Boys become lovers
Let’s pillow talk, part VII
I know nothing about raising children but I know I want babies. I mentioned this the other week, but I’ve always imagined myself basking in motherhood thanks to the amazing mom with whom I’ve navigated life—someone who’s the ideal balance of mentor, friend, boss, personal assistant, and ass-kicker-if-I-catch-you-in-the-wrong.
Here’s the thing about kids, whom I’ve learned a decent bit about thanks to many years of being the token ‘oldest cousin’ on my mom’s side—they’re freaking adorable, then they grow up a little bit, then they’re freaking terrifying. They’re so small and so innocent and so cute, no matter how much trouble they intentionally or unintentionally get into, until, all of a sudden, they’re pre-pubescent and they’re gross and they’re inappropriate and they smell bad and you wonder what happened to the cute angelic child you knew just a year ago.
It’s perhaps the scariest circle within the circle of life: you fall in love, you have kids with that person you love, then those kids rapidly grow up and navigate their own love life.
Last week’s post questioned what makes a strong, sustainable marriage. This week’s post progresses to the next step. What’s it like to build a strong, sustainable marriage, have kids, then watch those kids navigate the same confusing, complex dating scene you once navigated?
It seems like parents have to quickly transition from “aww” to “aww, shit.” It’s a rapid shift from ‘we made ourselves a love baby,’ to “uh, our baby is now exploring love.”
This is the topic I have the least amount of experience in and input on, unsurprisingly. Childbirth and raising children seem to be crazy experiences you know nothing about until you’re wandering aimlessly within them.
You only learn how to survive on two hours of sleep after you bring baby home from the hospital. You only learn how to always keep one eye diverted from what you’re actually doing once you’re responsible for a toddler. You only learn what’s it like to be incredibly emotionally invested in, and excited for, and fearful of, someone else’s love life once your own child starts dating.
I know nothing about any of these things, and, for now, ignorance is definitely bliss. So I defer to my people.
Here’s what my people have to say about having kids and watching those kids grow up to date.
While most parents probably say they won’t let their children date until they are 30, I don’t think that’s true. Parents, or at least me, want my kids to date, have fun and have friends. Just don’t confuse dating with promiscuity. I want them to learn how to have fun and healthy relationships with others. Dating is the perfect place to practice and to learn about what you want from another person. Dating is completely necessary for forming the foundations of a marriage or a committed relationship. I hope my kids find happiness and peace in their relationships—those are my obvious answers. I also want them to find someone that values them and accepts them. Someone who will let them share equally in the relationship and who will do their best to increase their sense of worth. Someone who will love them unconditionally and faithfully.
There are a lot of things I want in a long-term partner, but one of the things I want most is someone who is caring and who I think will make a good father one day. That might be the most important thing.
Mr. and Mrs. Haga.
Having children is very exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You hope not to screw it up in raising and providing for them. You want to teach them to have a good time with life but don’t stray away from their future-to-be. Having our boys definitely made us stronger. We were a wolf pack of two and then there were 3, and now there are 4! And now we love seeing our sons date! I’ve enjoyed meeting their friends, especially their “girl” friends. It’s fun for us to pick out the ones we would love to see our boys end up with. We usually agree! We want them to find all the love and happiness we have found, we would like to see them succeed in love, we would like them to have everything in life and love they would ever want with the help of their wives. And we’d like them to raise truly great children, as we have.
Is seems like one of the trickiest parts of having kids is the fact that when two people come together in child rearing, they must compromise. It’s unlikely that two parents will share commonalities in every aspect of raising children. Thus, there are often inconsistencies in a child’s upbringing.
With my boyfriend, I kind of tiptoed around things and topics I knew we’d disagree on. I hate conflict and I hate having to deal with conflict, so it was easier that way. I also loved him for other reasons that overshadowed those differences at the time. But this made it more difficult to imagine having kids with him. I could handle his conservative views and such, but what would happen when we were raising kids? I feel like when you can’t agree on things that are important to you, procreation becomes more difficult. I think consistency is important for kids and development.
Joaquin and Vandi.
I have a lot of fear…and a lot of excitement when I talk about my boys. I think the biggest fear is whether I’m doing it right. Every dad wants to instill discipline, values, integrity, courage, etc., but am I doing it right? I put more than 1,500 students through my Army Ranger assessment program every year, and I’ve always said I could identify those who weren’t going to make it after the first two weeks. MOST of the kids who don’t do well in our selection process are missing something in their lives—they lack a father figure, their parents are in jail, they never learned social skills, they’re lacking in values, etc. In short, I want my boys to do it “right.” I’m just not sure what that means, other than to say I want to raise my boys like my dad raised me. I can’t wait to get old and watch my boys live the lives we’ve helped them grow. I don’t think there will anything more rewarding in my life…unless Vander ends up in prison, which is becoming a distinct possibility. I think watching your kids start their own lives will be the time when you realize that you’ve been doing it right all of these years, or you weren’t. When it comes to dating, I want them to know how to treat women, and to have the confidence to pick one who shares the same values—not just the prettiest one.
I think raising kids will be a huge challenge, but it’s still something I imagine myself one day doing. I guess I believe it goes into the whole American dream ideal.
Stay tuned for my post-baby blog in approximately 10 years. Maybe then I’ll have more insight on the whole ‘American dream’ of kids, but, for now, ask those for whom you care what insights and thoughts on dating and love and babies they have to share with you. You’ll hear and learn some great stuff, I’m sure.