Sex in the Sight of the Lord


Society is full of people who are incredibly adept at the blind art of assuming that other individuals share their wants and expectations. How weird (and incredibly egotistic) is that? And how can anyone survive each day while plagued by such belief? Just thinking about being trapped in a world of carbon copied, creativity barren and stagnant personalities makes me want to scream! And perhaps, puke in colors and textures no one has ever seen before.

The paragraph above summarizes a couple of exchanges I had during the last few days.

Last Saturday, I spent a considerable amount of time on the phone talking to a person I used to work with. We hadn’t spoken to each other since 2008, so I guess he felt the need to ask the usual catching up questions: “Why aren’t you married? Did you see how fat [so and so] got after she left the Navy? The same doesn’t apply to Marines, huh? How many children do you have?”    

“I don’t have any kids,” I said, “and I don’t plan on birthing any.” I ignored the rest of the questions because what I wanted to say to him added nothing of value to an already worthless conversation.

“You can tell me, G,” he said. “Psychiatrist here, remember? I know a woman’s clock ticks, eventually. It’s easier to deal with that empty feeling, if you admit it exists.”

“Wow,” I told him, wishing he could see my eye-roll through the phone. “I think you’ve just given me enough evidence to prove a working theory. Yeah, you have indeed; assholism seems to be a chronic disease that rots the brain’s ability to think critically. It seems to infect all educational levels… Taking something for that, Doc?”

We both laughed, but I’m pretty sure that I was the only one having fun at the moment.

Then, yesterday, I was sharing the details of that conversation with a writer friend. She agreed with my assholism diagnosis, and added “male dumb-fuckiness” as the cause of the problem.

“Oh please,” I said, “are you really blaming close-mindedness on a Y chromosome? That’s ridiculous. That kind of stuff doesn’t discriminate. Have you—”

She cut me off, and said, “Let’s agree to disagree?”

“Let’s,” I said.

We talked about her work in literary criticism and about my fiction writing. Then we argued about reading…

“It’s wonderful that you read so much,” she said, “but I’d think you’d choose works that brought something of substance to your writer’s toolbox. The Stand? Really?”

“Regardless of how much you dislike his work,” I said, “even you know that the King rocks.”

“Are you laughing at me?” she said.

“Of course not,” I said, laughing. She hates Stephen King’s work, and I love to tease her.

“The Stand’s motifs are over-simplistic. Society is beyond that. Dated, the entire thing is—”

“Calm down, Baroness Alexandra Pope,” I said. “Before you start reciting your Essay on Woman, let me read this quote from the expanded edition of The Stand—”

“There is an expanded edition!”

“Shhh,” I said, muffling giggles. She’s a worthy adversary, so I do love to put her on edge. “I’m going to read a passage. And I suggest you keep in mind the words men AND women have said about birth control and religion, these last couple of years:  
“Her six boys had produced a crop of thirty-two grandchildren for her. Her thirty-two grandchildren had produced ninety-one great-grandchildren that she knew of, and at the time of the superflu, she had had three great-great-grandchildren. Would have had more, if not for the pills the girls took these days to keep the babies away. It seemed like for them, being sexy was just another playground to be in. [She] felt sorry for them in their modern ways, but she never spoke of it. It was up to God to judge whether or not they were sinning by taking those pills (and not to that baldheaded old fart in Rome—[she] had been a Methodist all her life, and she was damned proud of not having any truck with those mackerel-snapping Catholics), but [she] knew what they were missing; the ecstasy which comes when you stand on the lip of the Valley of the Shadow, the ecstasy that comes when you gave yourself up to your man and your God, when you say thy will be done and Thy will be done; the final ecstasy of sex in the sight of the Lord, when a man and a woman relive the old sin of Adam and Eve, only now washed and sanctified in the Blood of the Lamb.”
“Now,” I said, “tell me, in good conscience, that Stephen King’s writing ‘motifs are over-simplistic’ and that our world has moved ‘beyond’ the horrors described in The Stand.”

I’ll relate the rest of our conversation when I share my thoughts on the expanded edition of The Stand. In the meantime, I would love to hear your words on the two exchanges described above, my Wicked Luvs. What say you all?
By the way, this lady really creeps me out...   
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42 comments:

  1. I think you've had the topic of contraception raised before, I read it on witchvox.com
    Perhaps I myself never faced the issue of to be or not to be, or Thy will be done or it will not be done... It has to be left to our own choice. What if we don't want to have children yet, why shall we have them just because everyone else has or relatives constantly asking: so, when? Seems like I will have a baby for them after all, not for myself? Huh.
    I also don't know God's opinion on pills, but I certainly know that he would like us to be happy with whatever choices we make.

