While on the phone with my favorite mother-friend yesterday, she said some precious words to me: "That's why you don't want children."
I'd been explaining what had happened to me the night before I called her, when another mother-friend I'm very close to needed to take her child in for emergency care. I went along for company and emotional support. L and I were together in the ER for 5 hours, during which said child was almost never silent - he drifted between whimpers and shrieks that caused people to crane their heads around and stare at us. These people were ridiculous, I thought - when a baby is several hours past his bed time and suffering from an injury, what do you expect him to do? Giggle? At least he smiled every once in a while. There was a lengthy period during which he would only settle down if he was being walked in his stroller, so I walked him. A lot. Her second baby is still belly-bound and was causing her undue amounts of pain, so I didn't want her to have to do it.
E, my favorite mother-friend, took in everything I said about the situation and came up with, "That's why you don't want children. That's a mommy's life, every single day, no matter what else you have planned." And she's absolutely right. I don't know if she thought I hadn't figured this out yet, or if she was simply uncovering something about me that she'd been in the dark about - a puzzle piece finally snapped into place - but it was gratifying nonetheless.
I can usually find time during every day to be thankful that I have no children, but there are moments when the relief is almost overwhelming, when I realize everything my closest friends have given up, when I realize how hard I used to think I wanted this.
E also said, "And that's why you have friends who are mommies, so that you get to live the life every once in a while, even when it's bad times."
I'm grateful for every second of it.