I’ve made no secret that my wife and I are on a quest to start a family. And when I use the word “quest,” it sounds all Medieval-y and it makes me want to say that I’m trying to “sire an heir” like a fifteenth century king. Except I don’t plan on having my wife’s head cut off.
Yes, my vast* fortunes and family name will all pass away with me, unless I become a dad.
And so far, our quest has been unfruitful. Another Father’s Day has passed, and no one gave me a tie or some drill bits or a coupon book for free hugs.
But I’m actually not boo-hooing. I’m not disappointed. I’m actually glad to have savored one more childless non-Father’s Day.
If that sounds bizarre, I admit, it is. But here’s why I’m glad to still not be a dad.
What If They Find Out Their Dad is a Human?
I’ll admit, a good deal of being glad to not have sired an heir has to do with fear.
I know in my mind that I want a kid. But when it comes down to the real possibility, suddenly I don’t know so much.
Because there will be several Father’s Days when my kids think I’m awesome. Any dad, no matter how lousy he is gets a few free years of being looked up to by the chit’lins.
But then…sooner or later, kids realize that Dad is human. He’s not a superhero. He’s not perfect. He needs forgiveness and grace.
What If My Kid Is Not a Human?
My wife got mad at me the other day because I was whining at her, the way I imagined our kid would some day. I was being a real pest. I thought I got a free pass to make fun of our kid, since he hasn’t even been conceived yet.
But here’s the thing, and it’s going to sound awful. Every parent thinks their new baby is perfect. They can’t imagine their kid doing anything wrong. But like children, parents eventually learn that their kids are human. So, what if my kid turns out lousy? Like, not just a disappointment, but a full-on failure at being a civilized human being?
You know at least one of these families. One kid turns out great. For whatever reason, the other kid is a hellion. I’ve told myself that I wouldn’t constantly bail out a kid who was always getting in trouble. I wouldn’t mortgage my house or cancel my retirement to keep a kid out of jail or raise an illegitimate grandchild while my kid is in high school.
But, I’ll admit it, I just don’t know what I’d do. What if my kid ruins my life?
Some of the best people have had crappy kids. Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth President, died in poverty. Why? Because she had a hell-raising son who they constantly bailed out.
The No-Kids-Allowed Club
This last one may sound truly weird if you haven’t been in the club. But my wife and I recently admitted to each other that we were kind of halfway hoping that the latest round of baby-making medical procedures wouldn’t actually work.
Why would we want an expensive medical intervention to fail and put us another couple of months away from our dream? Because we’re insane.
And because we find ourselves in a very unexpected and exclusive club. It’s the can’t-get-knocked-up club. There’s only one way into the club, and once the pee stick says “+,” you’re out. No kids allowed in the club. It’s a club with diminishing membership, and we really treasure the opportunity to share war stories and prayers with other couples. It’s not a club that we planned on being a part of, but we’re enjoying being a part of it.
Plus, there are couples that have struggled a lot longer than us and deserve a kid more. If we got pregnant already, it wouldn’t be that great of a war story. