July 4, 2011

Sometimes life without kids is awesome.

Infertility sucks, I admit that. But sometimes, life without children isn't necessarily always a bad thing. I figured it's a long holiday weekend for most for the 4th, so it seemed appropriate to share a vacation story to illustrate my point.

Let me tell you about the Corvette.

Back in January 2009, Larry and I took a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego. Our airfare was paid for with credit card points - roundtrip. We had friends in the major cities along the way so we didn't have to worry about hotel costs. And we even had a discount on our rental car. We we hoping to snag a Nissan 350z convertible. When we arrived at SFO, the rental car company had totally screwed up our reservation and informed us there were no convertibles on the lot.

Well... no convertibles except for the premium tier Corvettes.

This really should be the preferred mode of transport for all California road trips.

To which we said, "Um- yesplease." And because the rental car company had screwed up, we got it at the same price as what we would have paid for the 350z.

When Larry put the key in the ignition for the first time and it roared - literally roared - to life, we started laughing hysterically at the absurdity of the situation. It was a hard top convertible and our luggage (two carry-ons packed to the gills) just barely fit in the trunk when packed down with the hard top. And lucky for us, the weather forecast was glorious for the next five days.

That car was a beast. We tore up the freeways and the Pacific Coast Highway was both terrifying and beautiful at the same time, as we whipped around hairpin turns at upwards of 40 mph with hundred foot drops into the Pacific Ocean just inches from our tires. When I wasn't having height-related panic attacks, it was pretty damn incredible.

The Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Big Sur.

We took this trip just a few months before I was diagnosed. At any rate, I vividly remember turning to Larry at one point, the sun beating down on us, my hair in tangles as it caught in the wind and saying:

"I know I've been baby crazy lately, but there's no way in hell we could strap a car seat to the back of this monster." I mean, it was physically impossible: there was no back seat.

"Yeah, this is nice," Larry agreed.

While life without children can be frustrating and sad, there are other times that Larry and I really take advantage of our childless status.

Take eating, for example. We don't have to scramble to find a babysitter or load up Team Zoll #3 into the car anytime we randomly decide to go out to eat. Many of the places we go aren't exactly baby-friendly either: Marliave, Les Zygomates, B&G Oysters, Highland Kitchen, the Lyceum here in Salem... Right now we're looking forward to our reservation at Menton to celebrate Larry's new job. We rescheduled our reservation from our wedding anniversary and we've been talking about it for months.

Our insane multi-course kaiseki meal in Arima, Japan.

While it's totally possible to be a foodie at home, we love to go out to eat. Without children, not only do we have the freedom and flexibility to do so, but the extra money, to be quite honest.

Traveling is certainly easier. I can't imagine 13 days in Japan with a small child, at least not with our itinerary. We're planning another overseas trip sometime in the early fall, hopefully to the Bretagne region of France. Again - much easier to plan and do without children. (To be very honest: I have no idea how you even get a passport for an infant.)

And then there's the random things: fishing for a few hours at a stretch in Rockport or Gloucester, like I did this weekend (and got the worst sunburn of my life). Now, if we had children, it's very likely one of us would have to stay home with the little one while the other one gets to sit out overlooking the Atlantic with a bucket of bait and hours to kill.

The first fish I ever caught off Burton Island in Lake Champlain.

Or the spontaneous movie night decision, like when we saw The Trip last week (food porn galore, witty banter, but oh G-d, depressing as hell ending). If it wasn't for our need for dinner immediately following the movie, we would have stayed to see the Conan O'Brien documentary playing right after, rolling home close to midnight.

For as painful as infertility can be sometimes, it's just nice to have that freedom and flexibility as a family of two right now. That's part of how we make this journey easier for ourselves too; we take advantage of that freedom because we know things will be very different once we have children.

A lot of that freedom will be lost so we'll have to get creative to still maintain at least a smidgen of our current lifestyle. Maybe we don't get out to Marliave so much and we end up cooking a little more gourmet at home. Maybe we don't get out to the movies as much but that's what Netflix is for. And traveling with small children is more than possible, but we'll need a little time to figure it all out.

