There are two times when other people tell me I am lucky.
The first is when I tell them that my husband and I “trade shifts” and don’t have a full-time nanny with a British accent to rear our progeny when we are working outside the home.
The second is when I tell them that I don’t have to pay taxes because I am too pretty for all that. “You’re so lucky!” they cry, opposing finger and thumb propping up their jaws. I know, I demur, it’s just that Uncle Sam and I have an understanding, you see…when you look this good, you are considered a natural treasure, you know?
But back to the part about my good fortune in picking a mate who is willing at times to stay home with at least one of our children while I go to work. Apparently, according to many, many people, this makes me lucky. ME. And I know this. I am lucky because I like my job and it is ever so much easier to teach a 90 minute class on interactive online journalism without two little talking turnips asking if I can help them with the Netflix again. I am lucky for that.
You know who else is lucky? My kids. They get loads of facetime with their daddy who enjoys rough-housing and playing a game called “trap challenge” of which my uptight introverted ways do not really permit me to engage in readily. They have a special rapport with their father and they have a strong attachment with both parents, which I’ve heard is a valuable thing to carry through this life full of hollowness and quagmires.
Oh, one more person is lucky, though! Guess who? Wow, you’re good. It’s true, my husband is lucky to be both a father who can spend quality time with his children and also do meaningful work outside the home. He did not have a father who was able to do this with his children. My husband tells everyone that he loves his time he loves going to the gym during the day, going grocery shopping when the aisles are not blocked by the rush hour crew.
We hear you, Universe. We are aware of our good luck in this arrangement.
Even though sometimes this arrangement stinks. The part no one remembers is that when you have two parents of young children “trading shifts,” the two parents are rarely home TOGETHER. Together to have a fluid conversation, or a meal, or a hug. Or, you know. wink wink. Because you are flexing your hours in every which way, you are often working late into the night.
Trading shifts also requires that one parent is the “birthday party parent” or the “room parent” or the “family ambassador of all social gatherings” which is fine except when people do that nervous thing where they don’t know what else to ask you at the birthday party so instead of saying, “Wow, it’s GREAT to see YOU! How have YOU been?” they choose not to treat you like a whole person but only half of the whole and immediately charge into, “Heyyy, where’s your husband?” Or your wife, as the case may be. That’s annoying, isn’t it? Even though you know it’s not malintentioned. You know what I mean? You know what I mean.
This arrangement of the present is still infinitely better than the way we lived formerly in Boston where Loverpants held down 3 jobs and I had all these graduate classes and adjunct teachings and newborns to feed and toddlers to not loose in Target and–WOW, that life was cray.
What it all boils down to is that any person in this great wide world who has an even wider number of choices as to how to pursue his/her life as a parent or a pilot or a pizzamaker or a piano player or all of the above (at once!) is incredibly lucky.
To have choices makes one lucky. Also, having: an education, family supports, community resources, healthcare, and a number of well-fitting pairs of Spanx also make one especially lucky, as well. But that all is another conversation for another day.
For now, I consider myself lucky to call you a reader and friend.