A long time ago I said I wanted three things in my future: I wanted to be world-empress, I wanted to drive a Mini and (paradoxically) I wanted to have seven children.
Seven. Yes. No I did not have any traumatic experiences after seeing the Sound of Music, I just thought it would be nice to have a large family. I had a whole theory worked out (before Angie!) where I would have two of my own and then adopt five. Easy-peasy. Obviously. Oh please note, that I was aware that my grand plan might not be too attractive to any suitors, but I was pretty ok with the fact that this would almost most certainly be done as a single mother. ( Bless him, my very first boyfriend would play along and said he would be ok with the plan – and I just never had the heart to tell him he was never part of the plan. )
Even now, when my world conquering schemes are put on the backburner ( hey sometimes it takes all you have just to get through the day…let alone planning ho to re-build Haiti.) and keeping a car, any car, here in London costs you a fortune before you have even driven the damn thing anywhere; I would still love kids.
No, not now mother ( before you get too excited – this is just a writing excercise on a random subject.) Just one day. The thing is, having experienced being a child, I realise that children are expensive. And I sometimes worry about that. I do. I know it is silly but I do! How will I ever support and afford a family without a real careerplan to speak of? (Guess those world conquering plans might have to come off the backburner again.) And No! Marrying a rich man is not an option ( though anyone willing can send in their CV. With picture. Please. I’m not shallow, it’s for genome reasons.)
I can see what some people might be thinking you are young, it will be ok, what are you worrying about? I agree, I am young, but apparently I am old enough to have four children. Last week I met a lady who was 44 and who had five children and -wait for it- six grandchildren. She once was pregnant at the same time as her eldest daughter who was now 25 and had indeed four children ( though she had a set of twins – still!)
Work sent me papers the other week informing me of their pension plan they are offering. Pension plan? I don’t even understand what that means and still I can pay into it. (What is the point? Will our generation have a pension when we get to pension age or will we still be repaying all kinds of bank debts until we are in our 70s?) Yeah I agree it is great to be young – it is a great excuse for any fuck-up you make, but old enough to be part of society gives you all kinds of quirky worries you never even knew you cared about.
Sometimes it would be nice to be able to look into a crystal ball and have a glimpse of what life would be like in ten ears time. Just a snapshot, reassurance that it will all be ok. ( Even if it wouldn’t be, you could prepare more accurately and brace yourself. Though I guess it would trigger the butterfly effect.)
Then I look at my cousin who had a surprise pregnancy in the middle of rural China (by her boyfriend, you moral police, god not just a random Chinese guy…jeez.). She and her boyfriend were both still finishing degrees, she had an adorable little girl whilst living at her parents. They found themselves a home and he found himself a job. They graduated, they got married and she got pregnant again. Hoorah! I know, in three sentences it seems perfect and in reality it might not a modern fairytale: he has to work a lot, travel a lot for work, and has to miss his family as I am sure they miss him. She had to finish her thesis with a toddler in the house and at a guess I think they might be wondering where to sleep the new baby as there are only two bedrooms in their house. But the keyword in that sentence is wondering not worryin. They probably worry too but if they do, they sure seem to cope with it. ( At Christmas she was worrying about already showing before 3 months – ha, her tummy was me on a bad day! )
Whenever I worry about things, be it future kids or stake pensions, I picture her and how she just seemed to have hit back all the curve balls life threw at her with style. She has made some tough decisions and some interesting life choices and has shown resilience, well meaningness and kindness throughout. I might not tick all those boxes but it is looking at her that assures me that life in the (not so distant) future will still be bright.
Luckily she assured me this on a birthday card: apparently it is after 29 that life really gets great! Good, that gives me another couple of years to get over my own jitters before becoming responsible for anyone else’s. But hey, if we share the same gene that makes you look that good throughout (and more importantly after) pregnancy I say: large family- bring it on!