I spent yesterday in a writing workshop. Most of us were women trending toward middle age. The teacher, an Irish-Catholic man with three children, is a terrific writer and an amazing speaker. His goal for the class was to open up our minds to create lots of story starters we could work on later. That was great, until we got to the exercise about our children’s names. We were to make lists of our kids’ names and then list all the names we rejected when we were naming our kids.
Suddenly I was stuck. Like most of us, I had a few names in mind for the kids I might have had. A girl would have been Emily Elaine, after my aunt and my mom. I also like the name Sarah. For a boy, maybe Robert. I wrote those down, but I couldn’t list the names I had considered for my kids and rejected because I didn’t have any kids in the first place. I wished at that point that we could list our dogs’ names. That I can do. I was so relieved when he went on to the next exercise.
It’s amazing to me that in today’s world with so many people who don’t have kids, people still assume that everyone does. Have you experienced this?