The Lizard Chronicles

Some of this is true. Some of this is better. –Too Much Joy

Hawai’ian Holiday Part 1: The Mo’o Chronicles March 28, 2015

Filed under: Life tales,photography,Travel — lizardesque @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Not many things will get me out of bed at 4:15 a.m., but a flight to Hawai’i is one of them. So began our adventure. Ian and I bid farewell to our thoroughly confused cats and headed for the airport on a dark, chilly Wednesday morning. Later, during a 2.5-hour layover in Denver, we figured it was probably about time to start drinking. It was vacation after all! The bartender kept trying to coax us (and everyone else in the vicinity) into doing Jägermeister shots, but we declined in favor of a more classic breakfast drink.

Second Breakfast

Second Breakfast

Several hours later, we (and our luggage–huzzah!) arrived safely in Kona, at which time we obtained our rental car and set off to pick up Rachel and Matthew, our friends and traveling companions…at Costco, of course. They had arrived a few hours earlier and decided they would save some time by purchasing provisions for the week before we got there. As a bonus, they perplexed their taxi driver with their requested destination. Who would have thought that Kona Airport to Costco is an unusual fare?

Trunk loaded with luggage, food, wine, beer, and a giant bottle of rum, we began the long drive to Pāhala, where we would be staying for the first few nights. I required a brief vomit-prevention stop along the way (hills + winding roads + no proper meal for many hours = queasy Liz), but the voyage was otherwise uneventful. It was late, and we were all jet-lagged and travel weary, so we had no greater ambitions than to enjoy some snacks and beer on the lanai, but with our beer came the added value of unexpected education! Bottle caps from Kona Brewing Company beer are printed with Hawai’ian words and phrases so that you might satisfy both your thirst for a tasty beverage and your thirst for knowledge.

Educational Beer!

Educational Beer!

The next morning after breakfast, we took a walk over to the nearby Punalu’u black-sand beach with hopes of spotting sea turtles. Alas, there were none to be found, but it was a pretty beach.

Punalu'u Beach

Punalu’u Beach

We had a full day planned, so we didn’t linger at the beach. Ian got the car stereo communicating with his iPad so we no longer had to listen to long stretches of static interrupted by brief bursts of music as we had on the way to Pāhala. Apparently, the car was a bit ornery that day because this is how we were greeted.

Well, that's just rude!

Well, that’s just rude!

Undeterred, we headed to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. On the way there, Rachel expressed her concern that, if given the opportunity, she might have an uncontrollable urge to touch lava. I understood this perfectly, as I have suffered from numerous irrational fears (including a short-lived, but rather intense, fear of yeast) at various points in my life. Thankfully, helpful reminders regarding lava interactions were posted.

Back away from the lava, Rachel.

Back away from the lava, Rachel.

We didn’t get close enough to any lava for Rachel’s fears to be much of an issue. However, we did enjoy free (if slightly sulfur-smelling) facials at steam vents and saw lots of cool craters.

At Halema'uma'u Crater

At Halema’uma’u Crater

We left the park for a short time to visit the Volcano Winery, the southernmost winery in the U.S., where we sampled a variety of delicious wines, ate a giant cheese plate (because Rachel and I go on vacation together primarily to drink wine and eat a lot of cheese), and met a cat named Mele (who seemed completely indifferent to us). I have admit that, after taking several vacations in which wine tasting was a central component, it felt downright odd to visit just one winery without immediately continuing on to another. Of course, the only other winery in Hawai’i is on Maui, so it would have been a challenging drive.

I know where to park!

I know where to park!

We returned to the park and saw the Thurston Lava Tube, which ranks among the coolest things I have ever seen.

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

We then drove down Chain of Craters Road, passing the July 1974 lava flow (which we dubbed Ian’s Birthday Lava). For much of the drive, it was a bit difficult to believe that we were still on Earth. Relatively recent lava flows create landscapes unlike any I’ve seen before.

What planet is this again?

