Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Some Can't See the Laughter Through the Obstruction

I took my kids to the pool in the neighboring neighborhood today.  We go swimming every day for about an hour. I think I really gave birth to fish.  To kind of set the tone, my neighborhood is 1 acre lots and there 25-50% families and the rest are retirees or couples without children. The folks who do not have kids, and there are MANY, are still very kid friendly and always beg my kids to come by their house at Halloween.  They love seeing families on their bikes, kids playing ball in the cul de sacs, and the typical kid stuff.  The neighborhood next door is non-kid friendly wealthy snobby golfing and tennis types who I just don’t think much of.  However, I do pay to use their pool and facilities since we don’t have a pool and I don’t want one for the upkeep or cost, so I just take my kids swimming, I just don’t socialize with those folks. 

I’ve gotten out of the pool and I’m drying off, when I hear a Mom say to another Mom that she lives in my neighborhood.  When she was alone I struck up a conversation with her and we were trying to get bearings on where each of us live. (For those of you who read who are friends outside the blogosphere, you’ll laugh at this. She said, “Oh!  You’re the house with all the Christmas lights!”  Scary when you’re the landmark for every person in the neighborhood.  I am waiting for Palm Beach County to use us for airport guidance during the holidays since we’re in the flight path.  A whole Christmas blog topic I have here.)

She then proceeds to tell me in a whisper that she had lived in this neighborhood first, before moving to ours.  I looked at her with arched eyebrow and said, “Reeeaaally?”  She had her two year old daughter with her.  She said that she and her husband wanted a baby so badly and they tried and tried and could not conceive. So they went the fertility route and finally after much tears and anguish, she found herself with child.  In her excitement, she told her neighbors who said, “I hope to God you don’t intend to put a swing set up. It will obstruct our view of the golf course.”  Hmm. 

Allow myself to be very clear on my thoughts on the whole issue of having children.  That is an extraordinarily personal choice.  I have the utmost respect for couples who have decided not to have children.  I am NOT one of these people who goes around saying, “Oh!  Have children!  They are so wonderful!”  Too many times couples get harassed by family, friends and society that they ‘must’ have children, like it is some obligation.  No they don’t.  Children are not something to put a list of things you’ve done before you die.  Learning a language? Yes.  Having kids?  No.  I also know many couples who just cannot have children, more than I can count, and to those people, my heart aches for them as I know from people dear to me in that situation, that it is a personal hell that I wish upon no one.

That said, about this neighbor of hers…  And I’m about to sound really narrow minded here.  I just don’t see how someone could not want the laughter of a child on a swing set.  That their completely unobstructed view is so important, that you would rather ensure their neighbors don’t get a swing set, rather than enjoy the happiness and goings on of a small child.  It is not as if it was going to be in HIS backyard.  And where does it stop? “I sure as hell hope you aren’t going to get that kid a bike because I might have to obey the speed limits and watch for kids.”  “I sure as hell hope you aren’t going to buy your kid a ball so I don’t hear them playing outside.”  “And I sure as hell hope you don’t ever get a basketball hoop outside, because I don’t want to have to hear the ‘thump thump thumping’ of people playing basketball.” 

So she did what she needed to do. She walked inside, looked her husband square in the eye and said, “It’s time to move.”  They sold their house and moved to my neighborhood and upon the few minutes I spent talking to her, we’re damn glad to have her. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is spooky. Last night Sally and I were talking (you may have seen us "baiting" people on Tammi's blog whilst trying to make a serious point) about this very same issue. People who have children as "lifestye" accessories ("Gee Brad, we have the house, the pool, the two cars, the fully fitted kitchen, what's missing... Oh! I know! A baaaaayyyybeeeeeee!") should be banned from anything other than being used as bloodsport accessories. It really annoys me. Even couples who cannot have babies that claim that a baby would make their lives complete should be banned! Grrrrrr. It is NOT about completing your life, surely? I know I am a man and as such my testosterone levels should exclude me from this but having a child (and it is a child, that will turn into an obnoxious teenager, then into an adult who will turn around and say "Mom, dad, you're both really f***ed" before not going on to college) and you have to be prepared for a minimum haul of about 20 years here. I know from our little asides that Son#3 and Star are similar enough that we should get them together and stand well back - I wonder how many of this "lifestyle baby" couples would be prepared to put up with that?

