On having kids

وقت القراءة: 4 دقائق

I wasn’t one of those guy who imagined himself with a family. I had a friend who always talked about having a bunch of kids when he got married, but the thought had never even occurred to me. Maybe because I thought I was going to die young. For some reason I’d gotten it into my head that I was going to die at twenty-seven like all those rock stars, even though I was nothing like a rock star. If not twenty-seven, then I figured definitely by my early forties, just like my father.

The thing about growing up believing you’re going to die young is that you never think about the future. It makes you reckless, and stupid, and you definitely don’t think about things like having kids.

But I didn’t die at twenty-seven, and as I kept getting older, I watched as my friends found their significant others, and got married, and some even started having kids. I remember once attending a dinner and being the seventh wheel and telling myself, I’m never going out with these people again.

I figured it was too late. I’d already made too many mistakes. I didn’t think I’d ever get married, let alone have kids. And then I met my wife in the most unexpected way, introduced by that one friend you’ve learned over the years that he is not to be trusted with anything, especially not when it comes to introducing you to a girl.

So I was a bit surprised when I arrived at the bar and saw her for the first time. Honestly, I didn’t think I had a chance after our first date. Maybe when I was younger, I thought, before I’d screwed everything up, but we ended up getting married within a year.

Neither of us were really that eager about having kids. Me, because I’d never really thought about it, and her, because, despite wanting to hold every baby she comes into contact with, she was terrified by the idea of giving birth. Not just the physical pain, but the fear of all the possible things that could go wrong when having a baby.

I’m writing this post because lately I see all these people like Elon trying to convince folks to have babies, but I don’t know that just telling people to have babies is actually going to persuade them to do so. And now that we live in a world where we’ve got Google AI trying to persuade us not to have babies, I figure it’s time for the humans to fight back.

My oldest son was born about a year and a half after our wedding. The reality of becoming a father didn’t hit me until my son had officially entered the world. I’d been up for almost 24 hours when he finally arrived, all gooey and crying with his eyes squeezed shut against the brightness of the room. But as exhausted as I was, I couldn’t sleep, because I couldn’t take my eyes off of my son just in case he stopped breathing. I wanted to make sure I was awake so I could alert the nurses if anything went wrong. He seemed so precious, and fragile, but I guess he was already a lot stronger than I thought, because he was fine.

I’m lucky to be able to say I’m the father of two boys, both of whom I obviously love dearly. Watching them grow up over the years has been my life’s greatest reward. I mentioned in my last post how I’ve always felt like I’m a selfish person, but not so with my boys. They bring out the best in me, not because I want them to love me, but because I love them.

I’m guessing the love a parent has for their child might be the closest you could ever get to feeling unconditional love, because when you see your beautiful baby, whether they’re one day old, or thousands of days old, it feels like your love will never run out.

While I didn’t imagine having kids when I was younger, now I can’t imagine my life without them. For me, it’s ultra special because I see so much of me and my younger brother in my own boys that it’s like seeing what it might have been like if we’d gotten a second chance, if things hadn’t turned out the way they did.

I love being home with my family. I love playing with my kids, and hanging out with my wife, and knowing there are people who not only love me, but also depend on me. It gives my life meaning. It gives me purpose to strive for a better future for my sons to grow up in.

But I’m also going to be honest and say that it isn’t always easy. There can be difficult times, times of frustration, and despair, and not every family will make it, but even then I can’t imagine ever regretting having your children.

I know some people don’t want to have kids, or can’t have kids, and that’s okay. But I just wanted to put this out there for anyone who might be indifferent like I once was, or if you’re not sure whether you want to have kids or not. I obviously can’t tell you what to do, but I say go for it, because I promise you won’t regret it.

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