I absolutely adore kids.
But at this point in my life, I am extremely content to adore them from a safe and reasonable distance.
My partner and I have had the "children" talk several times, but we've always come to the same conclusion; although we're both older than our parents were when they brought us into this world and we're both fairly certain that we'd like to have kids at some point down the road, we are definitely not ready for the huge responsibility that comes with the pitter-patter of little feet.
It feels a little strange to admit this -- when my best friend told me that she and her husband were expecting their first child, I felt a huge rush of confusing, bittersweet emotion. Of course I was happy for them - a baby was something that they very much wanted and I knew that the two of them would be wonderful parents. But I was also a little bit jealous; this kiddo was going to dominate their lives for the foreseeable future. I realized that it wouldn't be long before I began to mourn the carefree days of fun that we shared.
This pregnancy, to me, felt like the end of an era. Our unfettered lives featuring unforgettable road trips, eardrum-crushing rock shows and hazy long weekends at the cottage appeared to be screeching to a halt.
I was pleased to discover that fun doesn't necessarily have to stop dead in its tracks once childrearing begins. Once the baby had settled into something resembling a routine and was old enough to be left with a sitter, my friends and I could still sneak in the odd movie night, girls' night out (or in) and even the occasional rock show.
But a completely unexpected side effect of my friends having kids is that I am having as much fun in the presence of their offspring than I have when it's just the grown-ups hanging out. Never have picnics and Frisbee in the park been so energetic and hilarious! Long weekends at the cottage are a little more hectic and a little less drunken, but watching the little ones splash around in their water wings is always a highlight. Even the all-ages dinner parties we throw are way more fun than any we'd ever hosted in the past (although clean-up is a little more intensive these days than it ever was before....).
As I said, I absolutely adore kids. Those kids belonging to my friends, most of all. To them, everything I do, say and sing is amazing. And my partner and I are as enthralled by them as they are by their honourary aunt and uncle.
But the moment when fun turns into fussing, crying, squealing or sagging diapers, I give the little one a kiss on the head and immediately pass them back to mom and dad before promptly heading to a classy hotel bar for a well-deserved glass of pinot noir.
We're happy to be sharing in the best of both worlds, for now.