...in the waiting room for swimming lessons...
...talk turns to being "done." As in not having any more kids. As in getting rid of baby stuff as your youngest outgrows it. I said I couldn't imagine feeling that way. They looked at me as if I were crazy.
It's not that I desire a dozen kids. It's not that I think changing diapers and wiping bottoms or even teaching a child to read is particularly fun. It's not that I want to be the center of the universe. It's not that I crave the power or the responsibility of raising a human being from childhood to maturity. It's not.
It's that to me being "done" means declaring that I have no more room in my heart for another person. I'm out of love. The club is closed; the membership roster is full.
And it might also be that 8 pounds of the softest skin on earth curled and resting on my chest is the sweetest addiction.
So, naturally, talk turned to...vasectomies.
Apparently, there's a waiting list here and men are scrambling to get on it. Sitting in a classroom is pretty low-impact, so the procedure (and the recovery) won't cause them to miss much. After this school, most of these guys will be heading for Iraq or Afghanistan, and they won't be able to do it there (and want to avoid any welcome home celebration surprises, I suppose).
"That's not an option for you, is it?" one woman asked me.
I shook my head no, and said that even if it were, my husband would never do it. "Really?" someone else asked.
"My husband has a pretty low opinion of men who would have that done. He says if a woman doesn't want to have kids, she should get herself fixed."
"But the recovery is so much easier on a man," she argued (obviously defending her own husband's decision to do it).
I gave my best deer-in-the-headlights look. How could I explain that my husband would sooner have his testicles removed than kow-tow to the selfish demands of his wife? And it's not that my husband thinks women should be popping out as many kids as possible. Trust me, he is much more willing than I to say: enough is enough, we've proved to God we're open to life, let's get on with our lives and do all those things that are difficult with little ones around...and while we're getting rid of baby stuff, let's get rid of maternity clothes and all those bigger sizes that my wife wears in between, and honey, if you've been holding off on cosmetic surgery until you've finished birthing babies, let's go see the doctor...for you, honey, to make you feel better about yourself (but, do I get a say in the size and shape of any breast augmentation?)...and if you don't think you need that, it's fine by me, I love you no matter what.
My husband will be the first person to read this blog, and he's going to kill me for that.
He does love me no matter what, but he initially fell in love with an eighteen year old who didn't have stretch marks, spider veins or a droopy cleavage. He still sees that girl - thank goodness that love is blind - but he knows that I don't.
So, Bill won't be putting his name on the vasectomy list, even if it would put him closer to having a smokin' hot wife, please, sweet baby Jesus in the manger (a joke for anyone who suffered through Talladega Nights). And even though he passes judgement (not moral judgement, rather cojones judgement) on men who have the procedure done, I don't. It's tough to argue in favor of retaining your fertility in an age that thinks having children is burdensome.
I'm grateful to have the Catholic Church to use as an excuse for indulging in the pleasure of a large family.