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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What if...?

What would you be doing if you didn’t have kids?

If I had continued on the track we were on, Jorge and I would have been living in Belize operating a jungle eco guest house for years. We would have probably overcome the difficulties of drilling a good well on our property and, avoiding the inherent dangers of the area: machete-wielding Guatemalan and Salvadoran illegals, fer-de-lance snakes, tetchy marijuana farmers, gravity-propelled coconuts, been somewhat successful. He or I or both of us might have gone native at some point. I would possibly have become like most other bored, ex-pat wives down there and taken up painting and a fondness for rum, but not until after I’d volunteered a couple of seasons on the dig at Caracol. I would have a bigger stash of ancient artifacts. I would be multilingual, speaking fluent Spanish, the local Creole pidgin English, a little Kekchi Maya, and maybe some German. I might still look good in a pair of shorts and would probably still have a cigarette in my hand (and a much more gravelly voice.) The hair would still be mostly blonde though darker roots would peek out in between infrequent flights to Miami to visit family -- who were always too scared and spoiled to visit -- and shop. We might have considered selling out and moving somewhere else, somewhere more exotic, after several years of thriving tourism slowed and we tired of answering the same old guests’ questions: Twenty years...Why not?...We were looking for a palm-lined beach to string a hammock up on but instead went into the mountains, fell in love with the caves, waterfalls, and ruins, spotted a For Sale sign..., but would be stuck in a difficult real estate market with a unique property. (Essentially where we are today, real estate-wise, with kids.)

The biggest difference is that I would probably still be a church-goer. Not a devout one, just a cultural attendee. Until I had kids and began homeschooling and really studying history, I hadn’t the substantial evidence to support my nagging doubts about the incredible hypocrisy of The Church and many of its members and the authority of the Bible. We caved to the pressure from family to baptize all three girls, though to us it was an empty ceremony, and one even made it to her first communion before we finally drew the line at being hypocrites ourselves. I would not force my children to believe something I didn’t. Jorge, ever the patient non-believer, had stood silently aside until my epiphany. I had always questioned authority, but until the kids came along, I never saw the necessity of cultivating defiance and open-mindedness. I would still be a follower.

Check out the other responses at the Thinking Parents Wiki.


COD said...

Nice! My contribution is in draft form. I'm going to wait and release it on the due date, or maybe a day earlier if I don't have anything else to blog about.

Sharon said...

I loved reading this...could be our family, only our What if? is "What if we hadn't...?" We drove right on past Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras, and came to rest in Costa Rica. Part of what motivated us to actually pack up the VW Van and leave was the certain knowledge that my grandmother had sneaked our daughter off for a clandestine baptism:) 37 years and many other adventures later, we're still in Costa Rica...machete-wielding undocumented agricultores...ours are Nicaraguan, usually...and unruly boas and all.

Made my day.