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    1. Indeed. I believe it should have be left to choice. If biology determined destiny, then everybody on this planet would be able to think critically. And goodness knows that's not the case.

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  2. If your a devout Bible Basher, you shouldn't be worried about contraception...if God wants you pregnant you get pregnant...ask Mary!
    and as to the comments from your old friend...what exactly was he after? Material for a thesis? Is that a normal conversation after so many years of silence?....even a woman friend would probably have questioned you less on the subject of childbirth :/ XXX

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    1. Don't get me started about what "God wants," or I might start throwing things. I think the guy was just saying what "he thought" most women my age would like to hear. He is one of those super-intellectual douche-bags who has no common sense when it comes to living. And as a woman who chose a long time ago not to have children, and has been not exactly secretive about it, I can tell you that people (male and female) ask the most ridiculous questions about it...

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  3. As childfree by choice (and never heard any ticking clocks in my lady parts and suppose I never will) the idea, that a woman either needs to have babies or - if she can't do this - must be filled by desperation over the fact is just... It. Drives. Me. Up. The. Wall.

    Tell me? Are childless men bothered with the same questions? Are they told that their creative works are really 'children' they couldn't have? Let me join you in the barfing of unheard of colors and textures.

    Second: Society hasn't moved anywhere past the caves. We have new toys, we paint everything over with civilization, but strip our amenities away, add a dash of good old primal struggle to survive and voila, can't see The Stand being dated.

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    1. Maybe they've gotten confused around the way and thought of us as Tick-Tock the Crocodile, or something. I don't get it. I would think that in a world where so many children need parents, when so many youngsters go hungry... people wouldn't have a lot difficulty seeing why someone might refuse to pop another little soul into the world.

      The Stand is a book of its time, with timeless topics. To hear that is dated makes me shake my head.

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  4. I find it tiring and pointless to point out their narrow views...they don't listen and they are determined that they and they alone know the mind of God! Arrogance and ignorance. How can one make any headway against such rhetoric! Seriously?
    I applaud your attempts at trying..me...I just stay away! They are just plain obnoxious!
    As for King...I am not a fan but only due to my dislike of his writing style.
    Ha
    Hugs
    SUeAnn

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    1. I'm not absolutely nuts about King's writing style either--it's not all that pleasing to my ears. But the man knows how to deliver... I read his writing like I read Jane Austen's--for reasearch. I don't care for her long-winded style, but she has a way with descriptions. Stephen King has a way with fear, with the old good vs. evil, and in The Stand especially, with theology used as control. But the style? Not all that yummy.

      And when it comes to people's views... There was a time in my life (many years ago) when might intention might have been to try to help people understand. But not anymore. Today, I'm mostly curious, just like with organized religion--I watch, I study, and I wonder how long it will be until people can really see what has been there all along.

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  5. Maybe your biological clock just needs new batteries? ^^

    Sometimes I make the same mistake - assume that people only want other people to be happy and healthy, because that is what I want (most of the time - today I would appreciate an axe in a certain colleague's head, and happiness for the rest of the world. And coffee.). It's a good thing to keep talking to others to try and learn different points of view. Although some of those make me want to smash my head (or the other person's) against a wall.

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    1. Always go for the other person's head, if you have the choice. =)

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    2. I'm with Sabine, always let that ax fall forward, if you can help it ;-)

      You know, I'm always intrigued by the old "do unto others bit..." I wonder if people really stop to think what that means. Not just what it says, but what it means.

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  6. I think people will always try to force their beliefs on others. Okay stupid people that is! You would think that the people who believe that a woman's sole purpose on Earth is to birth children and if she won't she will suffer for eternity would have gotten extinct by now, natural selection and all, but sometimes i think Darwin got it wrong!

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    1. I think Darwin got it right. It's just that fittest, is not always wisest or nicest. Too bad...

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  7. The books I've read twice in my life are easily counted on my one hand, and The Stand happens to be one of them. 'Nough said.

    Regarding ticking clocks and birthing; Your "friend" is a deluded douche. I have never wanted kids and know plenty more (often feminist) women who don't. I turn 36 this year. I doubt I will suddenly start hearing loud banging noises. I chose animals over humans, every time.

