This week on A Separate Life, I am turning to the newspaper for inspiration. I thought I might do the same here:
This morning on the newspaper was a photo of a father and son at the annual Christmas carol celebration at the Governor-General’s house (in the garden – after all, it is summer here) last night. They looked happy, and I thought about the father preparing to take his son to the celebration, looking forward to celebrating Christmas together. And I thought, “is it just because we don’t have kids that we don’t go?” I’m not sure to the answer to that, but I suspect so. And for just a moment, I let myself think what Christmas would be like with children. But along with the joy and excitement, I also anticipated the stress, the expense, the disappointment (for a number of reasons) if the child(ren) doesn't like the presents, the early early mornings (children in NZ get up at uncivilised hours on Christmas day – after all, it is light here around 4-4.30 am), the chaos and tidying up that would need to be done at the end of the day (or night), the children's meal or bed-time deadlines (beyond which they become ... fractious, shall we say), and the fact I probably wouldn’t have much time to sit down with a glass of champagne and wish my husband a merry Christmas. And I told myself to snap out of it. Our Christmas will be lovely. Different, more tailored to our tastes, calmer, but still lovely.
Then I read the story of the young woman who killed her newborn daughter earlier this year. (You’ll remember I wrote about it here). Her father admitted committing incest with her earlier this year – when she must have been six-seven months pregnant. The daughter is still in psychiatric care. It is tragic. But once again, such events remind me that being able to have or not have children is no measure of worth, is neither a punishment nor a reward, and is no indication of a judgement that they have been found worthy and that we have not.