There’s a question I get asked all the time these days that is probably the thing that I understand the least: Do I want to have more kids? And, wow, talk about a doozie!
Because of course I realize that, as wonderful wonderful wonderful as things are with Otis and Louie (and their excellent moms), there are things, big things, that I’ll miss out on if I don’t have any more children. To wit:
* I still have never had a child in a romantic relationship
* I’ve never looked at one of my children and known it was a continuation of the person I love the most in the world
* I’ve never held her hand while she’s deep in labor
* I’ve never seen one of my children emerge into the world
* I’ve never had a daughter (and Lord knows I’d be undone with love)
* I’ve never gone through the trenches of parenting and come out the other side
* And I’ve never done it with a person I’m spending the rest of my life with.
Reading this list, it’s almost as if each entry feels like the largest possible loss in life, but then each new entry pains me the more.
As I’ve written about many times, I was one of those kids who grew up in a repeatedly fractured home who dreamt again and again for a future of unity and stability. Even in college, I said I wanted to be a husband and a dad above all things.
So now the idea that I seem to be sidestepping my foremost life ambition feels incredibly strange to type (or say — or live, obviously).
But then on the other side of the ledger there’s one very clear thing: my life as I’ve known it and come to live it in the 25 years of my adulthood, and especially the magnificent existence I’ve been able to carve out of late.
For the last few years, I’ve had the absurdly rare luxury of being able to have 2 incredible sons and still maintain the vast majority of my freewheeling bachelor’s life (to the great resentment of many of my male father friends, apparently). I still have virtually all the freedom (of time, money, sleep) that I had before children, and of course I feel incredibly spoiled and lucky as a result. Having lived this way for so long now, I’m more than daunted by the idea of trading it in; I simply don’t know if I could — or who I’d become if I did.
That’s the personal side of it (in brief), but on the romantic side, I also have come to realize the toll that children can take on relationships and to think that maybe if and when I finally do settle down with someone, it might be advantageous to already have had our kids and to be able to devote most of our energies to each other. Romance can suffer during early child-rearing, so to bypass that could be enormously advantageous.
But really, it’s hard to say: would having children w/ my partner bring me closer to them or not? Would my life be better if I had more children and lived w/ them or if I simply went on loving the ones I have now while maintaining my freedom? Very few people have the perspective of both sides — I certainly don’t — but I’d love to hear any insight any of you have.
What’s a guy to do?
Jack on Google+