When GameBoy was born, I was just finishing up my bachelor’s degree. It was a hard schedule–trying to study in the very little bit of free time that I had as a I cared for my young son. On top of that, I was sleep deprived. One day I was stretched out reading a novel for my English class on the bed with GB napping at my side. Within a few moments I feel asleep, too. When I awoke, I discovered that he had devoured the corner the corner of my book and had eaten half of the first two pages, too. My book was a gummy mess. At the time I thought it was pretty funny (though I did worry about the healthiness of wood pulp in his diet) and after that incident I was more careful from then on to keep my books out of his way. Now, whenever I run across Pamela I get a thrill of remembering that crazy-busy and joyful time in my life.
So an acquaintance was asking me about my kids, wondering if they ever complained about having been raised in the collegiate environment rather than a traditional middle-class lifestyle. I explained to her that GameBoy has been attending classes with me since he was in utero, as has CatGirl. They know no other way of life, though I think they have moments of imagining the way that “the Jones'” live. I have occasionally queried my kids about this. Would they rather live in a stand-alone house and have a Mom who wasn’t perpetually preoccupied with classes, research, and teaching? They say no, that they love our lifestyle. While I appreciate their affirmation, I do wonder how, later in life, they will react to their unique upbringing. Will they rebel by rejecting academic pursuits? Will they feel that they lost out on some essential childhood experience? Will they feel that they were too quickly thrust into the adult world of intellectuality?
It seems that everyone grows up with some sort of regret about their childhood. For example, have you ever heard anyone say that their formative years were just perfect? I suspect that we are all a bit envious of others’ experiences and we wonder if the grass wasn’t just a bit greener in someone else’s backyard. But, for now, as I see the amazing humans that my kids are becoming, I think I’ve done okay by them. They continue to digest the written word with ease (though through their brains rather than through their intestines nowadays), they have a passion for learning and a genuine curiosity about the world. They are gentle, kind, and nurturing. They have compassion for the needs of others. They share love and resources unselfishly. They can both be a bit shy, but they are rarely intimidated by adults; engaging deep conversations with people more than five times their age. It seems to me that my kids are empirical evidence that a lifestyle like ours “works,” and is laudable.