“i love you, and all i want you to do is just”
As i mentioned, i am a bit boggled by the idea of becoming a parent (even if a temporary one). I wasn’t expecting this – overall, i mean, it’s not as if it snuck up on me; more simply that this is not the life i thought i would be leading. The difficult part to explain is that that is not necessarily a bad thing.
I have never been one to plan for the future. I was the kid who never knew what i wanted to be when i grew up. I was the teenager who left a blank page under the “where will you be in five years” project. I’d have done the same under the same question in our recent parenting classes if it weren’t for Jamie’s assistance.
While i could never wrap my head around planning my future, i think i always had some basic assumptions – things about my future life that seemed so obvious that it never occurred to me to articulate them. Like that i wouldn’t be a parent. I wasn’t adamant; i sometimes participated in “if i have kids, i’ll…” conversations, but i never ever said “when”. It’s not that i don’t like kids. I have always loved the idea of friends with kids. Even the rather terrifying prospect of my brother having kids is kind of exciting. But i had a half-rational fear of the effects a kid would have on your life. That is, i think i overestimated the number of things that would be ruined by a kid. And i probably underestimated a whole other set of things that would be ruined by a kid. To be fair, i always saw myself a consummate bachelor as well.
The above was all fairly obvious. The part that i was somewhat surprised to find out about myself is that i have always assumed that if i had children (that i was never going to have), i would adopt them. It never occurred to me that i might have kids any other way. I never really recognized this until i had actual discussions with Jamie about it, but once it did it was completely clear.
Jamie, on the other hand, has always wanted to be a parent. Probably more than anything else. While i don’t think i knew this going into the relationship, it was clear very quickly. She was never pushy about it – it wasn’t even articulated as a thing that she wanted out of our relationship. But (i hope) you can simply tell what your lover is passionate about.
I am entirely unsure how this never became a point of conflict – unless it is that we haven’t any of those. I think she gave up a little. Which is a bit tragic. But i think she decided to marry me despite the fact that i didn’t want to have kids. The thing that i think i failed to tell her until after the fact is that i could tell that it just killed her to give that up (we had never decided the issue, but we had discussed it). That’s not okay and not sustainable. And when i married her, i did so knowing that we would have kids. Because it terrifies me, but it is not a part of me either way, and i really feel that to not have kids would be to steal a real part of her self. Of course, i hadn’t quite figured out how to tell her this. We got married with this up in the air.
Because how do you tell someone “i love you, and i would do anything for you, even have kids,” without sounding like an asshole or a sycophant – or both? I don’t know, but that is the exact truth. I would be happy with her as the whole of my family. But only if she were happy too, and she won’t be. I think i’d be happy with her and some other folks as my family, and i know she would be happier. That is clearly the winning situation.
Explaining that to her (and she can practically read my mind) has been difficult enough – i don’t suppose i will ever be able to explain to anyone else that i am doing this for my wife and not for myself, but that it is still okay (good, even!).
And, to address the details, the one thing we do agree on is that we would both rather have a kid by adoption than any other method. The second thing we agreed on is that right now we would rather foster. We will talk about (and follow through with, i am sure) adoption in the future, but that is not where we are now. Which is another funny thing – she, who has always just wanted children, is in no real hurry, while i, who didn’t want kids at all, am afraid that i am nearing too old for starting parenting. (It’s just one of my many (many) crazies.)
"You Really Gotta Hold On Me" - She & Him