“We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.” Helen Keller
I have NO idea if the birth rate in this country is declining due to the high costs associated with raising a child, or if Americans are clinically depressed. I do know about joy.
I DO know that when one of my children is merely breathing in my presence, I am joyful. The joy that I feel is almost painful to me. When a person chooses to become a parent, they do it in part because they want to feel the joy. I don’t think the word joy really describes it. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there is a word that could ever come close to describing the unbelievable complex and powerful feelings a parent experiences. A word? A sentence? How about a paragraph? O.K., two paragraphs. Still not enough? Infinity times two of words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, books, and volumes provide the capacity necessary to contain this ….joy. Joy. It’s such a small part of what it feels like to be a parent.
I DO know that I’m also afraid. I’m afraid that even with my heaps of education, careful planning and legendary cheap-ness, it is still difficult to provide the basic necessities for my children. I do know that it IS important to consider the practical realities and things that we can explain and describe with simple words when deciding if and when to start or grow a family.
I have an abundance of joy. I can’t feed or clothe my children with joy. I have yet to meet a joyful child who doesn’t have their basic needs met. It’s hard to smile and leap around joyfully when you are hungry, cold or sick and uncomfortable because your parents cannot afford to take you to the doctor. I am less joyful when medical bills make it so that my kid has to go another pay period with a hole in his shoe because we just do not have the joy, I MEAN MONEY, to buy him a new pair. It tends to suck some of the joy out of being a parent.
Notice that I said SOME of the joy. It’s not black and white, all of nothing, us against them. Of course this leads me back to joy. Becoming a parent requires a person to be patient and brave. As Helen Keller so eloquently stated, these characteristics are not developed as a result of bathing in bliss. It’s just not that simple, is it? We must choose to be responsible for our own decisions and willing to accept the consequences of our choices, but this does NOT mean that there is only one right decision or choice. Does it?
So in the future, I’m going to take a cue from Michel de Montaigne and hang with the peasants who, “haven’t been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly,” because as he always says, “Que sais je? “
I KNOW, RIGHT? Joy doesn’t even begin to describe this. http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/1176351370001/recession-causing-family-size-to-shrink/?playlist_id=87185