Today was Women’s Conference at church, which I support, so I went. When I arrived we had the following classes to select from:
- dating for single women
- caring for your aging parents
- caring for the young child
I am married. My mother is not yet 50. Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into before I went to the parenting class. For sure. I figured I could justify it as learning strategies as I “teach young people”. I even attempted to prepare for the onslaught by sitting next to my friend who (gasp) has left her children in the care of her husband and returned to work. So I figured we’d make a good pair with a room full of insecurity and crabs pulling others back into the bucket, allowing me to listen quietly and continue to prepare for that day when I do have children to care for.
To my dismay, we had to do introductions. Not just of ourselves, but of our (not present) children. Heaven help me. I thought about running but I was kind of trapped in the middle of the room.
“My name is Tiffany and I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a 4 month old.” “I’m Brittney and I have beautiful daughters- a 2 year old and a 6 month old.” “I’m due in June and our baby is modest so I don’t know if it is a boy or girl! Oh, and I’m Jessica.”
It came to me.
“My name is Eve.” Big. Wide. Fake. Smile.
Ally, teacher, and 22 year old mother (“I was home schooled and graduated early!!! I was in college when I was 15!!!”) of a four year old, 2 year old, and one due in May: awkward silence. “Well!”
Woman behind me, Mother of 8, 6, 4 year olds, hugs my shoulders. “You have a husband!” Conspiratorial laughter as if my highly educated husband somehow merits the same strategies as a toddler, thus justifying my invasion into this class.
I credit my Heavenly Parents for inspiring the woman at the end of my row for piping up with with her name and progeny and moving it along. Unfortunately, that woman was actually one of my STUDENTS early in my career.
I could feel the tears beelining to my eyes from somewhere where they stay until someone asks me about my lack of children. Oh, mother of mercy, I wanted to dissolve. Become one with the terrible metal chair and ooze out the door and into the sunshine before these blessed mothers complained about the habits of their toddlers, all the while pointing out how smart they are. “It’s such a pain when he is so smart he can unlock all the doors and run outside. I yell at him about the coyotes on our acre and a half property!”
Maybe I just need to figure out a way to complain about my problems while still showing how wealthy and smart our family is. “Oh I hate it that I don’t have kids and so I have all the free time in the world to teach yours Sunday School and weekly Youth Group and attend meetings and run a successful county-wide educational reform initiative and take care of all our household responsibilities and support my husband in grad school and all the while have to deal with your constant questions into my inability to reproduce probably you know because I love my career so much I am not putting family first.”
It really doesn’t have the same “uumph” as coyotes.