About this Blog

After banging my head in frustration over the obsession everyone around me had with procreation, I went online to find a community of people who were more like me. I have met some fascinating people along the way, but I have also found that many in the childfree community are quite hostile toward Christianity and a Christian world view. I understand that, unfortunately, many of my Christian sisters and brothers have given them a lot of ammunition (undoubtedly, I have been guilty of this at times too). Not wanting to be perceived as "trolling" for expressing my Christian perspective on other people's forums and blogs, I use my own blog to share my musings on childfree life while at the same time expressing my faith.

My intention is to show support to childfree people, both Christian and non-Christian, but from my own Christian perspective. Questions and constructive comments are welcome; negativity and intolerance are not.

Monday, June 14, 2010

These Are My “Kids”

While grading papers in my office one day, I became extremely discouraged, feeling that my students had not learned a single thing this semester and that I was completely ineffective as a teacher. I left my office to attend a student award ceremony, and it was there that I ran into “Jim.”

A couple of springs ago, Jim was a student of mine, though about five to ten years my senior. He was a very slow learner and struggled immensely in my Level 0 (developmental / pre-college-level) class, but he had this inspiring tenacity -- perfect attendance, regular tutoring at the learning center (he would come to class with pages and pages of work that he had done with this tutor), always asking questions in class, reworking his online assignments over and over until he scored 100% on every one of them, and so on. Still, it was clear he would not be able to pass the course. He gave the course a second try with me in the fall semester, working as hard as ever, and managed to pull through with a solid C. His progress was clear and he undoubtedly deserved to move on from this course, but when I saw some of the kinds of mistakes he was making, I had concerns about how he would pass the next course, Level 1, which was also developmental.

Not surprisingly to me, he did fail Level 1, though he worked just as hard for that instructor as he had worked for me. He came to me at the end of the school year and said, “I understand you are teaching this class during the summer. May I sit in on it?” And so he did. Despite that he was not enrolled and was therefore earning no credit for the summer course, he attended nearly every session -- two nights a week for three hours a night for six weeks -- taking notes, working in small groups with the other students, asking questions, doing the homework, etc. While I worked with him, I was thrilled to see the progress he had made since he left my Level 0 class. It was slow going, but I could see that he had the ability to pass Level 1…at least eventually. He gave Level 1 another try the following semester, and he made it through. He could finally enroll in a college level course.

So there I was at the student award ceremony when I heard Jim, “Professor, professor! I have tried to catch you in your office so that I could show you my mid-term grades. I’m getting an A in my college level course!” I felt myself tearing up a little as I congratulated him and told him that I knew he could do it. I thought, Students like Jim -- these are my kids -- these are the reason I do this job.

Related: True Confessions, #4

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You’ll Never Hear Me Complain

Anyone who is friends with a parent has probably at least occasionally found herself stuck in the middle of a conversation about potty-training, about children vomiting in their bed in the middle of the night, about the embarrassing thing Johnny said in public, etc. Anyone who is facebook friends with a parent is probably inundated with inappropriate newsfeed items containing hour-by-hour updates on potty training, gory details of a child’s illness (what he has, how often he has vomited), or complaints about how difficult life is with children.

If you dare call these folks out on their overshare or their complaints, you will likely be admonished with the all-knowing, “Just wait until you have kids,” or, “You wouldn’t understand unless you had children of your own.” Well, you know what? In the years I have worked at the animal shelter, fostered cats, kittens, and dogs in my home, and raised animals of my own, I have been pooped on, peed on, diarrhea-ed on, drooled on, barfed on, sneezed on, pussed on, snotted on, had earmite waste shaken all over me while cleaning ears, had upset cats “express” their anal glands at me, been bitten by fleas, scratched, nipped, and covered in filthy pawprints, just to name a few things.

I have dealt with coccidia, other intestinal parasites, fleas, lice, mange, ear mites, upper respiratory infections, coronaviruses, eye infections. I have administered countless medications in various forms. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to give a cat a pill? I have spread antibiotic ointment on pus-covered, oozing incisions. I have cleaned infected puncture wounds. I have had to syringe-feed kittens who were too sick or too young to eat on their own, stick my fingers in kitty mouths to force-feed nutritional supplements, and get up in the middle of the night to attend to animals in distress.

I have picked goobers out of eyes and noses, clipped the toenails of flailing felines, and cleaned dried feces out of many an animal’s fur.

And through all this, I never complain. When I pulled a roundworm out of my foster kitten’s rear end, did I feel the need to tell all of facebook about it? When I stepped on a hairball that was left on the rug, did I complain about it in your newsfeed? When Fluffy barged into my bathroom and accidentally jumped into the toilet before I could flush it, did I race to the computer to tell everyone the story? When I scrubbed diarrhea off the wall, did I post a status update telling everyone how hard it is to take care of sick kittens?

No one hears about the drudgery of me scooping litterboxes, picking vomit out of the carpet, breaking up cat fights, or trying to silence cat noises at 4am, because you know what? I don’t mind it. All of the hard work, all of the grossness, I take it in stride. Sometimes what I do is quite gag-worthy, but I love taking care of animals. I have come to believe that I love my animals and enjoy caring for them more than most parents love and enjoy caring for their children.

Now I know what you’re thinking… “But animals don’t keep you up all night long for days on end,” or, “Animals don’t talk back,” or, “Animals are far less stressful to raise than children,” or, “Animals express greater appreciation for what you do than a child will,” or, “Kittens are much easier to toilet train.” Eh, maybe, maybe not. I certainly won’t argue with anyone who implies that animals are much more wonderful than children. But even so, whatever gross thing that a parent has to complain about, I have probably dealt with something grosser. And you’ll never hear me complain.