Fifteen years ago I went to my doctor and said I thought I should have my tubes tied because I didn't want kids. She wisely said she thought that was a bad idea because I was still young (thirty years old) and still might change my mind. The truth was, it's not that I didn't want to have kids, it's that I thought I would be a horrible parent so I wanted to make sure I didn't accidentally get pregnant and then either have to give the child up for adoption (which would be horrible because what if the adoptive parents were awful?) or be a parent myself (which I was sure I would fail horribly at and it's the one thing in life I could not live with myself failing horribly at). Around that same time an acquaintance did get accidentally pregnant and was debating keeping the child or giving it up for adoption, and when my first thought was "I'll adopt the baby!" I realized that I did want kids, I just knew I'd be an awful parent. Thus ensued a bit of a period of depression then I decided I'd better get it together just in case the opportunity presented itself.
That seems like a really long time ago and a different person ago. Being a parent for the last eight years has actually been really easy compared to what I had feared. I think it helps that the fates decided to bless me with the best daughter in the world (as a baby I called her "the easy, beginner model"). Other than the first two weeks after she was born I've been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to be a parent for me. Well, other than the first two weeks when I would wake up in the middle of the night for no reason other than to think in a panic, "Who's going to raise this baby because surely I am going to screw this up!"
There are still a lot of kids I don't like but I'm finding that is not that uncommon. I do not like disrespectful kids and I do not like dull-minded kids. And by the latter I do not mean developmentally disabled or with learning disabilities, I mean kids who have not been given the opportunity to use their brains and spend the majority of their free time watching cartoons and playing video games. I like clear-eyed, smart, curious, aware kids and that's about it. Which includes some kids I know with autism. The stuff I dislike is definitely linked to neglectful, lax parenting that involves parking the kid in front of a screen and giving them everything they demand. I don't like kids who have been raised with no discipline and lack respect for themselves and others. When kids like that are at my house they quickly learn that here there are rules and behavior that you abide by and any disrespect or rudeness has consequences. What's weird is those kids seem to always want to come over again even though in my head I'm thinking, "God no! I can't stand you!" I'm sure I'd like them if they learned to be respectful because it's not so much them but the behavior. But that would take moving in with me and ... no way. Thankfully, my daughter's little group of close friends all have very actively involved parents and are neat kids to have around. And all the little boys she "falls in love with" are always really nice kids.
So on the flipside when I volunteer at school and my daughter's friends run up to hug me and say hi, or when my daughter has friends over and we all hang out together and do projects like art or making jewelry and they talk to me about their lives and what they think about - I just love it! I think it would be fun to have a big house full of kids or our own. But my husband only wants one and with our lifestyle (with the horses and all that) I think that is a wise choice on his part. He's a good person to be partners with to rein me in on all my whims.
Last night I went to an action to benefit S.A.F.E. and had a little "mom experience". There was an auction item in the live auction I wanted - spend a day shadowing a race horse owner at Emerald Downs as they get the horses ready, watch the races from the owner's booth and go to the winner's circle if his horse wins. When they started the bidding a little teenage girl jumped up and bid at the first bid. I bid a couple times against her but I saw how badly she wanted it so I stopped bidding and said to M. "I can't bid against her. She really wants it." No sooner had I said that then someone in the back bid against her. She bid maybe a couple more times but the person in back was bidding too high for her so she stopped and looked terribly upset and disappointed. I was shocked someone else had actually outbid her! Everyone else was just casually raising their paddle to bid and she literally jumped up and waved hers like crazy when she bid to the point the auctioneer actually said to her, "You really want this don't you?" I thought for sure that would get the person in back to stop bidding - but no! They still outbid her! So, while I was fuming about this the auctioneer was saying, "Do I hear $350? $350? No? So it's $325 ... going once ... g ..." and I just got really pissed off and raised my paddle. The person in back outbid me and I snarled under my breath to M. "This is bullshit! I'm going to win this thing and take that little girl!" The person in back and I bid against each other and I finally got it (for waaaaaaaaay more money than I had said I'd spend!) and I jumped up and went over to the girl and introduced myself and said I would take her with me. Originally, I was going to just tell them at the track she was my daughter so she could go but as I was walking over the M.C. said into the microphone, "You can take up to three friends!" So, that worked out well. The girl told me she'd been saving up all her money for that auction item and it was her big dream to go and meet the owners and the horses because she follows all the races. So, I'm glad I ended up winning it and not whoever in back thought it was ok to outbid a 14 year old who obviously wanted it to badly. That's when I realized I definitely am a "mom" because I felt so protective over a child I've never even met before. But I'm excited now. I think it's going to be a lot of fun and who better to go with than a teenager whose excitement reminds me of myself when I was that age?