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    1. Feminists can choose to have kids too - it's just that we don't assume other women will make the same choices we do ;)

      I think if more people would realize that this is not the default life choice, that in fact it should only be chosen after contemplating if you have the proper temperament and personality for it, it would be much better. Child bearing/ raising ought to be looked at almost akin to entering the armed forces. It's not for everyone! But thank goodness for those who do and do it well because it's something they've chosen. (LOL, thank you Magaly for being a Marine - if I were ever in the armed forces, it would look like a remake of Private Benjamin spliced with the Muppet Movie).

      I really like Steven King's stuff. It seems to me he writes ideas disguised as stories. I've come away thinking some interesting stuff after reading his works. I usually don't care for the movie versions of his books but The Mist was especially rage inducing as the re-imagined ending in my mind really negated the ideas in the story. My hubby has a love hate relationship with King. He admits he's a great story teller, but usually loathes his endings.

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    2. Indeed... I said this in another comment, but some things are worth repeating: anyone who believes that just because a person has what it takes to have a child (physically) should go ahead and pop and few, needs to look at the state of the social service system (and at the way certain individuals fail at even taking care of themselves). And, more importantly, that isn't even the case.

      To even consider that self-fulfillment comes painted in the same colors for everyone, is ludicrous. And what about the old bit about, "If she doesn't want children, something must be wrong with her?" How limiting...

      Kestril, when it comes to King's writing, my feelings probably exist somewhere between your "really" liking it and your husband's "love" hating it. I agree with you, Kings novels read like ginormous ideas waiting to burst out of a horror/thriller tale--I enjoy seeing them explode. They've scared me, they've made me angry, they've made me cry... and the ending have made me want the King's neck. And then call him to congratulate him in how brilliantly he get's under my reader's skin. Yes, a bit bipolar, I know lol

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    3. LOL, and the Stand has one of the more grimace worthy endings he ever wrote. I think how he writes is he takes an idea, creates some characters to play with it and then just follows the idea down the rabbit hole. When he's done with it, he just done. Sometimes the story is done at the same time as the idea, and sometimes its not. I enjoy ride for the most part though with some books (Eyes of the Dragon, The Talisman, The Shining - gods, there's someone who shouldn't have been a parent!) and sometimes just cock my head in confusion with others (Insomnia - really, wtf was that about?)

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    4. The first time I read the ending of the stand, I was expecting it to have a sequel. But the King works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? And how he loves to torture us lol

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  8. A few dis-jointed thoughts:

    - that I don't like King's style is part of the experience of reading him. I expect to be uncomfortable and irritated. He does not disappoint.

    - I love Gina's comments

    - a person so rude as your correspondent deserves no social amenities, Magaly, you were too kind.

    - tick-tock be damned. I waited many years for the arrival of my adopted daughters. Raising them is the single, most worthwhile thing I have done with my life.

    I have more, but I need coffee, now.

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    1. Stephen King is not the author to go to if we want to be left with a nice feeling after the reading experience. The man produces tales that are disturbing and then some...

      Gina is a genius ;-) And the guy who asked the questions has been drowning for too long in beliefs he thinks infallible. Pity; he's not half as ridiculous as his words make him sound.

      Yay for choosing to be mama to babes who were already there!

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  9. I hate the pressure to have kids/have more kids. It's annoying that there are so many unwanted children in the world but some people think you should have more just because of some sort of sense of duty they've assigned to you.
    I have to say as a feminist, with one child (and I have to say my plan is too keep it at one), I think everyone woman should be free to choose how many children she does or doesn't have. Just because I made a choice to have one, doesn't mean anyone else has to match that. Have more, have less, it doesn't matter, it all should be a very personal choice made for personal reasons.

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    1. It's all about choice. Do as you will, and so will I. Simple.

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  10. Hmmm, the first guy was exhibiting class superiority nonsense, and acting as if all women are the same. Dumb rookie move, he should be old enough to know better.

    Your writer friend did the same thing. HER opinion was the only right one, as evidenced by her cutting you off and the "agree to disagree" comment. So she hates men. Hating half the population of the planet is a waste of energy, I think. She also did what my director did - dismissed something as unworthy of her time without experiencing it.

    I have a CD of holiday music by Ramsey Lewis, but because of the time period it was recorded in my boss didn't want to listen to it because he "knew" he didn't like jazz music from that 7-year span. His loss, and the same for your writer friend.

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    1. Anyone who goes around thinking that two people are exactly alike needs to take his or her head out of that stinky place, and perhaps think a little.

      My writing friend has her own issues. She admires a lot of people who she believes to be perfect, so everything they do is perfect by association. She'll eventually see. No one learns with someone else's head.

      People lose a lot of things when dismiss something without giving it a chance.