What planet is this again?

Lavalicious

Lavalicious

Heart-Shaped Rock

Heart-Shaped Rock

Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs

Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

Turtle Petroglyph

Turtle Petroglyph

Holei Sea Arch

Holei Sea Arch

Our adventures for the day concluded at the Volcano House, where we watched the eerie orange glow of the Halema’uma’u crater come into view as the sun went down. The view was nothing short of magical, yet we remained at a safe enough distance to prevent Rachel from impulsively running amok and touching the lava.

Lavulation

Lavulation

 

 

Wait, so those aren’t eggs? (TIPSHRMETID) January 30, 2015

Welcome to the first in what I hope will be a series of posts under the theme of things I probably should have realized much earlier than I did or TIPSHRMETID for the acronym lovers. I know there are quite a few items that fall into this category, so the real tricks will be 1) jotting them down when I think of them and 2) actually getting around to blogging about them. I’ll give it a try because I know everyone loves to read about times when other people felt very stupid (or is that just me?). Anyhow, on with it…

I was born in the 70s, a time of harvest gold kitchen appliances, shag carpeting, and colorful crocheted afghans (the latter of which are apparently now being made into pants by some people, but I digress). My mother is a crochet wizard; so, over the years, we had several afghans, but there’s one in particular that stands out in my memory (see the background of the picture below–against the burnt orange couch, just in case you needed further proof that this was, in fact, the 70s).

Try to ignore adorable me and focus on the afghan.

Try to ignore adorable me and focus on the afghan.

It was colorful. It was warm. It had a fun, bumpy texture. It didn’t even bother me that it depicted fried eggs (a food that I loathe to this day). It was my favorite. The afghan was around for several years of my childhood. Then, at some point, such things fell out of fashion, and it was put away in a closet or attic and replaced with a new, more stylish throw.

Many years later (I think I was in my late 20s or early 30s at the time), I was with my mother, doing something or other around her house, when we came across the afghan. “Oh, it’s the egg blanket!” I exclaimed. It was a little like seeing an old friend.

My mom laughed and gave me a puzzled look. “The egg blanket?”

“Yeah, you know. Fried eggs.”

She laughed again. “Those are daisies!”

I looked at the afghan, somewhat taken aback. To me, this had always been the egg blanket. It had not occurred to me that the white and yellow circles were anything else. Besides, the 70s were an esthetically weird time, and a fried egg throw sort of fit right in. “I always thought they were eggs,” I said, unsettled by the fact that, for all this time, the afghan had not been what I thought it was.

“Why would I make an afghan of fried eggs?” my mom asked.

It was a fair question. For a moment, I considered countering and asking if it made a lot more sense to make an afghan of daisies, but it was hard to deny that, in general, floral patterns are much more popular than egg patterns. I’d had tops, wallpaper, and sheets with various types of flowers on them, but I couldn’t recall any of those things depicting omelettes or huevos rancheros.

I examined the afghan again. It’s true that, for eggs, the whites seemed rather small in proportion to the centers. Also, the yellow centers lacked the slightly orange tinge seen in egg yolks. Suddenly, I felt silly for assuming they were eggs, not daisies. In my own defense, I should note that, for daisies, the yellow centers are rather large in proportion to the white petals. However, I also realize that we’re talking about something that is made of yarn, so a certain degree of realism goes out the window.

I occasionally wonder about the possibly psychological implications of my seeing eggs where most people would see daisies, but perhaps I shouldn’t over analyze this. Better to call myself a divergent thinker and move on.

 

Long Live the Mix Tape! January 7, 2015

Filed under: Life tales,Music — lizardesque @ 5:13 pm
Tags: ,

 

I worry about kids these days. I worry that parents are too lenient and indulgent and have cultivated a huge sense of entitlement in their children. I worry that the kids of today will have to deal with messes left behind by previous generations, like crippling national debt, climate change, and “islands” of trash in the oceans.

