I've been a good girl. I've made progress on the shopping, no progress on the baking, but I've been wrapping as I go along, after all are asleep. In doing so, I'm hopefully avoiding that Christmas Eve wrapping-for-hours hell where Mr W and I alternately wrap and hiss at each other until we are done and then make out like mad from all the tension. Hey, maybe I've cheated myself out of something here... Guess there's always that 'some assembly required' toy that never fails to push us over the edge: "What do you mean, there's a piece left and you have no idea where it goes? I'll tell you where it's gonna go, you *@*#!"
My mind keeps wandering back to something Nolan asked me earlier, a question he's asked periodically for a year or so now. I always feel a little guilty when I answer it, but I answer it just the same.
I was watching a women's basketball game on tv (ASU vs UConn), one I'd wanted to attend but ultimately couldn't because Mr W had to work, we had aikido, and it's a school night. Finding a sitter wasn't really an option, and my cousin I'd invited along couldn't make it, so it was just one of those things. I was pleased it was televised, and that I made it home in time to watch. I like sports, particularly college sports, but it's just one of those peripheral things for me. If I can keep up, I will, if not, then *shrug*, what can I do? I was in my room watching when Nolan comes in and asks what I'm doing, so I tell him "I'm watching this game I wanted to go to but couldn't because Dad's working, we had aikido, it's a school night, and I couldn't really ask anyone to watch you all under those circumstances..."
He waits a beat or two and then asks, "Mommy, what would you do if you didn't have kids?"
That's a hate-it/love-it question for me. In an instant, all my alternative lives flash before my eyes, that second of "what if..?"
"I'd be working in the nasty, wear-a-spacesuit section of the Centers for Disease Control, isolating who knows what. I'd be head of the pediatrics department at Phoenix Children's Hospital. I'd be living in New York City, churning out novel after novel, guesting on Oprah to talk about the movies being made from my books. I'd be in Mexico, perfecting my accent while learning to cook regional dishes and teaching English to the schoolchildren. I'd be scuba diving off the coast of Australia. I'd be in Italy, at Christmastime, touring all the museums while working on my doctorate in Art History, sipping cappuccinos with the most adorable men in town, perfecting my Italian. I'd be on the beach in Greece or Spain, going topless, baring my undisturbed-by-babies breasts and trying not to be a prude. I'd be ...."
All of this flashes before me, in a second.
Of course, I say none of this out loud. Instead, I say to him: "I'd be very, very bored. I'd be wondering what it's like to have a kid, and probably trying to have one. My life would be colorless without all of you, sweetie, and I'm exactly where I should be." And I give him a gentle smack on the arm, just so he knows I mean it.
Besides, there'll be time for all of that after. After they're all grown up, after we retire (hahahaHA!), after I maybe go back to school.
The time I have with them now is finite. Even on bad days, when sipping cappuccinos while learning Italian seems like a good idea, I know I only get it once.