I ended up spending the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama with our employee Chris and his wife Melissa. They have a precocious five year-old son named Wilder, and Melissa is about to pop with their next child, an as-yet-unnamed girl. As a single guy, it's always interesting for me to peek into the lives of couples with children. This past weekend was chock-full of good research.
Saturday night, we went out to supper at a great Italian restaurant called La Dama. Although kind of fancy and upscale, it is a very family-friendly place and the owners encourage people to bring their kids. A row of video games in the back keep the older ones occupied while the adults eat. Clever, that.
We all arrived in SUV's. It was Chris, Melissa, Wilder and me along with two other couples-with-children. One had a six year-old boy and a one year-old girl. The other couple had a four year-old girl and a six-month old girl.
The thing about kids is that they take over your life. Your entire focus is on them. Everything you do, it is with them in mind. They demand your complete attention. This makes adult conversation a jerky, halting, interrupted process.
I watched these couples struggling with their respective children, and I thought to myself, "Thank God that's not me." I mean, really. No offense intended to you parents out there, but being around people with children absolutely reinforces my conviction to never have them.
They say that having children "changes" you...makes you more tolerant, less selfish, more loving, blah-blah-blah. Perhaps. No, thanks.
There are some people who are just naturally great parents - the three couples I had dinner with Saturday night are all excellent examples. They all seemed to relish the job. I would not. I know the kind of pain and suffering I inflicted on my parents, and I would never wish that inflicted back on me. No way, no how.
It takes a special type of person to be a parent and go through all of that. I know in my heart of hearts that it is not for me. It's nice to get these little periodic reminders.