 

But mostly, I worry that today’s children will never know the joy of making a mix tape.

 

I know, I know. There’s iTunes. There’s Spotify and all of that. Making playlists is as easy as clicking a few buttons. I don’t deny that can be fun too, but it’s not the same. Even if you burn the songs to a CD and present it to someone, it just doesn’t stack up to the beloved mix tape.

 

Choosing songs was a painstaking process. Unless you timed the songs and performed the necessarily calculations (and really, who did?), you simply had to use your best guess as to what would fit on one side of a tape. Heaven forbid you’d be almost done with one side when the tape would run out part way through a song! You had to start all over again. You weren’t just making a mix tape, you were cultivating life skills: planning, patience, and persistence.

 

Then there was the recording process. You didn’t drag and drop songs into a list and press a button to create your mix tape. You had to put a blank tape and each in the series of tapes you were recording in your dual tape deck, cue up the songs, and play them all the way through to record them. You listened to your mix tape as you were creating it. It wasn’t just in your head. You experienced it as it came into being. You sat back and listened, and you made changes on the fly because it suddenly occurred to you that “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. was the perfect follow-up song to “True Faith” by New Order. It was poetic really. You may not have composed the songs themselves, but there was beauty in the way you put them together.

 

Then were the times when you didn’t own a copy of a song you wanted to include on the  tape. You had to listen to the radio, tape cued up and ready to pounce on the record button. If you were extremely lucky, you got the intro and the fade out without any overlap of the DJ’s voice.

 

When you were done and you presented your mix tape, lovingly, laboriously made, to your friend, boyfriend, or person you hoped would be your boyfriend (or even if you just kept it to enjoy yourself and maybe bring out at parties to impress your friends with your musical mixing prowess), it was a thing of beauty. It told a story.

When I was in school, my friends and I would get together at the end of the year and make a mix tape, Songs From Freshman Year, Songs From Sophomore Year, etc. Before we headed into summer, we bonded one last time over the shared memories, reliving the good times, the annoyances, and the heartaches as we put together our own soundtrack for that year.

 

My first serious boyfriend made me a mix tape over winter break from school and gave it to me when we were reunited. He had decorated the tape insert with elaborate drawings of flowers. Although the boyfriend is long gone, I think I still have the tape in a box somewhere (even though I don’t own a working cassette player), along with the Recovery mix a friend made to cheer me up after the boyfriend and I split.

 

Whether the mix tape was mirthful, bitter, inspirational, maudlin, joyful, schmaltzy, whimsical, or some combination thereof, it meant something. The arc of songs was a snapshot of life. It was something that just couldn’t and can’t be accomplished by hitting shuffle.

 

Image: Tdkc60cassette.jpg by GRAHAMUK CC BY-SA

 

39 Awesome Things I Did While I Was 39 October 24, 2014

Filed under: Life tales,lists — lizardesque @ 9:56 am
Tags: , ,

“Today my age is tweedle and twee. I’m prettier than I used to be.”

–Woody Guthrie

 

  1. Finally ate at Girl and the Goat
  2. Drilled pumpkins for Halloween

    Pumpkins + power tools = pretty!

    Pumpkins + power tools = pretty!

  3. Put together a pretty kickass Medusa Halloween costume
    Medusa
  4. Achieved wheel pose in yoga
  5. Saw The Fitz and the Tantrums in concert
  6. Participated in (and won) NaNoWriMo
    NaNoWriMo
  7. Completed a 365 Somethings to Smile About project
  8. Began a 365-day Doodle a Day project
  9. Sent a card to a friend to thank him for turning 40 before I did
  10. Made a set of square plate for my mother to help her overcome her fears of unconventionally shaped dinnerware
  11. Saw the Edward Gorey exhibit at the Loyola University Museum of Art
  12. Saw cherry blossoms in bloom in Philadelphia
    CherryBlossoms
  13. Celebrated my tenth wedding anniversary
  14. Went zip lining in the Redwoods

    Wheeeee!

