It’s always been a given that I want to have kids. That is, until I came into a loving, healthy, fun, stable, invigorating, hilarious relationship.
My interest in and experience with tykes began for not the most noble reason — as a freshman in high school, I needed ten hours of community service to become a member of the National Honor Society and was looking for a quick way to fulfill the requirement [my life was very busy with watching A Different World and ashamedly shopping at Lane Bryant; not a lot of time to spare]. The flyer read – “Do arts ‘n crafts with kids in an afterschool program Wednesdays.” Cutting and pasting for a couple of hours didn’t seem daunting, and so that’s how I found myself on a school bus from Evanston to Cabrini Green.
After my ten hours, I kept returning. My interest in public housing and all-issues inner-city was piqued, the immediate love and rockstar status the kids anointed me every week was intoxicating. A year later, I was coordinator of the program. That plus my standing Saturday night babysitting job for two kids, both until graduation, cemented children into my formative years.
While in college, I mentored a teen, created a pen-pal program between my freshman residents when I was an RA and kids who lived in public housing, was a summer camp counselor, and interned at Teen Voices Magazine. Post college, I coordinated a Saturday morning volunteer program at an Englewood elementary school for five years, taught and continue to teach digital media to hundreds of Chicago Public School students in under-resourced neighborhoods, and continue relationships with various kids I’ve met over the years.
All this is to say, other people’s kids have been a constant in my life and I knew that one day, I’d complement [replace?] your kids with those from my own loins.
Over the year and half that I’ve been dating Boyfriend, of course I’ve done the obligatory girl-thing, where you write your first name and his last name, where you envision what type of food on a stick you’ll have at your wedding, where you conjure up images of the results of a DNA-smushing, where you think “Wow, Boyfriend will be such a good dad!”…
But weirdly, as we’ve gotten more serious, my urge to procreate has lessened. To the point now where I don’t know if I want to have kids.
We bike thirty-five miles to Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, Indiana. We Trader Joe’s at 9:30PM. We go on two-week European vacations where we fly by the seat of our pants, pack light, and eat street food. We go to late-night improv shows. We do bar trivia. We get to Millennium Park hours early to get good seats for Iron & Wine. We have a GoogleDoc of eateries we want to try, many of which are bars/pubs, none of which are Chucky Cheese. We cringe when we see large families or tiny-beings within a year or two of each other. We already have to schedule get-togethers weeks/months down the line. We have dreams of European bike trips, more professional collaboration [do you need someone to lead your office in team-building/improv activities?!? Contact me!] and the creation of Boyfriend/Girlfriend LLC.
I don’t want to spend my money on diaper-genies and jars filled with mashed peas. I don’t want to spend my time car-pooling other people’s critters, baking for school fundraisers, or devising discipline scenarios. I don’t want our conversations to revolve around sitters, field trips, tap class, and report cards. I like an empty backseat that we can fill with doughnuts or six-packs or bike accessories. I like that we can leave for an outing carrying nothing but keys and a wallet. I like that we don’t fight.
I’m sure there are parents who answer questions about the ’80s at Riverview Tavern on random Tuesday nights, who talk about TV shows that aren’t brought to you by the Letter R, and who have tons of energy and are always up for whatever. It just seems few and far between.
For now at least, I choose spontaneity, light backpacks, and 3AM Golden Nugget pancakes.