Bears In The Forest

By Beck

The Girl gets to stay up later than her siblings, being 11 and all, and she wanted to watch some tv with me last night, which sounded FINE by me – an evening walk with a friend had left me disturbingly tired.

“Let’s watch “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant,” she cajoled. “That show is HILARIOUS!”

So we watched it and she just about fell of the couch laughing. Something about unexpectedly giving birth to babies  and the somewhat clueless nature of the poor women featured  really amused her while I was bemused by her wild hilarity and her sudden sophistication.

I didn’t know I was pregnant with HER for a really amusing amount of time – months, at least – which is partly explained by the fact that it was my first pregnancy and also by my having been told repeatedly that I would have trouble conceiving. (Do I need to add that this TURNED OUT NOT TO BE AT ALL TRUE? Because wow, that was a bad call, doctors.) So I didn’t find out I was pregnant until I was 3 months along or so, and that left me with five and a half months to panic and moon over wee sleepers. But that was a long time ago now.

As I wrote, I went for a walk with a friend last night, and in between laughing at me for my PERFECTLY REASONABLE fear of getting eaten by a bear, we had the following conversation:

“I don’t know what I’ll do later when the kids are older,” I said to her. “I’m not good at much.”

“You’re good at lots of things,” she said. “And besides, how do you know what you’re good at? You had your kids young and you’ve been home with them ever since – what are you judging yourself by – what you were like when you were 20? You need to give yourself more credit.”

And I was startled by this sudden new idea of myself not as Becky Bonehead, but as someone filled with possibly untapped talents, someone who might have stuff to offer. HUH, I thought. Then I went back to fretting about bears again. It’s when you let your guard down that bad things happen – a bear drags you into the woods, you find yourself alone and in labour in a boat, your children get older and older and older while you’re forever making supper and the next thing you know you need to decide what you’re going to do AFTER.

“Those poor women,” said my mother. “They missed out on their whole pregnancy! They missed out on all those magical, unique pregnancy experiences.” My mother liked being pregnant, while I just viewed it as the really horrible path to getting my lovely kids. I would, I told her, happily have missed out on most of pregnancy. “I wish I could have a pregnancy like that!” I laughed. “I would totally have another baby in that case.”

“Don’t wish your life away,” she said, and I thought about wishing my life away, the years washing away unnoticed as I walk by the dense woods and worry about bears who are not there.

11 Responses to Bears In The Forest
  1. Nicole
    June 17, 2010 | 3:08 pm

    This is an excellent post. I love the way you tied everything together. A couple of comments: I haven’t seen that show, but I think I would also find it somewhat amusing and/or disturbing. Also, I bet that you have a lot of amazing talents that you can use. Look at your blog and your writing, for example! So popular and so interesting/funny/thoughtful to read. Last thing: I loved being pregnant, so I’m with your mom on that one, but of course I didn’t have a barfy high risk pregnancy, so that’s easy for me to say.

    Great, great post. This might be my favourite yet.

  2. suburbancorrespondent
    June 17, 2010 | 5:49 pm

    I’ve wasted a lot of my life worrying about those bears myself.

  3. Painted Maypole
    June 17, 2010 | 10:08 pm

    hmm… i perhaps am focusing too much on the mythical bears these days myself.

  4. Omaha Mama
    June 17, 2010 | 10:15 pm

    My mom said to me once that she wished young women knew how much time there is to work after your kids are grown, plenty, and that she thought more women would slow down while their kids are young if they only realized. So you see? No one even had to tell you!

  5. Kelly
    June 18, 2010 | 10:43 am

    Beck, your writing might be made up of words and grammar and facts. But there is amazing art in the spaces.

  6. John Ross
    June 18, 2010 | 3:38 pm

    I think you have hit on something big and profound there, you often do.

    Let’s see now, time passing us by while we’re either unaware of momentous huge developments (like building a kid)…

    Not realizing what all we’ve learned or accomplished while doing the day to day raising kids, working, etc. stuff…

    Worrying about bears, real or imagined, actual or metaphorical, while big profound stuff like the above are going on, and we’re with important, attention deserving people in our lives who may be able to help us “see straight” as Dad would say…

    Did I get it?

    Always a pleasure to read your stuff…

  7. tracey
    June 18, 2010 | 6:29 pm

    I liked this, Beck.

  8. edj
    June 20, 2010 | 2:30 pm

    You know what? I’m not at all worried about what you’ll do after. You’re an incredible writer. Just do that.
    Oh and grandkids NEED to celebrate odd saint’s day and obscure holidays too. I hope you’ll be able to that as well.

  9. Barrie Summy
    June 20, 2010 | 3:29 pm

    What a good friend!

  10. JoAnn Hallum
    June 23, 2010 | 4:12 pm

    why do you always make me cry?
    I’ve been wishing my life away lately. I realized it this morning before I read this, I was laying on the floor playing with my kids. I often hate playing with my kids because it tends to be BORING, but today I was enjoying it. And I thought “I SHOULD ENJOY this more often!”
    Then I read this. Now I’m afraid of bears and I’m afraid that my life is being wished away in the name of excitement. Thanks.

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