But until then, we're going to enjoy our time as us, because sometimes life without kids is awesome.

See? No room for a car seat behind us... and that's okay for now.


Sherry said...

Good for you! You are absolutely right on virtually every one of your points. THere are those that boast that traveling with children isn't hard but I think they either 1) didn't travel pre-kids or 2) are delusional. Its rough. I mean ROUGH. THere is no reading on the plane, no quiet whispers with the hubby about "what we'll do when we get there!". No dinners out where you get to leisurely enjoy your meal without 20 interruptions for bathroom breaks, more bread, 'can I sit on your lap?", picking gum off the bottom of the table.

Essentially, travel with kids is what I like to call "same shit, different location".

So soak it up. You deserve it. It IS better to do those things without kids and I AM JEALOUS.

Kelli said...

Thanks for the reminder. It's hard to look at it from the other side at times. I love your fishing pic and the last one....fantastic!

KC said...

I tell myself the same thing. Hubby and I love travel and eat out! We do have a good quality of life, while longing for chidren!

SmartOneKym said...

There are silver linings to some crappy situations, and trying to focus on those always helps me deal with the negative side of things.

That look on your face in these pictures...I can't wait to see a different version, except with a carseat in the backseat.

Heather said...

Wow! Some lovely pics and some awesome travels. Looks like you are having a great time.
Thanks for helping me focus on the postive of this situation. Have just received some difficult news today (I have a big fat cyst..).

mommyodyssey said...

Your pics on this post were awesome! :-) It looks like you guys had a blast.

Rebecca said...

You made some very good points in your blog post. We are vacationing right now but yet are trying to schedule around the vacation the fertility appointments. This may very well be my last cycle trying.

KT said...

We have not had such luck with rental car companies...but one can hope one day! :)

Mali said...

Fantastic! We're planning four weeks in Turkey and Greece in September, and there's no way we could do it (or do it in the style we are going to do it) with kids.

I'm a great believer in celebrating what is good about our life without kids, rather than bemoaning what we don't have. I hope that my blog shows this - even when I have my moments and have a good moan too!

FET Accompli said...

Looks like an amazing long weekend!!!

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Infertility did allow us to do a lot of traveling, including to countries where we would never, ever bring children (and many where we do plan to bring children, just not yet).

Getting a passport for an infant is actually quite easy (once you have the SSN, just go to the post office and show the parents' IDs and file the papers) -- easy, that is, as long as the baby will hold still during the photo. One of my twins required more than a dozen reshoots; luckily the lady at the post office was very patient.

Esperanza said...

Wow! Your first "will people hate me?" post! I'm proud of you. And you started with a zinger. I'm double proud.

This was a great post. You're right, there are many things that are so much easier and better when you don't have kids. That is why so many people are not having them until later, or not at all! These are very legitimate perks! I just went on a flight by myself with Isa and I thought, "Wow, all the times I was frustrated on a plane, I'd take the previously-considered worst flight of my life over this any day!" It was horrible. I will NEVER fly with her on my lap for longer than an hour EVER AGAIN. And I won't be able to afford to fly with her in her own seat so I guess we're not going to be traveling much. I grew up in Hong Kong and was very well traveled even before my year abroad in college. The thought that I can't travel much anymore is very sad for me.

I also miss restaurants and movie theaters. I miss going out anywhere alone with my partner. And just watching TV for a day, or a whole weekend. I miss being able to take care of myself when I'm sick or do projects around the house or drink a beer without having to wonder how I'll feel later when my daughter wants to play and I'm kinda sorta hungover.

You give up a lot of yourself when you have kids, a lot of good things about your life. I wish I had remembered and reveled in those things more when I was TTC and after my loss. I really, really do.

Thanks for writing this.

Cherish said...

Amen to that! I have moments where I think, gosh I'm glad I can do this because I don't have kids yet.

Kristin said...

I am sitting here totally filled with envy for those moments.

Amy said...

so glad you decided to write this one!! GOOD FOR YOU! Enjoy everyone of those moments--don't live a life of regret! Don't let IF rob you of that too.

justine said...