    Wheeeee!

  15. Recreated some honeymoon photo ops on a tenth anniversary trip
    2004

    2004

    2014

    2014

  16. Fed rosemary to goats at a winery

    Nom nom nom

    Nom nom nom

  17. Rode the Napa Valley Wine Train
  18. Tried (and liked) garlic ice cream

    Mmmmm...garlic!

    Mmmmm…garlic!

  19. Biked across the Golden Gate Bridge

    After biking across the bridge

    After biking across the bridge

  20. Visited Coit Tower

    Inside Coit Tower

    Inside Coit Tower

  21. Broke the 200-post mark on this blog
  22. Began working as a volunteer editor for a literary journal
  23. Watched The Princess Bride in a forest preserve
  24. Saw The Machine Inside exhibit at the Field Museum
  25. Saw the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit at the Field Museum
  26. Wrote a haiku for every day in July
  27. Took and pressed some ivy leaves from the house I grew up in before my parents closed on it
  28. Averted a bloody mary emergency by visiting a combination hardware and liquor store
  29. Went to Jazzin’ at the Shedd
  30. Attended a Mustache Bash (and won a major award)

    I won the "Name that Mustache" contest

    I won the “Name that Mustache” contest

  31. Coped with the stress of a horrible week by dancing in my living room until I was too tired to be stressed
  32. Completed the ALS ice bucket challenge…while wearing a tiara (because I’m fancy)
  33. Experimented with typewriter art
  34. Finally finished my button dress

    I didn't make the dress, but I did make it buttonful

    I didn’t make the dress, but I did make it buttonful

  35. Completed year 1 of a 5-year Q&A project
  36. Saw interactive disco Shakespeare theater
  37. Visited the World’s Smallest Museum

    I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

    Slightly smaller than the Louvre

  38. Swung and spun on glowing swings

    LizSwing

    Swings were not this cool when I was a kid!

  39. Went to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute

 

 

Boston or Bust Part 2: Days That Begin With a Ride From Vision-Impaired Troglodyte Taxi Driver Can Actually Turn Out OK! September 24, 2014

The morning after my interactive disco Shakespeare adventure with my brother, I checked out of my hotel and caught a taxi to take me to his apartment, where I would spend my last night of the trip. Upon getting in the cab, I was immediately struck by the fact that my driver was a woman in perhaps her mid/late sixties. It’s not that this is a problem, it’s simply unusual. At first, I thought it was unusual in an awesome way–good for her! Also, there was something comforting at the thought of possibly getting a ride from someone’s grandmother. Perhaps there would be cookies.

I told the driver the address, and some confusion ensued. As it happens, there is a street by the same name in Boston, and it is near Cambridge Street. The driver asked if I was sure of the address since she didn’t know a street by that name in Cambridge. I told her I was certain.

“OK, I’m going to have to look it up,” she said as she picked up a large book and began to flip through it, repeating the street name to herself. “Ah, here it is,” she said and then handed the book back to me. “Can you read what it says there?”

Bewildered, I took the book from her. “My glasses are on the floor somewhere,” she said.

I read the text to her and handed the book back, assuring myself that plenty of people had problems reading small print but could see just fine for driving. She flipped through the pages again. This time when she landed on the page she was seeking, she produced a large magnifying glass to read the entry. “OK, got it,” she said and discarded the book. She then told me that, since she was not sure of the fastest way to get there, she would charge me a flat rate for the trip.

That seemed fair, so I settled back into my seat as she commenced with the usual cab driver chit-chat. When she got around to asking what brought me to Boston, I told her I’d come for a conference but was staying a bit extra to visit my brother. “Oh, was it that neurology conference that was just in town?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh, well, I’ve got something for ya. It’s not exactly neurology, but…did you hear that there was another beheading?”

I hadn’t had time to keep on top of news during the preceding days, but I figured she was referring to another in a string of beheadings of journalists by ISIS. I briefly considered the odd train of thought that led her from neurology to decapitation, but I didn’t dwell on it. “No,” I said. “That’s awful.”

