Sunday, November 16, 2008

Isolation

It's a kid's world. Maybe I feel like that because I belong to the childless minority.

I have always been a minority, it seems. But I cannot get used to it. This year is tougher as motherhood continues to elude me.

We attended an early Christmas Party at a colleague's big, new house. There were tons of food (of course), bored spouses and jolly kids. It is a perennial occurrence and my feeling of strangeness persists. Well, aside from feeling awkward and clumsy because I always forget that the kids are the first ones to be served (duh?) and get the first option to choose where they sit which means lucky for us if we find a comfortable place to eat our dinner, most of the conversation were about these children as if they don't get enough recognition. It is perhaps an American way. Nothing wrong with that except that we, the childless minority, were left with this uncomfortable feeling that we don't belong in that gathering. We tried to penetrate their world but it seems like trekking a one-way road and you're going the opposite way. My husband, who is normally quiet and funny, tried his best to deliver his one-liners to no avail. Conversation which jumped from one topic to another without resolving the previous ones were repeatedly interrupted by the children's thumps and holler. After eating and house tour, there was nothing to do but go home. However, children continue to have fun playing and watching a movie. Men (except for my hubby who stayed by my side the whole evening, thank God!) were watching college football game in which the home team was losing terribly. We felt relieved getting out of that predicament. We are once again in our own childless world. "They need a karaoke there," I jokingly told my husband while driving home.

It is always like that each year. I don't even know why we bother to attend. I don't think our absence or presence will make any difference. It occurs to me that we will always find ourselves in that predicament if we stay childless. We will be an outcast for another 20 years in our own age group-- second citizens whom many people will probably feel sorry for. Our life will be treated as less important compared to those with children. The future will stop with us but those with children will continue to exist.

I don't really feel sorry for myself and my husband. I see it like this -- we are given time to know ourselves as an individual and as a couple and to pursue more interests. I am starting to learn how to knit and my husband is getting another degree. Most important of all, we are more appreciative of each other's presence.

5 comments:

Makis said...

Hi Loraine! I can clearly imagine how that night went on. Three weeks ago, we went to a friend's house to see their new baby. For 4 hours, the new parents, plus the second time grandparents, dazzled us with stories of magic, that is of babies. I was truly happy for my friends but I also wanted to scream, whatever you call that emotion in between :)

joanne said...

Your evening sounds painful - and I'm a mother of a two year old. I don't think I could stomach spending time with a bunch of other parents and all they'd talk about is how great their kids are, which pre-school is the best in the area, where the "mommy and me" playgroups can be found, etc... I've actually had these conversations with other mothers (who I know meant well and only wanted me to feel at home in our new area) and all my polite replies consisted of "oh, really", "good to know" and "yeah, I'll look that up". I had the itch to immediately change subjects.

I think the reason behind the conversation centering around kids at your party is not necessarily an American tradition but it is a safe subject, like talking about the weather or talking about work with other colleagues. I know when I'm at a loss to say anything else, I'll ask about their children. They're probably doing the same thing.

I hope you won't have to suffer through this again:)

ruth said...

i'm a mom of two and yes, children and parenting can so easily dominate a conversation. even between husband and wife, sometimes there comes a point where all they talk about are the kids. it is that consuming. not sure if there's anything wrong in that, but it is simply so.

i know it's difficult to imagine how life changes once kids enter the picture. perhaps the same way that i couldn't imagine life without the kids anymore...

you are NOT less important just because you don't have children. why should you be? i am not more important just because i have kids. more needy, perhaps, more vulnerable. but not more important.

malor said...

Makis, I know how you feel...

Joanne, I think you are right that it is a safe topic especially when you don't know what to talk about..Thanks for giving me another perspective.
Ruth, I think I am more needy. Anyway, I am just a melancholic person...

Thank you all for your comments. I will try to be more upbeat next time...

malor said...
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