Other than memories of fun experiences or moments in time, I cannot remember exactly how it felt not to have kids. Maybe it is the fact that my kids sucked out some of my brain cells with each birth so much so that when someone asks on Monday what I did last weekend I have to think hard to find the answer. But, I think it is more that my kids changed my life so much for the better that a life without them just doesn’t seem ever to have existed. Like they were always a part of my life even when they were just “twinkles in the sky”.
Even further, it is hard to imagine life with just one child. When I only had my daughter and was a new mom, I remember feeling very busy and overwhelmed at times. The responsibility of taking care of another human was awesome, terrifying and all-encompassing in those early days but now life with two children is so drastically different that the idea of my former self thinking I was busy just seems crazy. Granted, going from zero children to one is by far the biggest life change one can experience. Then, going from one to two kids is much easier in the adjustment period but harder in daily life. The responsibility is still awesome and terrifying, you just train yourself not to think about it all the time.
Life with my first, upon reflection, was a time of bliss and simplicity. I looked for things to keep my daughter and I busy. I felt like she was my little accessory as I carried her in her front carrier and we went to the farmer’s market to look at the various colors of fruits and vegetables. Then back home for naps, snacks and afternoon walks. That was pretty much it…and I felt busy. Then I had my son and life was much busier tending to a preschooler and a new baby but over time I started writing again, started a blog, then acquired an at-home job and started freelance writing.
My son got older and I added his social activities to the mix with my daughter’s extracurricular activities. I am by no means busier than lots of people I know such as women with 3+ kids or my sister who is a CPA working full-time and a single mom but busy enough that things that used to occupy my time seem just silly now. I remember evenings when my daughter was asleep and I’d be alternating between the PBS web site list of “best children’s books” to Amazon trying to find “just the right book” for my her. Now, we hit the library every three weeks and grab a handful in about 10 minutes.
This recent reflection of how much my life has changed over the years was spawned by Farmville.
Last week, my sister was working from home since we were all homebound due to an ice storm in Florida. Her kids were with their dad and even though she has an ongoing laundry list of things to do, she felt almost paralyzed with the “free” time she had in between work. Have you ever experienced that? You “Go,Go,Go!” and then given the time to accomplish something, you freeze not knowing what to do first? We function on time constraints and to-do lists during our normal days that a chance to catch up on odds and ends leaves us feeling lost. But I digress.
My sister stopped by after an outing to Wal-Mart “just to see other humans” because she was beginning to feel like an actress in “The Shining” Part 2 in her home. (Note: Floridians don’t like to be trapped inside even for only one day) While we were chatting, her phone notified her of an invitation to play Candy Crush. She deleted it and said, “If one more person invites me to play Candy Crush, I am going to scream! “ In an instant, a long-lost memory flooded my mind…Farmville.
I said in between giggles, “Remember the time when we played Farmville!!! HAHAHA!” My sister introduced me to Farmville when my daughter was a little baby so I would often spend her nap times and evenings tending my “farm”. But I never got addicted and deleted the game not too long after starting. My sister, however, was a full-blown Farmville addict which is hilarious to remember as she now balances being a single mom and working full-time. Her “farm” had the big mansion, the hot-air balloon, well placed crops and she saved up for other various buildings and animals she wanted. She had plans and goals.
One weekend, she went out-of-town for a long weekend and called me in a mini-panic on her way out the door. She had just checked her crops and had 2 days to harvest one particular crop. If she didn’t, God forbid, it would wither. So, she gave me her login information and asked me to harvest her crops while she was out-of-town. Yes, she did. I nurtured her crops with all the love only a sister could do, because if I didn’t, what would happen?? Absolutely nothing. But, it was important at the time.
I look back fondly on those days. I have no need for competition over being busier than the next person. In fact, I try desperately to slow down and yoga has served that need greatly. Remembering harvesting my sister’s virtual vegetables brings me back to a time of simplicity and ease though I didn’t see it that way then. Remembering clearing her virtual plots of land and planting virtual seeds while she was out-of-town reminds me to take notice of the simplicity I have now so that my future Self will look back fondly on these days. As I remember the time I tended her virtual garden, I remember to not ever get sucked into Facebook games again. But it is a nice memory that still gives me the giggles.