Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day - it's for the Have-Nots!

I think it's really called that because all those poor Brits want to punch the hell out of the extended family they've been forced to hang out and exude holiday cheer with.Turns out, not so much. In reality, it is all about the leftovers: "The holiday's roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day. Reduced to the simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after." (snipped from Snopes)

As someone who knows a thing or two about getting the short end of the stick, I dedicate this day to all my fellow Have-Nots out there. I'm not referring to monetary matters, I'm referring to the currently childless, for any of the following reasons:
Sometimes (Hashai, Naked Ovary, Dead Bug, Incarcerated Uterus, etc), and I think most hurtfully, it is infertility. This is a tragedy in any circumstance, and I salute all the millions of brave ones out there who submit to procedures with acryonyms like ART, GIFT, and IVF. They go on regular "dates" with their local RE's and their ultrasound wands and take more self-inflicted jabs than a heroin junkie with diabetes. They are tough - they have to be, because most days they are subject to all kinds of absurdities, from within (sudden mysterious ailments of the female type) and without (random strangers in Target/on the street asking them "When are YOU gonna have a bayyyybeee already?" This ubiquitous query is often coupled with what I call the "Wombush: friends/colleages/family members do this number, generally at a most innapropriate time: "Oh! you'll NEVER guess..." or, more hurtfully, "we didn't want to hurt your feelings, so (everyone else in the immediate circle) has known for X amount of time already."

Being the Tough Cookies that they (must be) are, these ladies deal with their issues in a number of ways, including but not limited to: Repeated, sometimes sucessful trying/ARTing/IVFing/GIFTing until they get the desired result, 2) adopting one or more lovelies from... anywhere 3) Gritting their teeth and continuing (notice I didn't say moving on) with their life. Any of these is done whilst dealing with what is often called "ass-vice" - its like advice, only with an asinine twist and a jab of idiocy/venom/inane stupidity.

Other times, it is choice and/or circumstance - I'm not referring to people who are 18.5 and just got married (or not!) or anyone who falls outside the "normal" (what IS that?) demographic. I speak of those who for whatever reason, do not have children because they have chosen or decided not to do so for real, valid, good reasons. Now some of them (us) really just aren't in the mood for all the drama/bodily fluids/life changes, and I totally and completely respect them. After all, you'll never have child protection services called for leaving your pet alone for 8 hours with food and water while you go to work. Many of us have thought long and hard about what Life Would Be like if we went with our biological/societal/personal desires or pressures and, if we were fortunate, popped out or adopted a sprog or two. I personally have seen the vista, and don't think it entirely fair to bring someone into my family if they aren't all going to be 100% supportive, upbeat and encouraging/excited about it.

This is not to say that I would expect to be able to ring my mum and have her trot over and sit for me - Colorado is a bit far away for that, plus she has her own life and has already done a great job raising 3 kids. Nor do I want to malign my dear S., who really and truly thinks that we can wait 15 years and then suddenly have a tribe of six foot tall boys just spring up overnight, mushroom-style. (He thinks we, at 5'4'' and 5'9'', would spawn the next Laker team. I suck at basketball, y'all.) He also thinks that I would be on hand 24/7/365 and he would not be expected to change one.single.diaper.ever, and that he could just, "take over when they are five or so" with no objections from me. I just know that we are, and always will be, better as a "we" than a big bunch, and that is The Way Things Are. I'm not delusional/stupid/selfish enough to think that things would change if there was a miraculous, unexpected "surprise".

Despite all this Logic, Reason and Good Old "Common" Sense, I still struggle every day to put my best face forward when I get ambushed by well-intentioned (I like to think that instead of just calling them ****wits) people who pester/pepper me with queries, theries and ass-vice. Generally they do not a) listen to a word I say in answer/explanation b) care c) think I have one clue what I'm saying, because...wait for it... "I'm not a mom, so I have no idea what I'm missing." or d) tell me how "lucky" I am, I can do Anything I Want! and what a "burden/pain in the a$$ they are, and how kids "ruined their figure/goals/plans" (mom, looking at you here- you 110 pounds/still stacked little stinker, you!)

In a moment of (?) inspiration, I came up with the term "Have-Nots" last night, at a drinks party. Naturally, because it was a day ending in "day", I got Wombushed, and was the only married female sans-kid/s. Despite how often it happens, it hasn't stopped smarting...actually, the feeling is more like a deep, painful burning, similar to applying chile paste to one's eyeballs or nether regions or being punched in the solar plexus while having a heartburn episode. S and another friend of ours, we'll call him Bob, were chatting about how we don't get together often enough, because bla-bla-blah. I had stopped into the kitchen to freshen my faux-Blondie (would that be called a Pamela Anderson?) and was agreeing, yes, really we should just Get Together, and invited Bob and his lovely wife to my annual January 1 walk. I commented that I don't get a lot of calls (and then it just Popped out of my mouth) "being one of the Have-Nots, I don't get many calls for play-dates at the park." Really, why Would they ring me? As far as they know, we can't compare stretch marks, tales of nausea or sudden cravings for strange foods... and I certainly have no reason to want to visit the park, right? Wrong... and thus, A Have-Not was born.

Traditionally, a have-not (small letters) were/are those in difficult financial straights. I am a Have-Not (capitals) - but still manage to get the leftovers, just like the have-nots, in terms of time, quality of said time, and thought, in the minds of the Haves. We Have-Nots, "those of the lower classes. Gifts among equals (The Haves, calling each other for hanging out/taking the kids to XYZ) were exchanged on or before Christmas Day (Top priority) but beneficences (phone calls, emails, letters delivered via carrier pigeon) to those less fortunate (the Have-Nots) were bestowed the day after." (Almost never, or whenever they get round to it). I've hosted and attended, approximately three thousand baby showers - but I'm waiting for the day when someone says, "I've been with/married to for X years, and d****it, I deserve a ROCKING party - so please come over and bring your martini-shaker, and lets' celebrate the fact that I/we've decided that it would be better for everyone that we DO NOT have a baby. Presents are required, and should all be flammable, breakable, or hazardous children. Please, no mom jeans, haircuts or sensible shoes."

I'll R.S.V.P., be on time, bring an appetizer, dance to/with whatever music you play, and promise not to say I have to go home early - for any reason. Because I Have-Not a care in the world, natch, and 'tis Boxing Day, so beware of my deadly 1-2 combo, Wombushers!



goinggrey said...

I can relate. Thank god for NO SPROGS. Although the notion of being a stay at home dad does appeal to me. Diapers or not (which there would be I imagine) I would still rather process little baby waste than go to work everyday. Hmmm, I wonder how soon would be too soon to take the little devil out to the golf course. Oh well, I digress. Cheers to sproglessness. Happy new year lovley. May you enjoy many many more.

Meepers said...

Good... it isn't that I'm happily without them, I just think its better for us that way, y'know? Regarding golf: They took me to the beach at 3 days old - it was the end of November - and to Hawaii at 6 weeks old. I think you could manage a round of golf as long as you don't mix up the nappies and butt creme with your 9 iron.