Kids are welcome here

For 29 months, I felt like a transient, living in an efficiency, one-bedroom apartment, and a duplex. In two of those dwellings, I lived alone, without my family. If I could have squeezed a little more time out of that lifestyle, I`m sure the rent would have been paid for the honor of residing in a mobile home. Fortunately, life-without-roots was just a bump in the road. The family is back together again in a house that we own.

Mark Hartley, Editor

markh@pennwell.com

For 29 months, I felt like a transient, living in an efficiency, one-bedroom apartment, and a duplex. In two of those dwellings, I lived alone, without my family. If I could have squeezed a little more time out of that lifestyle, I`m sure the rent would have been paid for the honor of residing in a mobile home. Fortunately, life-without-roots was just a bump in the road. The family is back together again in a house that we own.

A colleague and I recently discussed the local real estate market, since my experiences of buying a home were relatively fresh. She was considering a house in a neighborhood that she liked - no kids apparently live there. She asked me not to be offended, but that an adults-only neighborhood offered her and her husband a peace of mind that kids tend to interrupt.

Although I didn`t retort angrily or frown with displeasure, I found myself being a little offended. Most kids I know are better citizens than most adults I know. If that sounds like something Art Linkletter`s ghost would say, sorry. I think kids, for the most part, are extremely entertaining to observe. Yes, juvenile delinquents exist, and I have to lean on my youngest son from time to time to make sure he doesn`t become one. But kids are welcome in my neighborhood any time. A kid running across my lawn is much less offensive to me than an adult walking a constipating pet across my lawn.

In addition to this woman, I`m good friends with spouses in three childless marriages. As far as I know, children in all three marriages aren`t welcome - not a matter of infertility or other health reasons. In my way of thinking, children are the greatest responsibility you could ever assume. If you don`t want the responsibility, don`t take it. Parenthood is a lot of hard work and requires constant decision-making of the utmost importance. For the record, the rewards are nice. I`m proud to know all three of my children - even my youngest son. He`s a regular Tom Sawyer, but he`ll turn out all right. So, if you`re intentionally childless, you evade plenty of headaches, but you`re missing some nice stuff too.

So, with all this in mind, Susan Weigen`s account of being unintentionally childless was especially moving. Being unable to bear a child when you want one must be one of the most heartbreaking experiences a married couple endures. Weigen`s story on page 38, of course, has little to do with dental hygiene. But she weaves in details about her career nicely, describing how interaction with dental patients and abilities to decipher medical research helped her until she was able to conceive her son.

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