Back before I got knocked up, I’d sometimes feel a little reserved about expressing how much I wanted children when in mixed company. With all the pressure our elder generations have placed on us, the subject of kids has become a loaded one. When you tell people you hope to have a family someday, you don’t always get the most supportive or positive response. My peers are pushing back against expectations with force.
But every so often you get the wildcard response, “I just don’t want to bring a child into this world. I mean, this place is so fucked up.” I’d hear this and head toward the door. I mean, I must be a horrible, sadistic person for wanting to expose an innocent child to violence, heartbreak, and reality TV.
There’s a little guy inside me, and he’s 2 1/2 pounds of pure joy. He kicks and rolls and flips and stretches and I can’t help but think about the person he’s already becoming. I wonder who he is. What will make him smile? What will make him cringe? When I meet him, will we know each other, like long lost friends? Or will we stare at each other like aliens from either end of the galaxy?
When I imagine finally meeting him face to face, I think of all the things I want to show him. I want him to know what an indigo night sky feels like in the middle of July, when the air is all the jacket you need. I want him to hear the birds who perch in the peach tree. I want him to sit with me in my favorite chair and sip the morning from a tea cup. I want to share the smell of lavender and anise with him. I want to show him what reverence means when we unroll my yoga mat together. I want to show him what it feels like to fly. I want him to feel the comfort of a purring cat. I want him to hear laughter and music and know those are the sounds of home.
Now that I’m a… breeder I think back to those wildcards and I call bullshit. I call bullshit because, everyday I notice new things I can’t wait to share with him. I walk through my neighborhood and take note of all the things I will point out to him. But the best part is I can’t even fathom all the things he will point out to me.
I think this is the real reason why we consciously decide to have kids. Having a child means falling in love with the world all over again. Because it’s not all that fucked up. It’s actually pretty great. No, it’s really great. A world that gave us the Grand Canyon, ice cream, and the Beatles is a beautiful world, indeed.
Here’s the thing, I support a person’s decision to not have kids. I super support it. No, I super duper support it. You’ll never hear me say, “You’re still young. You’ll feel differently when you get older.” Nope. If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. There are plenty of unwanted children born everyday. The world doesn’t need any more. AND, non-parenting adults make interesting friends. We love the stories they share after jaunting about in South America or hiding away in a cabin to create an artistic masterpiece. The world needs non-parenting adults as much as it needs poets and dreamers.
But when someone says the world is too fucked up to have a child, I call bullshit. Choose another reason. There will always be another war. But without placing hope in a child, who will end them?
I call bullshit because even in all the fucked-up parts of the world, love is born. Somewhere out there, while pain and violence surround them, two people are holding hands. Somewhere out there, a child is laughing and someone is sharing the last of what they have with a stranger. Somewhere out there, two people who’ve lost everything are falling in love.
This world is so sweet; I won’t be made to feel bad for my choice to have children by cynics who choose to see the world in newspaper headlines. So, when I meet my son, I’ll tell him, “You’re going to see beauty in this world and you’re going to see pain. But I chose you because I knew in spite of all that, you’d make this place a little better.”
This blog post was turned into a short video by Casey Gates. Check it out here!
Feature Image by Tanya Alexis
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