“Don’t you want children?!” This is a refrain I have heard for many years now, usually second in line after: “Aren’t you ever planning to get married?”
My answer to both, depending on the twerp asking, varies from “No.” to “Hell no.” to “Mind your own business.” The truth is far more complicated, and only my mother has hitherto heard that version.
I never ‘planned’ to get marriage or have a family. My relationships, when they were happy, naturally moved in that direction. With each of them, I imagined a future built by the both of us, with a home, kids, pets, family, and the many things that go into what is traditionally considered a ‘family life’. Of course I want those things.
But. Life eh?
I’m 34 [in less than a month], and riddled with health problems. Many of them would go away with proper care and diet. But who has the time? [Don’t answer that, it is a rhetorical question.] I am trying.
I don’t have a partner. And I don’t mean a husband; I mean a partner. The ex came close, because he was willing to shoulder my responsibilities alongside me, as far as he could. Just as he knew I would pour my heart and soul into his. Someone who would love and cherish my family, just as I would cherish theirs. Become a part of each other’s life’s fabric. Make our own fabric. A tapestry woven with love and threads of joy and sorrow. That hasn’t happened.
Legal cases. Two to be precise. Still going on. Responsibility squarely on my shoulders. Not fault of our own, by the way, just the sort of shit that gets stirred up to mess up the lives of ordinary folk by those who can.
Crumbling home. I can’t even responsibly adopt a pet right now, because the house is dangerous.
Health issues. Not mine, mom’s. Myriad problems.
Day to day living. Cleaning, cooking, errands, banking, taxes, bills. The list is endless.
Work. Trying to support the family financially. Ensure that we have food on our table and a roof over our heads. Doesn’t come easily. Don’t have easy clients, nor easy coworkers. Don’t have a job. Trying to set up a business from scratch with zero knowledge about how to do it.
And yet, I am so grateful for what I have. So what do I tell myself? Maybe my destiny doesn’t have that tapestry I thought of before. And that’s ok. I still fall into the trap occasionally, of having dreams and of building castles. But common sense and practicality win the day.
The truth is that my life is not conventional or easy. I would love it to be so, but it isn’t. And that’s not a bad thing. And the answer to the question above? Yes, I do want children, but only if that’s what life has in store for me. I want children after finding the deep, abiding love that binds two people together regardless of circumstances. Because that kind of marriage yields happy children. [I should know; I’m a product of it.]
To condense all this verbosity into one rather sad nugget: I had a list on my phone, of potential baby names that I loved. But I deleted it. I still remember some of them.
[I’ve been meaning to write this post for many weeks now, but it just didn’t happen. Yesterday, I heard someone remind me that I don’t want kids. It felt strange to hear my own glib bullshit repeated to me as fact. And thus, this post practically wrote itself.]