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  11. I hate it when people start putting god in sex. The urge to have sex and thereby procreate is the strongest biological imperative, maybe more so than the imperative to survive. that does not mean that 'god' means for all women to have babies, babies, and more babies. some women aren't meant to have children which is why there are so many abused children out there. having kids because you couldn't avoid it is not the same as having kids because you want them. the pill that that character laments has saved many a woman from a life of poverty and single purpose. if 'god' meant for women to just be baby machines, he would have made us as dumb as animals but we do in fact have the same brain and intelligence as a man. these people think it is god's intent for a woman to have baby after baby until she is used up and worn out and dies before she ever gets to menopause are delusional in many ways but mostly in that they think they know the mind of god. with that reasoning, we shouldn't be trying to cure illness because it is obviously god's intent that we get sick and die. my sister does genealogy and you go back several generations and these poor women were having 10 - 12 children. and believe me, before the pill, women were using whatever means available to them to prevent pregnancy.

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    1. A lot of things are complicated (and often not in the best of ways) when people throw gods into the mix. Can you imagine a world where no one used contraception? We would be physically smothering each other in no time. I don't even want to think about what would happen to women's bodies if we behave as limitless baby factories...

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  12. Sounds like your friends weren't really interested in you or a dialogue. They were just looking for a mirror.

    Stephen King leaves me with a 'meh' feeling. Well crafted & thought out themes, but not enough weirdness, I guess. "Sherlock Holmes', 'The Maracot Deep', 'The Wizard of Oz' series, & many more are dated in setting, but still ring deep & sound :)

    More importantly, balance is a life requirement, for me. Doesn't it make sense that writers, whose life is 'words', would require regular intervals of reading the words of others, that please them, to help keep the soul filled? I am deeply suspicious of one who would try to limit what I chose to read.

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    1. I'm constantly amazed by the amount of writer friends who tell me, "I don't have time to write."

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  13. I think that everyone should be free to make their own choices when it comes to propagation of the species. I have one child. A beautiful and perfect little girl that delights my witchy heart. I want at least one more child, but have resisted the call thus far. Simply put, I cannot afford another child yet. We'd like to buy our home and we don't want to struggle and agonize over how to feed and clothe all of us. This is right for us, regardless of how others feel. My mother insists that control is wrong. My MIL insists that I shouldn't have any more children. One of my sisters has a new baby while the other is blissful being Auntie to her two nieces and Mother to her 2 dogs. All three of us are happy with our choices, which means they're all right.
    As for reading, the idea that one must simply read something to add something of substance is, in my opinion, a ludicrous reason to pick up a book. Read what makes you happy. If it's a bit of romance fluff that makes you jump your partner after, read it. If it's the latest scientific article on your dearest geeky passion, read it. If it is somewhere in between, by all means, read it. Reading should be enjoyable and not just a means of "substance." Otherwise, what is the point.
    I am glad that you are making your own choices Magaly. Do not let anyone ever tell you that your choice of children or reading material is in some way subpar. There is nothing about you that is subpar and that includes your books and your lack of biological children. After all, if you were completely devoid of maternal caring, I doubt Piano Man would let you near his beautiful daughter.

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    1. Balance is keyword, indeed, especially when combined with the ability to follow our hearts without compromising (or sacrificing) who we are. Someone once asked me what would I do if I ever became pregnant, "I guess I would have a kid," I told her. After that the conversation moved towards, "Wouldn't your child feel unloved and unwanted?" I guess you see where this is going. People confused no desiring a child with inability to be a caregiver. Often times, the people saying this happen to be terrible at parenting... ironic.

      Reading tastes and reasons for reading are are vast as personalities. So yes, I'll read what I like ;-)

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  14. I sort of half heard a ticking clock when I was 38 and returned to the main man in my life - but the price was too high and the clock wasn't ticking that loud or maybe the batteries gave out because I left again. C'est la vie.

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    1. Francie, you made me roar. I can almost see you, saying, "Oh, I came because I thought my clock was thinking. But it wasn't. Bye."

