road pass beneath my tires and wonder (as I wander) about everything I wonder about. I pray and listen for the answers. And they come in surprising ways. Maybe I pray for you.

I think about what I'm grateful for. I'm surprised to be grateful for the ties I've severed this year. I'm grateful for the ties I've made. I'm grateful that as 31 screams down the pike for me, I don't have any children. I never thought I'd say that, and of course, if I were to get a "surprise" I would be thrilled. But mostly, when I hear mothers talk about their kids, they're complaining.
I don't sleep, they say. I don't get to have fun anymore. I saw a woman at the store last week with one of those gigantic baby strollers lumbering through the aisles. She looked lost inside her skin and I felt sorry for her as I walked unencumbered out the door. Maybe she felt sorry for me. (Why do babies need strollers as big as my VW?)

Now, this is a new place for me. And I wonder if I'm at all evil for being here. Maybe. But, the thing is that I have some freedom now. I have a little bit of money, and the time to invest the sense I've obtained in my thirties in something I love. It's a sweet setup, really. It's something I never would have if I had been given the life I planned. I'm grateful for this scrap of time I get to cherish. Thank you. Thank you, God, for this respite from a hard and weary year. If I were still at Red Mountain, I wouldn't be here. And that was good. But this is where I'm meant to be. It's a gift.

It's so weird how this stream of consciousness progresses. Sometimes, I think it is very beneficial to just start typing and allow the ideas that float around in your head to come as a surprise to you. All of these things are a great surprise to me. I'm reading what I'm writing here for the first time, too. (Wild. You've got to try this.)

I think I've had enough of Mothers and their Complaints. To be fair, I've seen Mothers tending to their little ones in surprising and tender ways. I've seen some Mothers glow in the knowledge that what they are doing matters. And not just to future generations, but on some deep spiritual and whispered level as if Heaven reaches down and breathes that what's going on here
matters. I mean really matters. (Maybe it isn't babies that we want. Maybe it's just the opportunity to matter like that.) But most often, I see Mothers who complain. I mean, a lot.

And I think about that and I get angry. Especially when I look at the little faces of their little ones and see the thumb print of God there. (Do they realize the situations of the people they're complaining to? No. What a silly question.) There's a woman in one of my classes with four children. One of them is autistic. She's carrying 16 hours this semester. (I'm carrying seven and I'm dying, for reference.) She doesn't complain. Why? I think it's because her children didn't come easy. So, if this not having children thing is going to help me not be a complainer, if it is going to help me value the small immortals I hope to be responsible for (after my thesis, I hope) I choose it. I actually step out and choose it. The hardest thing about "infertility" (can I even call it that?) is not the absence of children. It's hearing so many mothers complain about children that came so easy.

And as I write this, I wonder if I'm complaining about something in a way that hurts someone. I hope not. I
hope not. I hope not.


Anonymous said...

I read your blog, but I never comment. Or let you know that I'm here, although you probably already know. I just wanted to say that I understand how it feels to wonder if this particular mother realizes the situation of the person she's complaining to. And then to know that no, she does not realize it, but to still feel the sting. I think "infertility" (I put it in quotes like you do) does make people value even more the children they will one day have.

susan said...

Thank you for reading my blog.


rebekka said...

What bothers me the most is when I talk happily about plans of having kids in the future, of what I want to cook and do with them, etc...and the moms laugh at me like I'm 4 years old and wanting to play house. They say, frazzled, "yeah, right...wait until you have children" in tones of almost...resentment.

One of my best friends, Sarah, just had her 5th child. She's my age, 26. She also teaches ballet. She doesn't have any help with her kids...she homeschools them. And she is one of the most joyful, grateful, honest, fun people I know and I've never heard one complaint from her.

I don't know where I'm going with this, except for everytime one of these mothers makes me feel like an idiot for thinking I will actually ENJOY having children, I think of her. And, of course, if I'm feeling particularly ugly, I tell them about her. Haha.

susan said...

I'm so glad you posted that.


Charlotte said...
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Charlotte said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G. Twilley said...

Laura and I talked about this the other day after reading your blog [though, we've talked about it before]. It seems to me, in retrospect, that people will tend to complain about most [a lot] of situations they're in - and not just childbearing.

And when I say people, I unfortunately mean a lot of Christian friends tend to be very down on the hand that God's given them I suppose...

susan said...

I am quite pleased to know that my blog is a topic of conversation at the Twilley house!

I agree with those thoughts and I add this: That women are cruel to each other. And I don't know why.

AND, just to add, for anyone who might be reading... it doesn't bother me if you post anonymously and I don't use any software that would alert me to your identity. So, don't feel like you have to delete your posts. Unless you just don't like what you wrote, in which case, I understand.

Sometimes I don't respond because I don't have anything useful to say.

I'm careful in my writing. I don't say more than I mean to share with people I don't know. And I'm not afraid of criticism.

The End.


Charlotte said...

I deleted my posts because I didn't like what I said. I'm not the anonymous poster, though. If you want to chat about it, I'd rather do it in person...


susan said...

It's totally cool, I just don't ever have deleted posts and I didn't want the "deleter" to feel like they couldn't post whatever they wanted to. (Except porn. I draw the line at porn.)


Charlotte said...

I figured that. It was porn. Then I felt bad and deleted it.

susan said...

Yeah. I figured as much.