I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I do not enjoy having a baby to look after.
Of course I love her. Of course I would do anything, anything at all for her. If there was ever a danger I could protect her from with my own life, then I would do it.
But there are times when it is not all that fun. There are times when I can think of a host of things I have done in the past which would be funner. Like, going shopping alone. Or, walking to a cafe alone. Or travelling overseas, to a beach, with a book, alone. Or with my husband. I am seeing a theme emerge here.
When I was alone, or alone with my husband, I did make sure I relished my time. But you can’t really make the most of something unless you actually have tasted its absence. That is why the freaky Friday, body swap movies keep coming back, or the alternate life movies, from It’s a Wonderful Life all the way through to The Change Up. We are fascinated with the idea of what might be if….
Most of the time I am profoundly grateful for her. But sometimes I think nostalgically about the days I absolutely had nothing I had to rush home for, and no reason to get up in the morning.
And then I think about that. Nothing to rush home for. No reason to get up in the morning.
Sometimes, having a baby is not fun. Or it is a downright chore. Sometimes, I catch myself dangerously close to thinking about life as a never changing thing, of never again being free of responsibility. Sometimes I forget that fun, or happiness, are not absolute concepts; I forget that they are not grapes hanging from a vine, simply waiting to be plucked.
And then I remember that babies change, and grow, and leave. And when she is grown, my heart will ache to have her back in my arms, and I will sink dangerously close to thinking my life is empty without a child in my home. This is samsara; this is what I chose. Unlike Gautama Buddha, I am not going to walk away.