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11/25/2003

Home for the holidays, my ass

If you're not an infertile person, you may not be aware that the holidays are often painful for those of us who are. And I don't mean the wrenching sight of your freshly-scrubbed children in fuzzy red pajamas painstakingly writing their poorly-spelled letters to Santa (although there's that). I don't mean the agony of ringing in yet another sparkly new year no closer to having children in my home (although there's that, too).

No, I'm speaking only of the grinding inconvenience of it all.

If you have no children, it is settled: you will be the one who travels for the holidays. You will pack your bags, ship your gifts, farm out your pets, and assume the not inconsiderable expense of heading home for the holidays, arriving gaily on someone else's doorstep brimming with merriment. Why? "Because it's easier for you."

In a sense, this is true. Logistically speaking, I suppose it is easier for me. I don't have two car seats to wrestle, five sets of mittens to tame, or one cranky two-year-old to forcibly restrain upon takeoff and landing.

And yet there is nothing especially easy about spending every winter holiday for the last 14 years in transit. There has been a single exception, and that was the Christmas Paul's mother died. Not really a warm and festive carnival of lights, that one. We weren't exactly ho-ho-hoing ourselves stupid that year.

I sputter with the injustice of it, the unexamined assumption that it's okay for me to be inconvenienced because I have no children. Insult to injury, if you ask me. (You did. You came here on purpose. Hey! Finally, someone to roast a turkey for!)

And if it's inconvenient for fertile people to travel at holidays because they've achieved their heart's desire, pour me a big steaming cup of that inconvenience, please. Make it a goddamn double.

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