I *so* miss the kind of travel we did, pre-kids. I know there are some who do it, but I'm just not that brave. Plus I'm totally sleep deprived and incapable of making good decisions ... ;)

LOVE your happy smile in these pics!

Nicole said...

being a mom of two and close friend of yours, sometimes i look at the two of you and say...wow i wish i could sleep till 10 on the weekends, or go to Japan for two weeks, even eat out for our anniversary and go to a movie without having to hunt for a baby sitter. Life with kids is no cup of tea. But, what i have learned being a mom of two, is take your kids with you, show them the world, teach them to fish. The joy on their face will be forever engraved in your mind.

The one VK we took without the kiddos was fun, but we found ourselves saying...wow Liam would really have liked to see this.

enjoy this time now! because after baby life will change, and i think it will be for the better :)

Katie said...

Thank you for writing this. I often feel so guilty about thinking/dreaming/wondering what life must be like without kids. I imagine what it must be like to take off on a whim, travel the world, go to nice restaurants. I know it's not impossible to do those things with kids. Harder, sure, but not impossible.

For now, we are definitely enjoying life with just the two of us. Might as well, right? :)

Natalie said...

gotta love it! my dad just got a corvette - because of his kids he had to wait until he was nearly 60 to get his dream car. Now he looks for excuses to drive it - like yesterday - he had to pull it out, because what is more patriotic than a cherry red corvette.

Keep having fun, and then when the time comes, you'll get to figure out ways to have fun with your kids. It's lots of fun, but in a different, non-sports car way!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Keiko said...

Oh hi Anonymous. Bam! Deleted. Nicole IS a close friend who knows rather intimately the details of our family-building journey and I am very touched by her comment. It has really meant a lot to me, actually.

Just a reminder folks: let's keep it civil in the comments. If you say shitty things about other commenters, esp those who are in fact, IRL friends, it's the fasted way to get deleted.

gailcanoe said...

I'm glad that other women have these thoughts, too. It doesn't make us evil or horrible or anything, just human.

Chickenpig said...

Or...you can be like my lucky friends who had children easily and have parents that will come over and babysit for days at the drop of a hat.(grrr....talk about jealousy). We have recently moved closer to my mom so we have eaten out and gone to the movies more frequently recently. I have to say, though, that most of the parents of kids I know were able to travel and date fairly well until their second came along. If you have twins, forget about it, NO ONE wants to watch two babies at once.

Lifewithpurpose said...

Interesting post. You do have some freedom when you don't have children. Although when they get older it is eaiser as well. You can still go out with kids and travel you just have to get them acculmated to the environment.

Serendipitie said...

Thank you for this. Most of us are dying to procreate, and of course we will show our kids the world if the universe will just let us have them, but knowing that there is joy and hope in a world without children will keep me going though any additional heartbreak. Xoxo

Oh Diane said...

Love that Corvette!I agree with all of your points. Some things are definitely a lot easier without kids, especially eating out.

Ashley said...
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Funny Girl said...

Accidentally deleted my comment oops! Just to repeat myself, awesome post:)

jjiraffe said...

Laughing at Sherry's comment about traveling with kids: "same shit, different location".

I love the Corvette story. And those pictures of you guys eating sushi?!? YUM!!!

I wish I knew you when you came to SF. Next time, we'll have to meet and go to Sushi Ran :) I think you'd love it.

TeamBabyCEO said...

Great Post! I honestly have to say that SFO rental car places seem to make that "mistake" quite a bit-I've had Mercedes and BMWs because they were out of everything else.

And I do think that things like this are really things you don't think about when you are obsessed with getting pregnant-it happens more when you are in the situation.

Kate said...

Took me a while to read this post, because I thought it would be one of those things that you post when you're feeling down to remind yourself that it's OK to not have kids (no judgment there, that's just my brain talking)

But, I found you echoed many of the reasons childfree suits me now. It didn't sound sad at all. I like the freedom not having children affords me, even though at one point I couldn't consider this option at all.