By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
Early in the morning one holiday, I was walking to the gym when I passed one of my neighbors. She was loading rowdy kids and sundry gear into a minivan.
“Off to the gym?” she asked, grunting as she hoisted a toddler into his car seat.
“I would give anything to trade places with you.”
For a split second I paused, then replied with the only response that seemed appropriate. “I’m sorry.”
As I continued down the street, it dawned on me that for the first time in years I wasn’t feeling (a) judgmental (she was, after all, dissing her kids) or (b) wistful. So often in the past I would have thought how I would have traded anything to have precious kids of my own to play with on a holiday outing, but now, not so much. I was pretty happy with the prospect of spending my holiday taking care of myself, maybe even reading a book or taking a nap instead of having to read a book to someone else hoping he would settle down for a nap. I didn’t feel sorry for or envious of my neighbor, and I didn’t want to trade my grass for her grass. The grass was perfectly green on my side of the street.
Those of us in the U.S. are starting a three-day holiday weekend. I hope you have something fun planned for yourself—or perhaps you have perfectly nothing planned for yourself. May there at least be one moment during these next several days when you feel okay, if not thankful, that it’s a holiday just for you.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is mostly at peace with her childfree status.