Read this first:
It’s meant to be funny and light. And I did laugh a lot. Loud.
It reminded me of a conversation with my young friends this past Monday. Three twenty-somethings who immigrated here from France and a thirty-something mother of three from Montreal. They are just delightful. One twenty-something was telling us the ordeals she went through while babysitting a seven-month puppy last week. The puppy was sick with diarrhea, would whine and whimper if left alone in a room and was sprayed by a skunk at three-thirty in the morning during one of its hourly diarrhea attacks. My friend lost much-needed sleep and had to clean up the mess. She was glad to give the dog back to its owner. The dog needs training, keeps pulling on the leash, sleeps on the bed, pees everywhere…
At the end of her story, she said this (drumroll….): “It’s like having a child.”
We two moms assured her that although one would think that, it’s nothing like having a child when you actually have one. Just like your pets are your reason for living until your child is born.
My young, innocent friend said: “Well, yeah, having children must be better because at least they listen when you tell them to do something.”
At which the other mom and I burst out laughing, slapping our thighs in merriment. The younger one was serious. Which was even funnier!
So the young dogsitter said: “Well that’s it, I don’t want any children!”
That’s when I stopped laughing.
I told her that, although we kid around a lot about the struggles of having children, there’s nothing to prepare you for the love you’ll feel when they’re born. You won’t know how much you’re capable of loving someone until you hold your newborn in your arms. You’ll want to give everything to this little person because this is the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to the world. They’re great kids who turn into great people. It’s a privilege to know them and watch them grow up to turn into individuals you’re happy to have in your life.
Another young one in the conversation said stop it, she was going to cry, wiping at her eyes.
My intention wasn’t to go all Hallmark on them. It’s really the way I feel, and the way a lot of parents feel.
Yes, it can be compared to living in a zoo with a monkey strapped to your leg, but the monkey will never be as cute as your own baby or elicit the same feelings. That’s why we let them get away with it. They’re cute and we love them.
They know it, too.