I’m wholeheartedly certain that when I’m 33 and I read this post, I’ll have a good laugh.
I think it might have something to do with being adopted, but I crave the opportunity to someday create new life. I want to feel it growing inside me, to see my facial expressions replicated in my offspring, to watch my features merge with someone else’s and become an entirely unique human being. I love the idea of nature vs. nurture. My mom used to say that when I was little, I’d say something and she’d turn around expecting my birth mom to be standing there, because I sounded so much like her.
However, as I get older, I’m less certain of this drive to procreate. Maybe it’s the fact that I might not have health insurance after I turn 26. Maybe it’s the fact that we might be living in the end times (I’m just being facetious, mostly). Maybe it’s because I’m totally afraid I’ll mess up my kids. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve realized that eventually they’re not babies anymore. And then they get emotionally complex and smelly. Ugh. Puberty.
I once had a deal with an ex-boyfriend that I’d take them from birth to age 4. He’d take them from 5 to 18. I really like this plan.
Regardless, I’m just not sure it’s worth it. Kids are expensive. They’re annoying. They’re ungrateful. But on the other hand, they’re so cute. They wear little shoes. (It’s the shoes that get me every time. Adorable.) The looks on their faces when they discover something new are precious. Their giggles are universally uplifting.
However, I think that financial drain aside, it might be one of the most beautiful things I’ll ever do (if my eventual marriage can sustain the blow that is the stress of child-rearing).
It really hit me when I went to the Barney! Live show with my favorite family (I realize this is on the internet, so it’s entirely public, but how embarrassing is it that I missed Slightly Stoopid and Shwayze to see Barney?). The girls were so happy, and somewhere inside my cold, dark, hardened heart, something cracked. I was filled with this strange sense of inner warmth.
The mom told me that experiencing things with them for the first time is three times what it is to discover it yourself and that parenthood is all about gathering these little moments.
I don’t disagree.
Apparently the return on investment as far as emotions and experiences go is incredibly high.
Mom always says that the steps to child-preparedness are thus:
1. Get a plant.
2. If you don’t kill the plant, get an animal.
3. If you don’t kill the animal, you can get a kid.
I had a bamboo plant once, if that counts.
And Carlos, despite probably having used up 8 of his lives, is a very happy cat. An expensive, spoiled, rude, but adorable cat.
I’ve got years before I’ll have to worry about the proper techniques for parenting, but to be honest, I’m not that scared.
Or maybe I am.
The only thing I worry about is losing me. I don’t want to lose my life to babies. I want to be fun. I just want to dance. I don’t want to lose the things I’m passionate about. I don’t want to give up everything to raise children. Did you know that kids who are raised in houses with two working parents are more resourceful and resilient? So that’s reason to believe that it’ll all work out.
I taught one of the twins how to swing the other day. She knew the basic pumping motions, but I showed her how to lean back and lean in and pretty soon she was flying above my head. I was filled with anxiety (what if she falls? is she okay?) but this wonderful sense of accomplishment (look at how happy she looks! she’s really doing it!). If that’s what parenthood is all about, I’ll take it.