I was recently asked whether I had any hobbies other than quilting. My first answer was "Sure I do". I garden, I decorate, I love to cook, I'm a C/W dancer, I have pets, I knit, I tinker with old sewing machines, I can do limited home repair and improvement...
Then, I got to thinking about it.
I had hobbies. Now, I have a 12-year old.
It's a good thing my gardens are established and only require limited maintenance because the last substantial gardening I did was to show the kid how things grow from seed. Now, most of my gardening time is spent weeding and replacing dead plants. Not much else. Not sure if that qualifies as a hobby anymore. It's really more of a chore that I don't mind doing.
I don't decorate anymore. I have a live-in decorator and while I make occassional suggestions, I've become more of a cleaner...clean the carpets, dust the ceilings and fans, vacuum the furniture...all the stuff it used to be easier to redecorate than do.
I used to love to cook elaborate meals that took hours to prepare and clean up after. I baked huge and beautiful cakes. We entertained regularly. Now, I'm glad when I have a half hour to slap something together and get the dishes washed between helping with math problems and bed.
I haven't been out dancing in 10 years. Now, I can't even stay up past 10 and that's when we used to leave the house to go out.
My dogs are a hundred years old and they only sleep and eat and perform the subsequent functions. I have fish and we have cats. Are independent pets a hobby, tho?
My knitting needles are probably rusting away from lack of use. My last big project? Christmas stockings three years ago.
I do tinker with old sewing machines, but in a way, that's related to quilting and shouldn't be considered a separate hobby.
And, home improvement is something we talk about but don't really get to much.
So, how do I spend my "free" time? I quilt. That's about all there is time for anymore. My non-free time is spent with all the nonsense that having a kid requires; homework, clothes, discipline, reward, praise, exercise. There's also a lot of time spent talking about raising a child and disagreeing about what we should do in any given crisis (and this kid loves a crisis). There are fond, but inaccurate memories about how good life was before kid. And, there's every parent's favorite, trying to make sure the kid has a better life than we do and an inordinate amount of time spent worrying whether we're screwing her up enough that she'll end up in juvenile detention or jail.
I had a life. I fed and watered it regularly. I played with it and talked to it. But it still kind of wandered off.
Now I have a child. Did I trade up? We really aren't going to know that until she picks our old folks home. If she puts us in a good one, we must have done right. If she puts us in a bad one or puts us on the street, then we messed up somewhere.
I'll have to let you know.
Can you tell we're having a rough parenting week? Great on Sunday, happy on Monday, crap on Tuesday. Say things we don't mean to say in the heat of a crisis. Apologize and hope we can do better next time. Over and over and over, ad nauseum.
You know, normal parental behavior.
Might have to clear a place in the living room and take that man dancing.