There are definite benefits to not having children. After spending Easter with my sister, her husband, and daughter, I enjoyed coming home to a house full of peace, quiet, and an absence of brightly-coloured or noisy plastic toys. We are grateful we don’t have to watch Dora the Explorer endlessly on TV ... although I will admit to developing a fondness for Shaun the Sheep. After a glass of wine or two (for me, not the sheep), he's quite funny.
Of course, I know that people “grow up” as parents along with their daughter, and so just being around my niece probably isn’t as tiring as for my sister and brother-in-law as it is for those of us used to a family of two. Still, I see my sister and her husband talk about being lucky when they can sleep in till 7 am, and I see that they are tired. They talk enthusiastically about when C will be old enough to come and stay with us for two weeks. I’m thinking I could probably cope with a 17 year old. Maybe even a 15 year old. So they have a few more years to wait. Only 12 years to go guys!!
The three-year-old’s birthday party was not as bad as expected. There weren’t dozens of children or judgemental mothers. It was warm enough for the few children there to play outside, and the older children took good care of the little ones. The trampoline was a hit too. So it wasn’t too chaotic, the mess not too bad to clean up afterwards. And C loved all her presents.
Over the weekend, whilst there were some ouch comments and moments, my husband and I survived too. I wish they (or we) lived closer, so I could be there as C grows up, be part of her life, and know she knows who Aunty “Mali” is. As hard as it is to be around young children in our situation, sometimes I think it’s harder not to be.