To my little man
Maybe some day you will have kids of your own. Maybe you won’t. I will never tell you what to do, but I will share my own experiences in the event you find them helpful (this is probably going to be a trend…).
In my experience, having a child is hard. I am never quite on my own schedule (even on the toilet), I worry about everything to do with you, including the ridiculous, and I am never totally sure if what I am doing is right.
Having a second child only makes the above more emphasized, not to mention going through that whole sleep deprivation thing again. Which reminds me- you owe your mother and I Starbucks for the rest of our lives. Start that piggy bank soon, chief.
Despite the whine you read above, though, I am also fairly certain there is no more fulfilling thing a human being can do than to help guide another through this thing we call life. Consider this comparison. At the age of 21 I spent six weeks by myself in Europe, partying my way across several countries without a schedule or care in the world. I slept in hostels, drank good beer and ate cheap food, and traveled the countryside by train. Easily one of the most special, fun times of my pre-family life (I’ll tell you more sometime over a beer).
The other day you put together a new puzzle for the first time. I watched as you sorted through each shape, carefully surveying the board while determining where to place it. When you finished I felt such immense pride and happiness that I knew the experience and feeling I had was right up there with any personal experience I ever had, Europa included.
By now I’ve lost count of how many times seeing you do something has given me that immense fulfillment. And I guess that’s the funny thing about all of this. Coming into parenthood I knew that I would be helping you and giving you as much as I could to guide you through life. What I didn’t have a true appreciation of was just how much you were going to give me.
Which brings me to the “me” generation. A lot of people in my generation, and likely in yours, are opting not to have kids. Many seem to think that the freedom and personal fulfillment they have will outweigh that they would receive from a family. And for some I have no doubt that is the case. But I can’t help but think there is a set of people who just have no idea what they are missing out on, i.e. what they would get out of it. You can think, you can hear, you can read, but until you do, you can’t know what your soul will feel when your children shriek in happiness at the sight of you. You can’t possibly appreciate how you will swell with pride when they shoot their first hoop.
But if you can’t know without doing, you ask, isn’t it incredibly risky to take the leap of parenting? Yeah, hard to argue. But I guess I’m writing this so you know that the risk of not taking the leap, as with many things in life, is just as great.