Those of us without biological children have to cater to our inner child in ways parents never do.
Today, I browsed a dinosaur display, licked an ice cream cone and posed for a picture squished between my dog and my Beloved on the couch because my stepson is in town, and we were indulging him. Would I do these things without him?
Author Wendy McClure says as much in her book, “The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie,” in which she recounts visiting every Laura Ingalls Wilder museum from New York state to South Dakota:
“Watching the girls with their families made me think about something else, too. I knew my decision to make this trip was in some small way informed by the fact that Chris and I had decided not to have kids. In other words, I knew if I wanted to see these places, I’d have to go for myself; I wouldn’t ever be sharing the experience with a daughter, the way Little House fans often do.”
That quote is from barely a half page of description about her childlessness, but I know from experience the reasoning behind the decision to live such a lifestyle could fill a book. (For a complete review of McClure’s “The Wilder Life,” click here to be redirected to my writing blog.)
I’m thankful I don’t have to watch “Veggie Tales” or dine on the leftovers of Happy Meals, but I also don’t get to play with Barbies or live vicariously as a 4-year-old revels in the wonder of meeting Santa. If we childless people don’t make such decisions directly, we miss catching them randomly.
It makes me grateful for the opportunity to step-parent, though I missed some of the cutest experiences of children of single-digit ages.
That double-dipped ice cream cone with a teen-ager this afternoon sure was fun, though!