Whenever parents of young children get together, inevitably the conversation turns to our childless friends. Bill and Laurence and Catherine and I fell this way last week at dinner.
I recalled how a childful couple, in a sort of low-key propaganda move before Oliver was conceived (physically or emotionally), told me that all their deliberately childless friends seemed spiritually bereft and somewhat selfish, as though the absense of a need to think of their children caused an overabundance of inward focus.
My friend Stephen says that having children is liking being admitted to a club the rules and character of which can’t possibly be understood until you join.
This isn’t to say that having children is for everyone — I’m the last person to try and woo people into this life, however wonderful it might be — but simply that once you’re “in” the “time before” seems strange and foreign.
Laurence said it seems to her that couples without children are always “talking to their dogs, and about movies.”
That about sums it up.