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  15. "a woman’s clock ticks, eventually. It’s easier to deal with that empty feeling, if you admit it exists."...What!? Ok, maybe he was joking and it's a delightful banter between you guys, but that would've pissed me off so much. I find that so insulting! Just because we have vaginas does not make breeding our sole purpose in life. We are more than our reproductive organs, and some of us truly don't feel the need to propagate the species. There are plenty of other people out there doing it for us. I've been told that I'm just bitter because I can't have children, that I wouldn't pretend not to want them if it were an option for me. Bull...oney. I don't want kids. I like playing with other people's kids and then sending them home. It aggravated the crap out of me when people kept asking hubby and I when we were going to have one. Finally I told their nosey asses the truth that Hubby was fixed a long time ago, and I lost parts thanks to medical complications, but thanks for asking...again and again. (Sorry, for getting worked up...it's a pet peeve.)
    I think the motifs in "The Stand" are pretty much timeless. Good, Evil, judgement, how people interact with one another, mental impairment. You friend does sound like she's fun to get a rise out of though. M-O-O-N, that spells Magaly. :-)

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    1. I could kiss you right now. You haven't only used the favorite word of my favorite character in The Stand but you've also said the same thing I tell people often, even if they give me weird looks. I love being an aunt. I enjoy spending time with the Little Princess--it is nice to part of a group of four caregivers.

      So many have looked at me with pitying eyes, and said, "Oh, it's your hip, isn't it? Have you talked to a specialist?" I want to claw their eyes out, and see if the information reaches their brain: "No, it isn't my hip. There is nothing wrong with me. I like mothering my books, my plants, and a dog. Maybe a cat, too."

      M-O-O-N, that spells smart and sexy Sarah!

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  16. The fulfillment of the creative life does not have to culminate in birthing one's own child. You're a writer... if your friend is really that smart, then he should understand that. Hasn't he ever heard the phrase "brainchild"? One's creative works can be just as amazing and alive in their own ways as a child... speaking as a mother *and* an artist, I know. When someone comes up to you and tells you how much something you made with your own hands has meant to them, then you feel much the same way as you do when your child has one of those amazing-kid-moments. Blegh.

    And, I think it's just as divinely inspired to be in bed (or on the couch, or kitchen counter or... ooh, did I give too much away there?) with someone you connect with, who's good at what he or she does in that bed (couch, kitchen counter... well, you get the idea). That moment of ecstasy does not have to include conception to be magic, or epic, or both.

    And, I'll have to say... I've never read Stephen King, because up til recently I had not been into horror/suspense. However, if you really pay attention to what's going on the world, then you'll realize that nothing has moved past any of the old motifs... any of them. Somewhere in the world, sometimes right around the corner, those old stories are still happening. It's what makes things like that timeless, for good or bad.

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    1. You are correct, my friend, not all children are brought to term in the womb.

      On the "kitchen counter," huh? ;-D

      Stephen King has written some amazing books. You might enjoy Lizzy's Story and Misery, methinks.

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  17. I think you and I have a lot in common. These conversations you had seem to mirror ones I've had in my own life. Especially the childbirth thing. I get really tired of people trying to talk me out of it. Not everyone wants to have kids. Period. :-) I'm right there with you.

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    1. I think many others feel the same way. And society can make things very difficult for people who feel the way we do, and care about what society thinks.

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  18. I think if you want children, you should have them, if you don't, you don't. I have to say these days, the parents I see with children, shouldn't have them! And, the people who don't have them, should! I know this sounds crazy, but it's what I have been noticing!
    Sometimes, I really think about my mom, because I never thought should wouldn't have had a grandchild. I know she would have been an amazing grandma. What can you do, right? ;o)

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    1. It's not crazy. The other day, the Little Princess and I were coming back from a recital, we were waiting for the train. There was a mom with 3 children, one was a baby. The mom was standing in front of them, facing away, wearing headphones and playing with an iPad. The kids were about 3 feet from her. The baby kept on dropping his bottle and the little sister (she was probably 6 or 7) kept on giving it back to him to suck. After she did it twice, I pointed it out to the mother. She gave me a dirty look, and told me, "He'll be fine."

      So, no, it's not crazy at all, m friend.

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  19. I was never the little girl who pretended to be the Mommy. I always wanted to be the dog..haha!
    After I was married and we decided together that we would like children, we tried for a long time (7 years) only to be told we would need fertility treatment to conceive. We chose not to go that route. We were happy to just be the 2 of us and started settling in on a long life together. Then, BAM! Maggie interrupted that thought and has been wedged wonderfully and warmly in the middle of us ever since.

    I was right, though...it didn't come naturally to me to be so nurturing and patient. I'm much better at relating to dogs than to kids....haha!

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    1. I love what you've said. You know, I always tell people about what a wonderful mom you are. You and Maggie do so much together, she obviously adores you and the feeling is mutual, and she was a surprise. Wanting or not wanting to have children does not determine your good of a parent you'd be, parenting does. I'm glad you have each other. Some interruptions are worth celebration over and over and over again ;-)

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