January 17, 2003 - Friday
We, not the four of us but the two of us, are in Montreal, where we spent the morning wandering the streets and underground walkways browsing through stores and buying ice skates and the early afternoon skating on the frozen side waters of the St. Lawrence and visiting the artisan shops of the Old city. Before dinner, relaxing in a Jacuzzi with a glass of port wine, and I couldn't help thinking that in some very real way this is the life that the we consciously decided to give up those roughly four years ago before Harry. Today, we spend more than $1,000 each month just on daycare for the boys and that would surely pay for many a fine weekend getaway for a couple in love. Instead, we stay at home and think of ways to entertain, distract, or simply deal with the constant presence of two young children. Is that a fair trade? Is there love and joy enough from these essentially selfish little people to make up for port, fine French-Canadian food, and the freedom to follow our own fancies? Today is not the first time I've mused about being virtual victims of biology.
Of course, those are not fair questions, although it's a little difficult sometimes to see how. I guess it's because they are slanted so heavily toward the here and now and short term and ignore lifelong relationships and bonds built over time. As much as there are negatives with raising two kids, and there are negatives, I don't really think there's very much that's happened since Harry was born that, however annoying in the short term, didn't ultimately feel like part of the bargain. And, while on any given weekend it's easy to say there's something else for two adults to be doing, perhaps the simple fact that I've been writing this way for more than three years is evidence enough that the process of raising, and loving, and teaching, and guiding, and befriending two boys is a fascinating, stimulating, thought-provoking, exhausting, and challenging adventure of its own. Sure, this little three day trip, made possible by Grandma and Grandpa's willingness to stay with the kids, is a more than welcome, and perhaps long overdue, distraction of our own. And, for our own adult well-being, one we should probably do again, and regularly. But, there's no going back and, even with the all of the turbulence, troubles, and lost personal time that raising two small boys includes, no desire to.