I'm touched that you've noticed my absence. I'll explain the goings on of the last couple weeks in another post.
So you want to know how the big family weekend at the waterpark hotel was? In a word: Claustrophobic. 16 of us in a hotel suite designed for a maximum of 15 people. And let's not forget the nephew's birthday party, when we stuffed over 20 in only one of the rooms. Yeah, big giant fun.
I will say this: the waterpark itself was a lot more fun than we anticipated. Free from the ball and chain that is a child who wants to stay in the kiddie pool and cannot go on the really fun rides, we were able to explore, to go in the deep end of the wave pool without a child tethered to us, if only by our eyes. We could go down the big giant waterslides, the scary ones, and hide in the blessed "Adults Only" whirlpool. That part was great.
The kidcenticity of the room itself was really more awful than I would have imagined. It was all anyone talked about. Oh, unless they were talking about puppies. Kids and puppies, kids and puppies, while my husband and I sat awkwardly quiet, except for reiterating that a dog just wouldn't fit our lifestyle.
Most of the comments about "when you have your own" fell on the usual awkward giggles. I took the advice of a few lovely commenters on the last post and just let the silence lag, and it said more than we could have said with words. By the end of the weekend, the tone had changed.
The most notable change was when commentary was made about the gift we got for nephew Hayden, the gift that enthralled the boys much more than the blippy buzzy toys, even more than the Nintendo DS games:
That's right, folks, 2-feet wide of big, bouncy blue ball.
I thought the boys' parents were going to kill us. It was AWESOME.
But after a day and a half of awkward silence, their father said "don't worry, you'll have your turn…" and then he paused. "At least we hope you'll have your turn."
This was a big turning point, as minor as it sounds. The addition of an "if"-type statement is a big deal, acknowledging the possiblity that we might not have kids.
The "coming clean" did happen, however, in the form of an awkward conversation with the newest of my sisters-in-law, recently married into the brood. She and I were in the room we shared with each other and our husbands, and an Egyptology documentary was on. We both expressed a wish to visit the Pyramids someday, and she said she wanted to visit the Great Wall of China before she starts a family, but her husband wanted to get started pumping out kids right away. I mentioned a group trip some friends are planning to China in 2009.
"Are you guys going to wait to have kids until after that?" she asked, and I paused. I told her the standard "kids aren't really on the map right now" answer, but added, "and I don't think at this point they will be." I have decided not to rule out the possibility entirely with the family, but it was out there. And then it got weird. And I kept talking. I don't know why.
She said she understood, but "at least you're not one of those couples who like discussed this before you got married and totally are against having children." I couldn't bring myself to say "actually, that's what I just said. And that is what we are." We talked some more, though, and I explained that it was an uncomfortable topic with the rest of the family and she again said she understood.
I don't know how I feel about it, to be honest, but I do feel like I crossed a crucial step. She will no doubt tell her husband, who will tell his siblings. It will get around, and that's a start.
Because I finally came to the realization that the most mommy-centric of the bunch will always consider herself a better person than I am because she's a mom (she's THAT kind of mom), and she'll always treat me like I have no clue about anything because being a mom imbues you with a level of world knowledge unattainable by any other means. She will continue to passively insult me by saying the things I'll never understand until I have children. It's who she is, and I'll always dislike her for it. I'll never be truly accepted by that family, and neither will my husband, and that's okay.
I'd rather be myself than keep pretending. This will get around, and we'll see what happens with it. The seed is planted. I think that's the way this had to happen. I feel lighter.