What followed was a tirade against Muslims and how, in her opinion, they should not be allowed in this country. At first, I tried to argue, saying that a small number of people doing horrible things in the name of Islam did not mean that all Muslims were bad, but it quickly became clear that I was wasting my breath. She continued to spew her hate speech, and I clenched my teeth and waited for the ride to be over.

Several minutes later, her diatribe ended when she announced that I would have to help her look for address numbers, as she suspected we were nearing an intersection where we needed to turn right.

This, combined with her previously revealed vision problems, made me suspect that perhaps she should not be driving a vehicle for a living, but I told her the first address number I spotted so that she could, hopefully, pay attention to traffic. “Oh, OK, I know where we are. Not far.” She motioned ahead and to the right. “There’s a resale shop up here. You can donate clothes and stuff, and they sell it. They give all the money to AIDS research.”

I cringed, fully expecting that this announcement would be a precursor to rant against another group of people she did not like. Thankfully, I was wrong, and she instead began to ramble about how another resale shop she had donated items to had mishandled her shoes, putting them into a large, jumbled pile. Really, the nerve of people.

We made the right turn, “I think your street is down a ways,” she said.

At the same time, I looked up and, almost immediately saw the name of street where my brother lives, “No, it’s right here!” I said, and the cab stopped abruptly.

“Geez, how did you see that?” she marveled.

Oh, I don’t know…I am sighted! I thought, as she answered her own question. “It must look familiar from last time.”

“Right,” I said, handing her payment, just relieved that the ride was over. I got out of the taxi and went to the back to retrieve my luggage, but instead of getting out to the car to assist me or at least popping the trunk open, she began to drive away. “Hey!” I screamed and pounded on the back of the cab as I chased it a few feet down the street.

The cab stopped again, and the driver got out. “Oops. Sorry about that,” she said, making a motion as she was going to help me with my bags.

“I got it,” I said, quickly grabbed my luggage, and closed the trunk.

I’ve had some unpleasant cab rides before, but damn.

I figured the day had to get better from there, and I was right. I reunited with my brother and before long, we took off on our first excursion of the day: a visit to the World’s Smallest Museum in Sommerville.

I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

I only wish I had time to see the entire thing!

Of course, that didn’t take up too much time, so we stopped for lunch at the nearby Independent. As we ate and chatted, it occurred to me that Chris and I had not spent much time alone together in a very long while, and it was nice. It was also striking how many of our conversations began with, “Do you remember…”

We occupied most of the day with reminiscing, drinking my favorite blueberry beer, and strolling around town.

Selfie by the river

Selfie by the river

Around dusk, we headed to the Lawn on D for fun with glowing oval swings, enjoying a lovely sunset along the way.

Sunset

Swings weren't this cool when I was a kid.

Swings weren’t this cool when I was a kid.

I like the way it makes his socks glow.

I like the way it makes his socks glow.

It was dizzying but awesome. We followed that up with more conversation and cocktails at Drink and a late dinner at Veggie Galaxy. As the thoroughly enjoyable day (well, except for the bit with the awful taxi driver) came to a close, I found myself wishing I’d extended my trip just a little bit longer and vowed not to let so much time elapse before my next visit.

 

Boston or Bust Part 1: Luggage Envy, Velociraptors, Chupacabras, and Disco Shakespeare September 20, 2014

I recently traveled to Boston to cover the joint ACTRIMS-ECTRIMS meeting for my job. My originally scheduled flight was cancelled due to the anticipation of bad weather, but that was fine with me since it meant I didn’t have to get up at OMG-early-thirty to get to the airport on time. I was rebooked on an early afternoon flight, and, upon receiving my boarding pass, I was completely unsurprised to be in boarding group 18 of 4. I invariably find myself in the last possible boarding group, as if the powers that be are planning to let me on the plane only when everyone else is not only seated but has been served a round of cocktails and is napping comfortably. I miss the good old days when planes were boarded from the back to the front, as I also always seem to get a seat in the back of the plane. This time was no exception. Of course, the overhead space near my seat had been full for roughly a decade before I arrived. A flight attended told me she’d figure something out and instructed me to wait in the area at the end of the aisle. After several minutes, it became apparent that said flight attendant had forgotten about me, and a second attendant inquired as to why I was standing around at the back of the plane with my bag.

