Saturday, August 21, 2004

The kid thing

I've been wanting to write about our thought process re: having kids, but haven't found a great way to put my thoughts together... until I went to the beach the other day and wrote a letter to my friend K. in Washington state. So in the interests of getting these thoughts down (so I can refer back to them when I wonder what the hell came over me that made me want kids) I thought I'd plagiarize myself and post that part of the letter:

Things have changed quite dramatically for me since I last wrote - though more internally than externally. I began a job search in the spring, then learned that my editor was doing the same - kinda scary on a staff of four. He won the race and was offered a job at X the same day I interviewed at Y. I was offered, and accepted, his job - along with a big raise. The change was satisfying for a while, and still is to some extent. I'm learning a lot about managing people, and about editing.

But at its most fundamental level, the work just isn't satisfying. I keep finding myself writing in my editor's letter about food - not exactly what my business readers are looking for. The good thing about all this is that getting the (previously) coveted title of editor has shown me how relatively unimportant the title is: Nothing really changed. I'm not happier; we have some more money, and so are paying off some debt and spending more on fancy groceries. But really everything is the same.

So somewhere in there my thoughts about having kids changed, too, I guess because I'd always felt my work was so important that I didn't want to accept the inevitable change in priorities that kids would cause. Now, the reverse seems to be true: I'm resentful of work entirely, and look forward to the "excuse" kids provide for leaving work at a reasonable hour. (Why those of us without kids - ie, me - feel so lame about leaving work to do something - or nothing - for ourselves, I don't know...)

In any case, things just kind of clicked for D. and me on the kid thing this summer. I'm scared and excited about the possibility of a little kid who's totally dependent on us. I know D. would be a great father and I think (I hope) I could be a not-too-screwed-up mother. So... we have an appointment Monday with a genetic counselor, since cystic fibrosis runs in my family. We've put discussion of this subject off until the results come back, just in case it turns out to be an issue. (CF is recessive, so we'd both have to have the gene to have a chance of passing it on.) Anyway, if the results come back ok, my guess is that we'd start trying pretty quickly.

[end of excerpt]

Reading that over again, I realize that I may sound as though I just want kids so I can bail out of work before 6:30 on a Tuesday. That's not it at all, but I really have trouble putting into words why I do want to pursue this. It's something about family being higher priority than work, and the ability to bring up a child. Argh. I have got to get over my nervousness/discomfort with saying/writing these things. More on this subject to come, for sure.