Sometimes conversations come up about what I did before I had my kids. Last night, Ray and I were chatting with a friend who is in her mid-twenties and she asked how old I was when I had my kids.
I was in my 30s when I had both of my boys. Ray and I had been married 6 years. We'd been dating for 5 before we got married.
That's a long time to be together before children. Most people don't do that on purpose, but we did. A good chunk of that time was because we were still going to university. Once we were married, we also had job losses and gains and wanted to buy a house first. So we did.
Still, that leaves a lot of living to do before the kids came along.
I went to South Korea for about a year to teach English. It was a fun time, but also lonely and hard at times. I learned I could entertain myself, be alone, see and do things by myself, and be happy. I also learned it was more fun with someone. Ray and I had been dating for a bit less than 2 years when I left, he visited over Christmas, and then I came back to Canada and we continued our relationship.
We did a little traveling in Canada. It would have been more and further, but we also struggled financially at the time.
We bought our first car, got our first apartment together, had a roommate...and then didn't. We worked, lost jobs, and got jobs. Ray went back to school for a year.
I learned to run long distances and completed my first half marathon before my first child came. I also learned to knit (ironically, not for baby stuff, but to keep myself out of the fridge at night). I read a lot of books.
We ate out. We ate all kinds of different foods, and once even had a round of impulse eating (kind of like impulse shopping) with a friend at a fabulous Thai restaurant in St. Catherine's, Ontario. We experimented with cooking.
We went to GenCon in Milwaukee and then in Indy. We won second prize in the D&D Open Tournament. (I didn't play at all before I came back from Korea.) And we had fun. We met more people.
We made new friends and spent time with old friends.
We laughed. We laughed a lot!
Do I regret having my children a bit later? Not a sniff. Do I miss those times? A bit, to be honest. But less every day. Best of all, I know we will have things to do and places to go when our kids are grown and doing their own things.
Is it much different now that we have the boys? This is where the irony lies: not very much. We do all of these things with the kids. We've traveled with them, gone to GenCon, see our friends, read, eat out and experiment with food, bought another house...you get the picture. It's our life together and we've introducing our boys to all of it a step at a time. It was harder when they were smaller, but as they no longer need booster chairs and diapers and playpens, it gets easier and easier. When they get older and have their own lives, I will miss having them with us, but I know that we will adjust again.