“The other woman told me to stand here and wait, but then she disappeared.”

Second flight attendant told me she would look into it and scurried off. Not too much later, first flight attendant reappeared and motioned for me to come forward. They had found a spot for my bag in first class. I found myself slightly jealous of my bag’s luxe accommodations as I hoisted it into the overhead bin and shuffled back to my seat in coach.

The flight was uneventful, and for the next few days, I spent most of my time on conference coverage. I’ll spare you the details and just mention a few highlights.

  • When I work long hours, my mind sometimes plays tricks on me (I think, to provide some comic relief). It is times like these, when I see T-cell receptor vaccination on the screen in front of me and my brain somehow changes that to velociraptors. I’m guessing that it would be pretty hard to get IRB approval for a trial of velociraptors as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, but the very idea was good for a laugh.
  • I’m not sure which excites me more, free lip balm or free cookies. It probably depends on which I have a greater need for at the time, lip moisture or a sugar bump. Anyhow, both are appreciated and often available at conference exhibits.
  • My team and I completed our work before midnight on two out of three nights. OK, it wasn’t much before midnight, but still, this is precedence breaking!
  • The room service menu at my hotel offered this on the children’s menu (which I sometimes peruse for in search of meat-free options). Somehow, I managed to resist the lure of the souvenir hippo, but, let me tell you, it was not easy.

GelatoHippo

By mid-afternoon on Saturday, I was done with conference coverage, and it was time to prepare for a bit of fun time in Boston, which included a brief shopping trip for emergency tights. The weather was much cooler than I had anticipated, and I knew I would be chilly wearing only the dress that I had brought for Saturday night. I needed tights and a scarf or wrap. The irony here is, not only do I own about a metric ton of tights and boatload of scarves and wraps (all of which were at home), but also, I usually over-pack for every trip I take, ensuring that I have many options and am fully prepared for unanticipated meteorologic phenomena. I’m not sure why I neglected to bring tights or a wrap, but I was able to properly equip myself with a quick trip to Marshalls.

My brother Chris, who lives in Cambridge, met me at my hotel, and we had a drink at the bar before heading out to dinner at The Gallows, where my friend Jenny also joined us. I liked The Gallows from the moment I walked in and saw this on one of the walls.

Ouija

I was also highly amused to see this on the menu.

BoonesI was somewhat aghast at the price, though. I’m not sure what Boones costs at the supermarket these days, but when I was in college (which was, I admit, a shockingly long time ago), it cost about $2.50 per bottle. But then again, how can you really put a price on an experience that is like licking a unicorn?

As tempting as it was to drink in some college nostalgia, I opted instead to order a drink called the chupacabra. I really enjoy saying the word chupacabra, so I’m pretty pleased any time I can easily work it into conversation. It was also a delicious drink. The Gallows menu also offered something I don’t recall ever having seen before: vegetarian poutine. I’d never tried poutine before, mainly because of the paucity of vegetarian versions, but also because it always sounded to me like something that could be really good, bad-for-me comfort food but also had the potential to go very wrong and be a soggy, repulsive mess. The vegetarian poutine at The Gallows, however, was great.

After dinner, Chris and I headed to the American Repertory Theater to see The Donkey Show, which I can only describe as an interactive, glittery, disco-dancing, Shakespeare extravaganza. Not once, but twice, during the show, my brother was pulled up on a platform to dance with a chorus dancer, and I couldn’t help but think that this will be a cherished family memory for years to come.

