Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, October 22, 2010

No Straight Line

Something which struck me with particular force while reading Jenn's recent (very good) post about answering people who ask in relation to children, "Do you want more?!?" is that one thing we are typically not very good at is imagining the future as much other than a straight line extrapolation from the present.

This seems particularly important as regards family. Right now my ideas of what it means to be a parent are fully formed around what it means to be a parent of kids ranging from 8 through newborn. Living in close proximity to my father-in-law and MrsDarwin's older siblings on weekends since we moved to Ohio, however, it has been driven home to me how very different things will be in 10 and 20 years. Decisions we make now can have quite an effect on out lives ten or twenty or more years hence, but at the same time we actually have very little ability to understand what it will be like to be us that far in the future.

I tend to think of parenting in terms of having young children around the house, but looked at from the perspective of our entire marriage we will spend more time with adult children than with young children.


mrsdarwin said...

When Darwin says, "MrsDarwin's older siblings", he means "older than our kids". I'm still the oldest sibling in my family, and no one better forget it.

Barb said...

And when you turn 40, then 50,etc., they definitely won't let you forget it...

Kate said...

It's funny, but I think my husband and I have had a lot to learn because our idea of what family life IS were based on our experiences as younger children in large families. It never occurred to me how different a family is when it only has one or two small children. When I had one 2 yo I was driven to distraction by the need to entertain him all day long.

I learned a lot about parenting from watching my parents, but by the time I came along (the 5th of 7 children) they were well past sitting on the floor playing. :-)

So I hold on to this sense I retain of what family life can be when there are older children in the hope that someday I will be back on something like familiar ground.

JMB said...

It does go fast - our youngest is 8 and our oldest is 15. What has surprised me the most, however, is how much I enjoy my teens! I never thought that my mother really liked us when we were teens (I am the 2nd of 8), and so I kind of assumed that I would harbor the same feelings. Looking back, I can see how hard it must have been for her to have older teens and babies and toddlers in the same house. She most likely never slept for a few years. Age does bring a new perspective.