Diapers and Destiny


This weekend I went shopping for diapers.

Along the way, I stopped into the Borders and found Enemy Within cozied up with the Iron Duke. In broad daylight, even.

I started reading Enemy Within, too, and *love* it. No, I hadn’t read it before. I read a draft of Marcella’s second book and my comments resulted in her gutting it, rewriting and missing her deadline by, oh, a couple months. She says I shouldn’t feel guilty.

Now I don’t because if Enemy Within is what she’s capable of producing, then I’m glad I held her to a high standard. I realize I haven’t read any classic sci fi in a while. I know I’ve never read a post where the main character has been imprisoned and tortured by insectoid aliens. The latent psychological trauma is gritty, moving and incredibly well done. Romance-wise, I’m all about the hero getting through to trauma-girl where no one else can.

(Currently plotting time away from work today to read more, more, more!)

Anyway – I went shopping for diapers for little Aerro. I mention this here because everyone seems to forget I have grandchildren. I bought a few cute things, too, but for a tiny baby she has lots of stuff already. My stepdaughter and son-in-law are doing cloth diapers this time around and they do need more of those. Lauren told us the brand they planned to use, which I ought to be able to buy in Target.

So, I went to Target, I went to the cute baby stuff section. Nope. Several burgeoning couples were there with the baby-registry scanners having a grand old time, but no sign of diapers anywhere. I went wandering forlornly, expanding my circles outward through the various stages of clothing for kids, teens, adults, fat adults, cars. Finally a worker in the automotive section spotted me for what I was, completely at a loss. I hesitated to say I was looking for diapers – of course, he immediately laughed at me. I wanted to explain that I figured they didn’t keep diapers in automotive (being clever like that) but that I was on my way to somewhere else where they might more logically keep it.

The baby section, right? No no no.

He says “see this big wall right here?” Yes, even I can spot that big wall. “Go to the opposite wall on the other side of the store.”

Right. Paper towels, cotton balls, Q-Tips, tampons, depends and…diapers! Organization by function. All absorbent materials must be shelved together.

Then they didn’t have the kind Lauren said. So, I’m the woman on her cell phone getting the man at home to look them up. Turns out Target sells them in Colorado, but not New Mexico. Not in Wyoming, either, David discovered. Why? It’s a mystery. Emptier landfills in Wyoming and New Mexico, perhaps.

So, we’ll order online. I bounced off to the bookstore and to get a pedicure like the light-hearted non-diaper buyer I normally am.

I’m not quite sure at what point in my life I became the non-maternal type. When I was younger, I babysat all the time. I didn’t have much social life, so I babysat pretty much every weekend and on weeknights, too. I cared for newborns, even, which was the big money in those days. I could change any diaper in a flash.

A friend of mine has a daughter who just started her sophomore year at a prestigious Ivy League college. She’s always been a startlingly intelligent and talented girl. However, she has never had a job. Last summer, strongly encourage by her parents to start getting a feel for the earning money thing, she babysat for a friend’s baby. When the baby’s mother returned home, she saw a Google page up for “how to diaper a baby.”

I love this story.

But I was not that girl. I always had the idea, as most girls do, I think, that I’d have babies someday. Somewhere in the sweep of graduate school, acquiring stepchildren, and trying on careers, I never got really excited about having babies. Once, when I was 36, a woman I knew asked me if I’d regretted never having children. I replied that I didn’t know I’d never had them yet.

Yeah, it was a bitchy thing for her to say.

I did think, though, for a very long time, that I might wake up one day and have the overwhelming urge to have a baby. That clock that women talk about would suddenly tick-tock in my head and I wouldn’t be able to hear anything else until I had a baby in my belly.

Didn’t happen.

Instead I became completely obsessed with writing and becoming one of the great writers of my generation. Or possibly just supporting myself as a writer. Both of which have the added bonus of never requiring diaper-shopping.

