Saturday, August 21, 2010

To My Child

I chose not to have children. I have written of it before and of the "reasons". The real business lies deeper, I think, and all the reasons belong at a shallower depth. I don't know why others take this tack in life and I don't really know why I did either. I don't know except to say it is all a part of some divine agreement, a complex list of what to do and what not to do that intertwines and interlocks.

I have never regretted this, at least not that I know, and neither have I gone out of my way to seek children out. The ones who show up in my life I almost always enjoy thoroughly, and I have often been told I would have made a good dad.

When I was in my early teens, I was one of the kids who could play with the younger kids, throw them around and all that and have great fun. It was high school and puberty that awakened me to my destiny in this regard. I have never stopped being able to fool around at the little kid level if I get the invitation.

To My Child

Sometimes I think on
how you have not come into
this world, not near me
at any rate, stopped
by my agreement with God
made so long ago.
I am far too old
to undo that deep a choice
for my solitude.

Jul 1, 2009 12:28 PM


  1. I recognise this very well. I've sometimes thought about writing about not having kids, but haven't got round to it, and I think it's largely because of what you say, the 'reasons' are, if not spurious, very much on the surface and are in danger of being by way of those stories we tell ourselves to make things tidy and easy to grasp. A different turn taken, another twist of fate, I suppose it could have been different, but no regrets. It's not particularly a negative or a positive desitiny, it just is.

    I think culturally it's a bit easier to be child-free in Europe than the US, though less here in France than the UK or northern Europe. I think much of what's seen as biologically determined and visceral is actually much more culturally dictated, though I know childlessness is a real grief and very painful for some.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Lucy.

    Yes, we agree. I do not wish to sound defensive, nor wish to give others some reason to be defensive themselves. It is hard to steer in this area. I neither hate kids nor do I think them too much trouble. I readily take as true the claim that the depth of love and bonding with children is an experience not matched anywhere in life.

    I do not agree that there is necessity in such an experience, that I must consider myself lessened in some way since I chose a childless life. There are too many childless people to render that kind of judgement. However, this is more a European lifestyle than it is an American one.

  3. I read the first sentence here earlier today and I suppose it laid into me and my experience, and brought forth a poem today. I think on it a great deal, being a parent. It is a surreal situation, me being such a work in progress. How I became ward - it is a cultural mistake we make, I think. We are growing alongside one another, my children and me. I don't think they know this. Don't think they will fully understand that until they are perhaps about my age now. (We are culturally mmisdirected by the ward notion, I think.)

    I had a couple of very specific experiences that I feel may have been planted in my life to have me feel, prompt me to feel, an urge to become a parent. Without those two situations I'm not sure I would have. (And looking at this response in and of itself, the planting of notion, I wonder what the hell it is I really believe, the river of belief that runs below my consiousness? Ha! I betray/reveal myself sometimes.)

    It is a wound both to have and have not children, I think, one that we grow with either way.

    I like to think of a child of yours though. I like to think of meeting them at the many different decades of their life. What might they be like? Ohhhh. It is a good and rich imagining.


  4. I know its too late at night for me too blog, i'm too soft, too close to crying. You know i'm still a child, it's hard to have a child when you're a child(me). I 'm always good with children in the way you say too. So maybe part of you never grew up either. because that's how it is with me, they look after me, i just play.
    Maybe not all of us need to have children, because we didn't forget about that little kid within us. I'm just kind of dreaming it up, how the world is perfect no matter how you look at it

    sweet dreams love, jozien

  5. I don't know how to reply except to say that I love you, Erin.

    I love you, Jozien. Yes, perhaps if I can play like a child I do not "need" a child. Yet there is surely far more to a child appearing in one's life than to get reminded of childhood. :D

  6. this is quite lovely and struck a deep chord in me. I was apart from the child I had given over to adoption until we reunited a little over two years ago. I feel your longing and the properness of the choice, and mostly I feel the love.
    so well done.

  7. It is true, Harlequin, I love children.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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