Saturday, May 7, 2011
I never had children. This has been a conscious choice renewed throughout my life, not accidental or as far as I know, a failure of my biology in any way. By the time I was nineteen my young life had hit a wall of misery so profound that I realized I had no business bringing another soul into the world.
As an older child myself, I loved the younger kids, loved hanging out with them and my ability to swing them around, among all the other things. I love children. Quite often they love me. The conundrum that confronted me, my parents were wise and dedicated, trained teachers who understood child psychology as it was known in their day. They raised me and brought another family member in trouble into our home to raise as my sister. They did absolutely and without question the best they could.
As for myself, I was a childhood asthmatic who suffered from a serious allergic condition, but even there my folks came through, eventually giving me a course of treatment with an outstanding allergy specialist who uncovered when I was twelve the hidden food allergy that was driving all that disease. My recovery in a couple years was nearly complete, except that I stay away from certain foods. By then of course I had been through extended periods of asthma so severe I could not even run a short distance without bringing on an attack. I was an only child until sixth grade when my sister came to us, herself in fourth grade. I had learned to live as an isolate.
As all parents must risk, so my parents took risks with me trying to raise me as a most excellent child with a chance of growing into a decent man. Much of it worked, but some of it didn't. The critical point was, that by nineteen I was desperate, lacking something but not knowing what, unable to even ask, even if there was any way for someone to answer should I be able to voice the question. I felt locked away from my own life stream, that death was coming soon because I could not see a way to survive. That drove me to desperate measures, acting out and generally fouling my own nest so that my outsides matched my insides, that at least I was living consistently and not hypocritically.
What this meant to me, even the best parents cannot control the nose dive their kids might take. I would not ever bring a kid of my own into that risk, not ever let a child of mine hit the misery I was experiencing even though my parents were as good at parenting as any I knew on the planet. I knew I could not control that risk and it was too big. It was real. It was too much.
So even though I delighted in kids, I decided in that moment of despair I would never knowingly bring one into this world. At this end of my life I still feel I made the right choice. It has been my destiny in this life to remain childless.
(whose son, Alexander, is training to be a paramedic)
This most amazing
moment in my day, she's seen
her son hold new life
as dearly as she holds
his own in her memory,
an unbroken chain
of love after life,
life after love that comes from
the heart of her hope.
May 7, 2011 4:27 PM