People talk about being childless-by-choice. I’m not that. I helped raise Mike and Lauren from the time they were five and seven years old. And I never really decided not to have children of my own. Instead, I never decided to have babies. Kind of like I never decided to move to Thailand. It’s just that, most people never decide to move to Thailand.

It could be pointed out that a lot of people don’t necessarily decide to have babies either, but fall into parenthood, as it were.

I suppose I’m just on the opposite wall from everyone else. On the other side of the store, wondering why anyone would dress up their car in zebra print.

9 Replies to “Diapers and Destiny”

  1. Congrats again on the arrival of baby Aerro.

    Diapers… there is part of me that feels like it was just yesterday when I spent every waking moment (it seemed) changing a diaper. Yet, there's another part that feels like it was forever ago.

    Time is funny that way. Or maybe it's just our memories.

    I am about to turn 45 (eep! I HATE saying that out loud.) My children are in their teens and I love it! But I also miss babies in my life and have to satisfy that unending urge to rock a tiny lifeform with the babies my friends and relatives are having.

    My little niece who was flower girl at my wedding is now all grown up and having babies of her own. Her second, another boy, is due in March. Big Brother was just a year in September. Between them, I get my fill of lovin'.

    And, the best part about it? I get to hand them back to momma at the end of the visit, go home and sleep, uninterrupted.

  2. I'm over in the zebra-print seat-cover isle shopping for my child. He sheds in black and white and his toenails puncture taut seats. I don't have to add an absorbent layer, yet, so I'll just wave from the other side of the store.

    ~waves~

  3. I have a friend who decided, along with her husband, not to have children. When asked if they regret it (only by people who have children, naturally) they simply counter with, "Do you regret having yours?"

    My guess is, there are as many people who regret having kids as there are those who regret not having them.

    For the record, I have no regrets about having my kiddos, but then I doubt I would have regretted not having children, either, if my life had worked out that way. I'm the sort who chooses contentment.

  4. I always wanted to see how your high quality genes would express themselves in a new generation, in large part because I always wished I could have watched you grow up. But you did pass on your high quality love, caring and perspective to a new generation, and that's undoubtedly the greater legacy.

  5. I've wondered lately if my biological clock is trying to tell me something. I'm 34 with no children and yet, every story I've written either has children in it, or the heroine becomes pregnant. It's got to be a subconscious decision, right? This will pass, right? Right?

  6. Here, here, Patty! It's a great joy to get to play with the babies and then hand them back again. And thank you for the congrats.

    Can I come back to your side of the store, KAK?

    Linda, I *love* that answer!!! And you're absolutely right. It comes down to contentment and enjoying life – doesn't get better than that.

    Which segues into Kev's comment – I love the idea of passing along high-quality love, caring and perspective!

    How funny, Danica – oddly in the novel I just finished there's a lot to do with pregnancy. Maybe we're just working it out?

  7. When I got married I thought I would have children. Not because I wanted them desperately, but because I thought that was how I was supposed to feel.

    Hubs said we should wait until we wanted to be parents. We are still waiting. I get to live vicariously through the sibs and spoil the nieces and nephews and I am totally okay with that. Besides at the end of the day after I have pumped them with sugar and over stimulated them, I take them home to their folks and go have a bubble bath. Seems like a pretty fair trade to me.

  8. Great post! (And I especially love Linda's story from her childless-by-choice pals).

    My husband and I said from the very beginning that we never wanted children, but we agreed to keep an open mind if one of us had a change of heart. We also agreed that if we DID change our minds, we would opt for adoption over procreation.

    Here we are 13 years into the marriage — me age 36, him age 41 — and still quite certain we don't want kids (something that became a permanent decision about 5 years ago). Still, I find myself bristling sometimes when people give me that pitying look and assure me, "there's still time" (assuming, I suppose, that we've been trying unsuccessfully all these years). While I respect other people's choice to have kids, I also hope for the same respect for our choice not to have them.

    Tawna

  9. Kelly, I so agree. I just never got the urge!

    Oh, Tawna, you poor thing! Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. People assume if you haven't that you couldn't, for whatever reason. It's a strange perspective.

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