When it comes to having kids, I'm afraid
But I think that's a good thing.
No. 95: When it comes to having kids, I’m afraid
The crazy cat lady archetype has gotten way too much attention for way too long.
What about crazy dog guys?
Here ye, I’m not one.
At least, I don’t think so. The longstanding criteria requires a person to have more than one an animal to be honorably deemed “crazy,” and I only have one.
But I could have it wrong.
If showering deep love and mama bear levels of attention on your sole animal also fits the bill, I am most definitely a crazy dog guy. My pup, Archer, is my best friend. We hang out every day, all day. He sits next to me while I write. Around noon, we walk to a big field where I throw him tennis balls. When I go to the store, he rides with me. When I’m working in the garage or the driveway, he gambols around the lawn attached to his long blue lead.
But the most damning evidence lies herein.
My fiancé and I were discussing the prospect of having children in bed last night, and my primary concern was that our dog, Archer, would be upset at no longer being the center of my attentions.
(So the answer is yes, I’m a crazy dog guy.)
The parenthood conversation was sparked by an unborn nine-month-old named Caroline. Grace’s sister is giving birth to Caroline on Monday morning, and Grace is scheduled to meet the fresh human that same afternoon.
And I’m trying to parse that.
Why scary, of all things? Am I a coward, after all? Do I not have the cojones for fatherhood — figuratively, of course?
My fear is made more awkward by the fact that Grace, a.k.a. the one who will have to carry and eject the soft baby from her body, is gung-ho. Why, then, am I afraid, the guy whose only role is to sit around and tote the occasional sandwich to the queen bee?
There’s a few factors at play, I think.
Thanks for reading. Consider subscribing to get new posts and support my work.
One, going to the hospital as a duo and coming home as a trio is just strange. Not to mention, it immediately raises your responsibility levels by, like, one million percent.
Two, going to the hospital in general is unsettling, especially when you’re going there for a major operation involving not one but two of your loved ones.
Then there’s number three.
If I love my dog as much as I do, imagine how much I will love my child.
To love that much is to tap into wells of selflessness that would, on the surface, empty me totally, but that are miraculously never ending or so I’ve heard.
It’s to risk insta-annihilation should anything happen to the child I’ve brought into the world. And many things could happen. Grace and I aren’t exempt either, and I’d rather not Oliver Twist my kid.
But perhaps scariest of all?
To love that much is to rely on that love alone. Children become teenagers become adults who will have to figure out this whole life thing just like the rest of us, and how am I to give my child a roadmap of this chaotic yet sacred world when I’m still trying to map it out myself? All I can give is love and love and more love and hope it’s enough.
So, yeah. Scary.
Still, I want to have kids.
I want to be afraid, I guess.
Because the fear is good, I think? Surely it’s better than having no fear at all when faced with such life-altering prospect, which would be tantamount to empty mindedness in my case, which seems scarier.
So I’ll double down.
The fear is good. The scariest things are often the most important, momentous, and pivotal. That tingling in your gut is an infallible signal you’re approaching some moment far beyond what the puny human mind can readily fathom or appreciate. To meet those moments bravely is maybe what living is all about.
I’m curious to know what lies on the other side of a love so strong I can already sense it gathering in my chest, swirling, charging, readying for the day it bursts forth in a kind of powerful laser beam fixed on my future son or daughter, who in their teen years will attempt to engineer a deflection shield against it and who will be very bummed to discover my beam burns right through their weak shit.
Although it’s frightening, I want to offer an opportunity at a life if it’s within my and Grace’s power to do so, so that this person, my child, might come to see some of the beauty I’ve witnessed on this pale blue dot, and come to feel some of the love I’ve felt.
Archer may be pissed, but I hope not.
There’s enough love to go around. ♦