Dana and I are both getting to that age where we’re starting to think about kids… and every. single. time. we both start yawning uncontrollably and change the subject. The fact that we can’t even talk about it for a half hour is a stunning monument to our indifference on the subject. We think we would be great parents, and we also think that we’re able to love the other children in our lives more when we don’t have kids of our own, so that whichever child is visiting us is our favorite and gets to feel special when mom and dad are gone.
The thing I struggle with the most is whether I’ll regret not having a kid that lives with us full time. The things that I thought I’d be terrible with have been proven wrong in babysitting Wi-Phi, and other things have popped up. For instance, I am more patient and kind with a screaming kid than you can possibly imagine. I go into this Zen-like state that makes me immune to getting rattled, because I know the baby will pick up on the fact that I’m anxious and use it to their advantage later. It’s just one day of your child raising you after another. That part I’m ok with.
I am not ok with writing about my own children, I’m anxious to the point of nausea over the thought of interacting with other parents at the PTA, and most of that has to do with the competitive things that I’ve watched parents do and say to each other over the years, and I hate that culture with a passion. I watch people write things about mothers on web sites that make you wonder who peed in their Wheaties this morning, because obviously something is terribly, terribly wrong.
I’m fighting against old tapes that say I can’t be a mother because I’m gay. I know plenty of lesbian mothers, but it’s funny how the things you grow up with tend to stick until you really explode them, and I haven’t had the time or desire to sit with that one, yet, because it’s one of those knotty problems that will cause me to ruminate ad nauseum (or as my friend Aaron and I call it, “moo all over the place”).
Frankly, I’m also indolent as fuck when I get home in the evenings and I am so glad that our stance on parenthood doesn’t change with a couple of beers between us. Oh, wow. I just hit the nail on the head and I didn’t even realize it was true until this minute. I don’t want to do it because I don’t want to do the work. I’m not talking about the work after the kid is born. I mean I don’t want to have to ask my male friends for sperm, I don’t want to go to a clinic and be poked and prodded until I get pregnant, and I don’t want to have to raise thousands and thousands of dollars for the privilege. If it had happened organically in my 20s, it would have been one thing. But I’m three years away from forty. In some ways, it feels like I’ve missed my window on purpose as a way of self-sabotage.
On the other hand, forty isn’t too old for pregnancy and delivery, and 58 seems just the right age for me to have a wise-cracking high school senior that I will have to drag out of the principal’s office by his ear while wearing my bathrobe.
There are all of these feelings swirling in both Dana and me as we pray for discernment, but at the same time, I think we both already know. We’re doing a great job by being those friends who can come through at a moment’s notice when their kids are sick or they’ve got vacation plans and the sitter cancels.
I have also learned through my abuser that you don’t have to be a kid’s parent to have influence in their lives… that it’s not important to the kid whether I’m related to them by blood. I can still impart all kinds of wisdom from the prophets… Finn, Jake, and Lumpy Space Princess.