Do you know what a DINK is? It stands for Double Income No Kids. And if you think about it, you probably know a DINK— or two. A lot of my friends are DINKs, for various reasons, and I think it’s about time we recognize DINKs officially by featuring DINK Day on the calendar. Just kidding; we can observe DINK Day any day!
I remember having the epiphany in college that on a philosophical level, all we’re really here to do is procreate. But then I quickly realized that because of overpopulation I was kind of off the hook. I felt as though I’d been given a get-out-of-jail-free card, and I knew that throughout my life there would be other people’s children to help, teach, and look out for. As an aunt, I see having children is like reliving your life through a filter. And each child is a completely different filter than anything you could have anticipated. The ups and downs, the chaos and order, the glimpse of yourself from another perspective, seem to be what it’s all about. And while I may be missing out on the joys of parenthood, I can assure you, we DINKs still experience a life of highs and lows. (But we do have the added advantages of eight uninterrupted hours of sleep a night and the ability to jump in the car and go anywhere on a moment’s notice.)
I’ve watched both my sisters with their children, and I can appreciate that being a good parent is an exercise in selflessness; that, and the ability to answer the same question a trillion times in a row. Whenever I meet a child under five who says please or thank you- unprompted- I am in awe. For those of us without children, this is like finding a golden ticket in a chocolate bar, and you should have no problem finding a babysitter. Also, please teach your offspring about public places. The post office is a safe space, sure, but it is not your living room. And if you’re having one of those days— the kind of day when humanity seems as obscure as a teenager’s text in emojis, then just say something. Even we DINKs have those days, and we will happily-if-ineptly jump in to help.
When you boil life down, we all just have to follow our hearts. Whether we are a parent or not, life throws unexpected pies at our faces, and the evidence of a life well lived is not an easy outcome. The joy and pain we live through, the trials and pitfalls we face each year, become our life’s tapestry. If we never climb or fall, it leaves no mark on our ultimate work of art; our legacy.
On Christmas eve I stood in front of the frozen pizza section at our local City Market staring at the empty case like a child who has just learned the truth about Santa Claus. Why?! Isn’t it sad enough that we’re going to have cardboard pizza for dinner, must Kroger make it even sadder? Luckily, I’m in my middle-ages, so I tracked down a very nice young man in the frozen food section and he went to look in the back freezer, returning with three pizzas. They were even the brand I had a coupon for- you know you have crossed over into little-old-ladydom when…
Sometimes I think there is a person whose job is to watch my buying trends through my City Market card, and then discontinue the items one by one. I mean, how can a grocery store that size not carry our town’s favorite brands?! You may think I’m crazy, but as my cousin says, “just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not watching.”
I realize this is a small tribulation, especially in the world today. With everything we’re living through, a lack of frozen pizza on Christmas eve seems terribly insignificant. And yet, something that small can be the last straw that breaks the DINK’s back. With, or without kids, this year was full of chutes and ladders and I, for one, look forward to looking back on the wild colorful chaotic swirls of 2018.