The Talk About Having Kids Now
There was no one single conversation that led me to this point, it just happened over time, I grew tired of talking about kids I did not have.
Some women might be surprised to know, men talk about the idea of having kids just as much as women. No we don’t have to worry about the biological makeup of our bodies one day putting the kibosh on our ability to make a baby, but I’ve heard plenty of men say they’re not trying to be some old ass dad. They want to have kids too by a certain age. But even before that time in their life, I’ve heard men talk about what kind of kids they want, how they want to raise them, since those men were boys. I too would partake in the conversation innocently.
I remember in sixth grade, one of my classmates had rules by his parents that were so strict my friends and I constantly made fun of him until one day he said, “You know, I’m going to raise my kids the way I’m being raised.” A reminder, this was sixth grade. We all laughed at him, but then it led to this conversation about what kind of rules we were going to enforce, whether or not we were going to spank our kids, and all that other stuff that is fun to talk about. Only a few years ago, the only men in my life who were receiving a Happy Father’s Day were men much older than me. Guys my age would only say it to one another as a joke, sort of like a prank call to one another that would go like this.
HOMIE 1: Yo, happy Father’s Day.
HOMIE 2: Man, get out of here.
HOMIE 1: What? I know you got a kid out there somewhere.
HOMIE 2: Yeah, you’re my son.
We would then laugh, because we knew the idea of us as fathers was a joke.
This past weekend, on Father’s Day, I called some of those same men to wish them a Happy Father’s Day because they are indeed fathers now. The men who still aren’t, I don’t play that prank with them anymore, and nor do they with me.
I’m of that age when no one looks at you strange for having children or even expressing a desire to have children. Among my friends who don’t have children, the discussions as to when or if become if not more regular, more real. But the older I get, the less I like to get into hardcore specifics about the kind of kids I’m going to have. This is not to say I’ve changed my mind about whether or not I want kids. As awkward as I always have been around babies, including my own niece, I’ve known I wanted to be a father since I was a kid myself.
But, if there’s anything I’ve learned over time it’s that life’s big moments rarely turn out exactly the way we planned them. Nothing makes me feel like I’m some wide-eyed 16-year-old more than discussing how I’m going to raise my sons or daughters or what they are going to be like. My future children, as it stands right now, are mythical creatures. Talking about what kind of father I am going to be isn’t as fun anymore because these days nobody’s playing.
I don’t own a home, and though I have a career, it isn’t making me the type of money that would allow me to provide for a family. The only thing I’m close to having is a partner with whom I would like to have children, and yeah we talk about it sometimes, but I try not to take it there often.
Just as I’m not as prepared to have kids as I was when I was 22, I’m also not as much in a rush as I was when I was 22. Whereas I used to think I had all the time in the world, I realize that is not the case. I have time, with more years to live than lived, but I don’t have all the time I used to have.
What I have is the knowledge that as much as I want kids, they could come late in life, or they could never come at all. If the latter is the case, there’s always adoption. I’d love to have kids of my own flesh and blood. I want to be a father even more.
But I want to talk about this less than I used to because these kids of mine, the ones I used to imagine having, they’re not real. What’s real is I’m an unmarried man in my early 30s who is still trying to make it and doesn’t feel like he’s close to the end of this chapter. What’s even more real is, I don’t know what the next chapter looks like, and whether it includes kids or not.