 

The Road Not Taken August 1, 2014

Not long ago, I visited my doctor for a routine checkup. I was seeing this particular doctor for the first time (the one I had been seeing previously had left the practice). As we discussed my health and history, the conversation turned to contraception. “You have not had children, correct?” she said, glancing down at my file.

“That’s right.”

“Is having kids something you want to do in the future?” she asked.

I couldn’t help but brace myself before I even answered. I had heard all the retorts so many times. Really? Why not? Oh, you’ll change your mind. But you’d make such a good mom! I’ve come to expect some sort of argument or downright dismissal of my lack of desire for offspring. To be fair, I have always been open to the idea that I might reconsider and want kids some day. After all, you can only be told that you’ll change your mind so many times before you start to think that you will, or at least concede that it’s within the realm of possibility. Never say never, but probably not has been my stance on my own procreation for some time now.

But back to the doctor’s office…

“No,” I said, steeling myself for the barrage that was sure to follow.

“Okay, that’s cool,” my doctor said. “I only ask because if kids were something you definitely wanted in the future, I would advise you to think about trying sooner rather than later. But that’s not an issue if you don’t want children. So, no worries.”

It’s difficult to describe what I felt in that moment. Gratitude, for one thing. I was thankful my new doctor was so cool about this. There was no pressure. She just wanted to know where my head was and be sure I was medically informed. Then I was annoyed that I was grateful. I had become so accustomed to people challenging me on what I think is one of the most important and personal decisions a person can make that I was practically jubilant when my statement went uncontested. There wasn’t even a tone in my doctor’s voice that suggested incredulity, no gestures to imply that, although this was my decision, I would surely regret it. I was irritated at how surprised I was that she would simply accept my answer so matter-of-factly and move on. On one hand, I was happy. I liked this new doctor, but I was annoyed that this attitude of hers should necessarily be so refreshing.

There was something else in the mélange of emotions I was feeling, something unexpected and hard to explain. Was it sadness? Disappointment? No, neither of those adequately describe the feeling, although they were somewhere in the vicinity. It was that bittersweet sensation we humans sometimes get when we make choices. Even if we are confident the choices we are making are the best ones for us, there is no denying the fact that opening one door usually means that another stays shut. In a way, we mourn the loss of the option. It’s not regret. It’s simply acknowledgment of fleeting thoughts about what might have been if we had chosen differently.

I’ve heard parents express similar feelings shortly after having a child. It’s not that they don’t love their child or that they would choose a different path if they somehow could. There’s just a moment of pause when it all hits—there is no going back. The option of not being a parent is officially off the table.

For those of us who choose to be childfree, usually, there is not one single, well-defined moment when the option of having a child is taken away. Instead, it fades gradually, such that, most of the time we don’t even notice unless something calls our attention to it. It’s not an option we’re interested in exercising, so we don’t pay much mind when it becomes more and more of a remote possibility.

Perhaps all of this is really my apprehension about getting older rearing its head as I edge closer to forty. That’s probably part of it, but there’s more to it than that. The fact is that there will be no resounding gavel bang to mark the end of my potential childbearing years, but the conversation at the doctor’s office that day was a warning shot of sorts. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to the fact that my choice would not be a choice forever, and suddenly, it felt more real.

Don’t get me wrong, I did not abruptly change my mind and want to have a baby. I’m still confident that motherhood is not for me. In fact, for a moment, I almost felt as if I shouldn’t allow myself to acknowledge this strange emotion I was feeling, as if permitting any room for such thoughts would give way too much satisfaction to all those who told me I would one day regret my decision to be childfree. Ultimately, though, that’s wrong. I can grieve the loss of a choice. I can mourn the fact that I cannot have things both ways. Opting for one road means leaving the other unexplored. Both paths may have their own beauty, and likely, their own pitfalls, but I can only choose one.

By the way, happy International Childfree Day.

Photo on 2010-07-21 at 13.18 #2

 

 
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