For the last month, my posts have been pre-written and scheduled. I haven't been able to comment much on any of your comments, but I have been trying to keep track of them. I haven't been doing much reading or commenting elsewhere either. Why? Because we have been on a fabulous month-long holiday (I'll write more about it over on A Separate Life in the next days/weeks) celebrating our life together in southern Africa. And there are some pics on my (at)travellingmali Instagram page if you're curious.
As usual after a trip, I think about the questions about kids. The first time we got it was from a honeymoon couple from New York. Clearly they are thinking about children. I just said, "no" to the "do you have?" question, and they said smoothly, "so you're here, doing things like this!" and it wasn't clear if they meant it as compensation, or explanation, and I didn't clarify either. It was easy, and we let it go. Then one of the staff talked about his planned wedding later this year, and the plans that they will get pregnant within the next year, move and change jobs all to ensure good schooling for their as yet unconceived child. DH and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes. The thing is, it will probably work out for them. It does for most people. But the ignorance of his confidence that nothing will go wrong really struck us.
We were asked about kids elsewhere. Nowhere were we asked any follow-up questions. People were polite, and easily able to pivot to another topic of conversation. Where appropriate, I asked simple questions about their kids. But I found it all very easy. Mostly.
The highlight was at the very beginning of our trip. On safari, we shared our vehicle with a couple from the UK who were about our age or just a few years older. We had a lovely time with them. I said to my husband after a couple of days that I was sure they didn't have children either. It hadn't been mentioned, almost pointedly, by either of us. In fact, it actually took me a day or two to realise that neither of us had brought it up. How liberating is that? I felt so free and relaxed, and didn't even think about the issue.
Towards the end of our days together, I was chatting to the other woman, asked her to forgive me asking the question, and asked it myself. I felt awful doing it, and so as soon as she confirmed my guess that no, they didn't have children, I assured her that we didn't either, and apologised for the question. She made me laugh. "If I'd had kids, I would have told you all about them by now!" I agreed, saying that this is why I thought I could ask the question. Neither of us talked about why we weren't parents. I suspect again that we were both childless not by choice, simply the way that we talked about the subject. But there was no need to know. We'd had a lovely time together, have exchanged emails, and hope to meet again.That's all that mattered.
We were away for over four weeks. It was not school holidays, so we rarely encountered children on our travels. (Well, except for the hundreds of kids on school trips in one part of South Africa - though they just made us smile.) How lovely it was to feel part of a place, of experiences, of life, without feeling that our reproductive status was in any way relevant. There was just freedom. Bliss. Joy.