Get a Dog
I remember running through a field with a very close friend years ago. Unbelievably, I was getting my ‘flow’, (that sacred running thing where you feel like you could go forever and that the world has never been more perfect, in my case, probably a state of bliss not dissimilar to the reported peacefulness of drowning and mostly to do with a lack of oxygen) while my friend shattered my dream-state and my assumption that she was living the most perfect life, by telling me of her desperate, tear-inducing longing for child number three.
My older sister was equally certain that that she had to have the third child. In both cases it wasn’t a longing to see what ‘a boy’ or ‘a girl’ version of themselves would be, as both were already blessed with a daughter and a son. It was a deep-rooted knowledge that there was another member of the family that they had to try to bring from the imagined, into the reality. Someone was waiting in the wings.
The trouble is, this unquestionable knowledge isn’t always known by both parents. Indeed, as my sister’s brilliantly acerbic Scottish husband cut it with her after she had confided that she still felt there was still another child within her, “Lucy!, there are about 150 000 possible children within you, you cannae have them all!”
My friend consoled herself with a very beautiful, very expensive, turquoise velvet bed in the sad knowledge that this bedroom focal point was safe from accidents with possets and mustard-yellow pampers. My sister continued up the career path into the Academic Publishing Director’s chair.
Of course, both are fantastically savvy and devastatingly beautiful women.
Of course, both had that third child. Both are content.
There are many women and men who do not want children at all and many who want children but find that the path to parenthood is desperately tough; denied even – but I do believe that in almost every one of us, there is an inbuilt need to nurture and I have noticed that when the days of baby-head sniffing bliss are over, when the books are closed for further entries and the ‘no vacancies’ sign has been swung from your uterus, I do believe you’ll probably get a dog.
It’s a step. It’s a pattern. We are susceptible.
You don’t want a bloody dog? You hate the idea of picking up warm crap in a sandwich bag and carrying it? Well, a lot of people probably once hated the idea of spending more on a pram than they did on their first car and the idea of sleeping on a mattress on the floor next to a vomiting toddler wasn’t likely to have been in thier Top Ten Best Moments, but a heck of a lot of us have been there.
The country is filled with parents who know they just do not have the energy for more procreation; for the Bugaboos, the Bumbos, the Growbags, the Breastpads and the sleep deprivation.
But something is missing. They are not needed so keenly, so desperately, as once they were. There is a nurturing hole. The nurturing hole reminds them that time is passing. The hole reminds them that they are passing through stages.
They know what lies at the end. The End lies at the end.
Deny the hole! Deny your mortality! But do it in a slightly easier way than having to have loads of vigorous sex again and then loads of unbroken nights resulting from your vigorous sex.
Get a dog.