The Sins of the Father

Thursday 4 October 2007

Cindi wrote an interesting post today about parenting skills and the difficulty of breaking out of the patterns within which you were raised and which are the only ways you know.

I must say, with my 37th birthday less than 10 weeks away, the very-real prospect of never having children saddens me a bit. My cousin and I invented families of our own from the age of 8 (she now has two 3D kids!). It was always a presumption of mine that I would have a couple of bambini. I would have been horrified to know that at 36 I was still childless. But 6+ years of illness and a marriage breakup have all contributed to me facing the reality that yes, perhaps they do not feature in my future.

It's not as if I'm alone in my age group. There are many people out there either choosing to remain childless or who leave things too late and run out of time. I just never thought I would be one of them. But then again, maybe many of them never thought they would be one of us either.

And I must admit, along with the sadness of a childless future also comes a hint of relief. No children means no possible future of having to deal with the ramifications of my own parents' failures (mother too soft, father too hard - way too hard - read completely and utterly emotionally unavailable). I am sure that glimpses of my parenting in the style that I was parented would probably be one of the biggest excuses for self-hatred I would be able to conjure up (although bearing in mind that my problems lay with my father, perhaps it wouldn't affect me as much as if they had been with my mother?)

So there is relief at the prospect of not having to deal with that crap load. There is also sadness that I may not be be forced to deal with that crap load, because there would be a great deal of healing in being able to do things differently (as hard as learning those new ways to walk would be). There is also selfish relief that my life may be my own. But that selfish relief leads to the sadness that I shall never learn in that particular way the beauty of selfless love. There is no more selfless love as that from a parent to their child, and to not be able to experience that is very saddening. Of course, there is more than one way of learning selflessness and seeing it is the aim of God to teach us, I am sure he will find a way, children or no.

And of course having no children means not having to enter the world of other parents. I can't help thinking that I would be the parent that the others would talk about behind their backs. The thought of having to play a role in the parenting groupthink of today where it seems from the outside that selflessness morphs into overindulgence makes me shudder, to be honest. So there's one more good thing about it.

But still. All of those things aside, my heart still beats faster every time I see a little face like this. Isn't she just beautiful :)

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