On Saturday morning I drove out to the ‘burbs for a hair appointment at a salon I love, but with a different stylist than my usual girl. I got settled into the chair and we discussed the reason for my appointment. The very first comment the stylist made to me after hair convo was, “So, do you have any kids?”
I paused. Long enough that a fellow infertile might have caught the drift, but not so long as to be awkward. I truly didn’t know how to respond. It was like I momentarily froze. After gauging the overall situation, the setting, and the questioner, I replied “No.”
“Oh, wow. You’re so lucky! I have two and I’m a single mom and they drive me completely crazy.”
Half an hour later I sat down in the shampoo chair. A super friendly gal came over to wash my hair:
Shampoo Girl: “So! Are you married?”
Me: “Yep, I am.”
Shampoo Girl: “Do you have any kids?!”
Me: “Errm. No.”
Shampoo Girl: “Oh. Well, you can always start trying! Have you been married long?”
Me (not wanting to admit I’ve been married for 12+ years): “Just a little while….”
This is the very reason I’ve avoided going anywhere lately or meeting new people. It’s beyond difficult when someone asks the seemingly benign conversational question of whether I have kids, and this deep down part of me awakens and screams, “YES! I do have children!” Because I can’t say that. We all know why. The follow up conversation would be extremely weird.
So I got to wondering: Am I really “so lucky?”
I can sleep in on weekends and go out whenever I want, for as long I want. I can spend my money on needlessly selfish things and take long vacations with my husband. I can decorate my house with fragile décor and leave sharp knives on the kitchen counter every single day of the week. If life is measured by these freedoms, then—in that case—I guess that I am “lucky.”
But you know what? I’ve had a lifetime of these freedoms. I’ve had fifteen years of undivided time to spend with my husband. I’ve had enough “me” to last forever; I’m pretty well over me, myself, and I by this point. I’d give all my money (and it seems that I am, too…) to be awoken in the middle of the night to feed a crying newborn, to scrimp and save my money and spend Saturday nights clipping coupons, to forego vacation plans, to baby-proof my house, to confidently answer “yes” when someone asks whether I have kids. I’d trade it all in a heartbeat to finally have a child of our own. So if anyone is “lucky” here, then it’s my scissor-wielding friend over at the hair salon who apparently doesn’t realize how blessed she really is.
When we decide that the grass is greener on the other side, we often forget the truth that all grass still must be mowed. This encounter brought that to my mind so strongly. Because maybe I’m very much guilty of the same thing, but in reverse. I realized that I have a tendency to think short-term, in that once I finally have a baby I’ll be chillin in those greener pastures without having to do anything further. But that’s not true, because as the saying also goes, the grass is greener where you water it. And for that much, I’m thankful that God can take something that would normally sting (the kids question) and turn it into an opportunity for a small lesson in humility and growth. Sometimes it’s the things we least expect….