Alex (tired from the ceaseless Golluming)

6:09 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

I see children who are Kodak moments a lot down here. Where there is such money, these women are full time stay at home Moms yet they have a full time Nanny. Wha? What is your job then REALLY? I don't get it and a lot of us shake our heads. I have a posting coming up on being a Mom as there is another stupid reality show coming up on swapping Moms in households. The tripe they come up with amazes me.

Children are not a commodity. It irritates me that they are treated as such.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

The Munchkin is always on at us. "When are you going to have another baby? When?" Apparently the answer "When we are in a position to, and if we WANT to" is not acceptable. A lot of the people round here churn out unwanted children like animals. I spoke to a parent at the school I taught at who told me none of her three kids were planned. What horribe bad luck, I thought, visions of broken condoms and vomited morning-after pills filling my head. Incredibly, when I asked what she had been using, she said "nothing". To me, unprotected sex counts as planning a baby. The one time I did this, I got pregnant, so it's just as well I don't think crossing your fingers is a form of contraception!

Those people sound horrible by the way. I hope they fall on hard times and wind up in a terrible nursing home with no grown up kids to look after them. So there! :P

7:12 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Crossing your fingers is NOT a form of contraception.

Crossing your legs is :-)

Anyway, realizing that children are such a huge commitment is the reason Beloved Wife and I are childless. We don't want to be half-assed parents.

As for neighbor kids... I'm not particularly fond of them, if only because if they're around, I have to remember to keep my language and behavior rated G.

Nothing against them personally, just that it's an inconvenience. I waited a long time (almost half my life) until I was free to indulge in adult activities, and I hate giving those up.

On the other hand, kids have the COOLEST toys, and being around kids is an excuse for me to play with them :-)

9:19 AM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

Hmmm if my children are "lifestyle accessories" then apparently I lead a lifestyle that is heavily slanted toward spilling food and aquiring scabs :)
I love having a neighborhood full of kids, even if they occasionally do things like use my cooler for a latrine.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

Harvey, I'm sure Alex would agree with you on the subject of Super-Soakers...

11:17 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

Grau- Using your cooler as a latrine! ROFLMAO! That is frickin' great!

Harv- I agree with that. If you're going to do it halfway don't do it. I see lots of folks down here doing it half way and this is why we have kids doing drugs and all sorts of stuff. Makes me angry. As for toys... I'm a lego girl myself!

Sally- Believe it or not, I have people ask me if we're going to have another although it is more along the lines of "Are you going to try for a girl?" like any of my boys are not good enough. Kinda pisses me off. #3 was not planned (Trojan mishap) and when I found out, I was praying for another boy... I know the boy routine, got the clothes, know how to clean 'em up. A girl would have been nice... healthy was more important, but boys... I knew it would be easy on me to have another.

AND!!!, I actually had an elderly woman say to me, "You and your husband need to have more children. You are smart people and you need to help nullify these crack whores having baby after baby." I had to laugh, but sorry, my adding to the population is not the solution to THAT problem! LOL!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

I quite agree. Why change a winning formula? Plus you get to recycle clothes. I'm forever giving away clothes of Tara's that she's worn once, if at all.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You and your husband need to have more children. You are smart people and you need to help nullify these crack whores having baby after baby."

This person is a fucking fool.

Toluca Nole

3:06 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

When I bought my condo I hated the fact that there were no children under 14. It really ruined Halloween and Christmas for me. I moved to the townhouse and really enjoyed the kids. It made it seem like a home.

I will admit, now, I don't think I could be a parent at this point. I'm too use to my lifestyle. But I do love havin' them around. It keeps me young. There are times that I'll ask if my friends would like me to keep their brood for an overnite or weekend. I have a blast and they get a break. The best of both worlds.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

TN- Yeah you know that because you've spent an inordinate amount of time with the Boys III. Heh. Can you imagine if I had another? Karate wouldn't be enough to keep me sane...

8:58 PM  
Blogger Contagion said...

I love kids, I scare the crap out of them. Not always intentionally, I'm just scarey to kids I guess. Halloween is my favorite holiday, nothing better then doing up my "haunted house" and entertaining the local kids.

Harvey, I know your pain, however you must be a better person then I am, because I can't control my language and I think that my youngest, all the neighborhood kids, and my friends kids are all going to be saying "Fucking, son of a bitch" as their favorite phrase by the age of 7

6:22 AM  

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