Guest Post by Ed Lin
My wife Cindy and I hadn't planned to have kids, not before we were married, not in the years after.
We weren't hardcore against it, just not as pumped to procreate as you should be if that's what you want. We had a great punchline whenever we were on a plane or in line somewhere and a baby somewhere began to scream: Let's have kids!
We already had full lives. We were both working dayjobs. I was also writing books while she was also acting on stage, television and film. Our free time outside of these activities was spent supporting our artist friends, seeing their readings, plays and (at times questionable) performance art.
Things began to change, though, as we found ourselves on the deep end of our 30s. Our friends were having kids, staying home and being squares. That shrank our social circle but we were still as busy as a childless couple could be. Cindy landed a major film role and ended up quitting her dayjob — no more sneaking out to auditions for her. After that, her acting gigs only ramped up. I landed a contract with a major publisher to write what turned out to be a mystery series set in New York's Chinatown in the 70s.
Our schedules conflicted and she would miss my readings and I would miss hers. You know you're making it when you miss each other's events, we remarked with wonder. We tried to carve out time for friends when possible, though.
One overdue appointment was to go out to New Jersey to see friends who had undertaken the Herculean task of having two kids. Two! It seemed like they had had the first one five seconds ago. Time, for us, wasn't going by quickly, necessarily. It's just that as adults we weren't subject to the same calendar events that people with kids are. We didn't notice back-to-school sales, snow days or summer-camp enrollments. Disregarding the months, New York City has two seasons, really. For us, the weather got cold and then it got warmer, and the subway sucked on the weekends, year in and year out.
Jersey is not even an hour away but it is a different world. I remember that we were thoroughly charmed by the house that our Jersey friends lived in. They had a dog that would freak out if it heard a photo click so you had to mute the phone to take its picture. But their kids! They were two little girls, I guess aged five and seven. They put on a magic show that was the funniest thing I'd seen in years. I laughed at the younger daughter for not being able to palm a card correctly and she burst into tears. I felt horrible about it and still do. I'd pay for her college if I could.
On the train ride back into the city I began to wonder what it would be like to live with children that were inexhaustible and happy.