Kids, Kids, everywhere I look
That probably sounds funny coming out of the mouth of a guy closer to age forty every day, but I still don't always see myself as a so-called, adult. I'm sure the psychological explanation for that has something to do with the fact that I'm not a parent and as such have never had that mental switch that [good] parents go through that transitions them from carefree to careful. When you bring a child into the world, your mind switches from an, "anything goes" mentality to one more along the lines of a, "I need to protect another human life" reality. And being childless, I've never had that switch. But that being so, I am still fascinated and impressed when I see it happen to my friends.
This isn't the first time I've had this realization though. As I've talked about on ELEVEN before, the year Ell and I got married we were one of thirteen weddings. And the way all the weddings seemingly happened at the same time, a few years later the popping of belly buttons and birthing of kids did too. In fact, almost eight years ago, we'd had a party similar to this evening's and ended the night lining up eight small kids on our couch for a group picture. I was much younger then, and I remember being in awe that my friends who seemed as ill-equipped as I to be a parent, were, in fact, parents. What a mind boggle.
All the couples here tonight were married years after the summer of thirteen weddings, so likewise, their journey of parenthood started later. Even so, they are equally close friends, and watching them make the parenthood transition has been fascinating to watch. I may not want to be a parent, but I still love seeing the interplay of mind over matter. These friends are all still the same people they were pre-children, but their minds have gone through the switch and that has caused them to act and react in very different ways than just a few years previous.
And so tonight I did what I like to do best, people watch. I watched guys who used to jump over raging bonfires, redirect children away from getting within twenty feet of the one tonight. I watched ladies I'd seen drink so much alcohol they couldn't talk, try to get their two and three year old's to say the word, "drink" as they filled sippy cups with water. And I watched a game of cornhole stop cold because kids were running between the players, the same players I'd seen throw snowballs at each others' faces so hard they drew blood. It was definitely a turn of personalities; a turn for the better.
I am proud to be a part of these friends' lives, and proud to see the great parents they are becoming. I still don't want kids; I'll leave that for those braver than I. Likewise, I still give made respect to anyone who takes on that role. You have my support and my prayers and it is an honor to know you.