Harley Christopher Goldsmith was born in the evening on October 1, 1981. He was big – 10 lbs 4 oz. Forget those little bitty baby clothes! He was cute and we loved him from the outset even though I don’t remember that he slept at all for at least a year. Sleep deprivation is what I think of when I see little babies which may be why I prefer older kids.
We set out to raise him in a non-sexist, non-violent environment. Christopher had dolls AND trucks. As he got older and was making every stick into a weapon I came to realize that boys really are different from girls. We finally had to arm him with a He-Man sword on his 3rd birthday so that he could defend himself when playing with his similarly armed friends.
I’ve written on the blog about Christopher before. Most of you know that he is married to Lorna and that they have 2 children and that he is currently working on a PhD at SMU in British literature.
Some of you know that he was a National Merit Scholar who, as a freshman (with a great scholarship) decided to quit college and soon after get married – at 19! He worked full time at Starbucks for 3 years before deciding to go back to college to get a degree. He worked full-time while going to school full-time and still managed to be a good husband and father. I am very proud of him!
When Chris quit school at 19 I was beside myself. We knew that the path he had chosen wasn’t the easy one, it definitely wasn’t the path we had planned for him. It was hard to be supportive when we thought he was making bad decisions. But we always loved him and let him, and then Lorna, know that we were there for them.
As it turns out, Chris chose the path that was best for him. He’s happy and doing what he loves.
At his surprise party Saturday night (planned by Lorna) I got to visit with one of Chris’s fellow grad students about having kids while in grad school. We had our two boys while Steve was working on his PhD. It was hard. Money was incredibly tight. And then there was that sleep-deprivation thing. But we were were young and (more) flexible then and the joy of having the boys more than made up for the money we didn’t have.
Among our peers, we were the nearly the only ones having kids that early. (I 25 when Chris was born and 29 when Jeff came along.) The trend was beginning then to wait to have a family and it’s a trend I understand. But what I told Chris’s friend was what I believe is true: waiting for job security, money, or a house can be a long wait and does not necessarily make child rearing easier (unless you can buy your way out of sleepless nights).
I loved having the boys around in my 30s and 40s. When the time came, Steve and I were both proud and happy to send them to college (and in Chris’s case, college and marriage). We were not quite 50 then. Now Steve and I love being together as a couple in our empty nest while we are still relatively young. Honestly, the nest feels pretty good, not empty at all.
My first thought when I said to myself “my baby is 30!” was that I must be old. Then I realized that no, I’m 55 and hope to live to be 111. I’m just beginning the second half of my life with two fine sons, two excellent daughter-in-laws, two magnificent grandchildren and a spouse who I love and who loves me. Life is definitely good. And I’m not old yet :-).
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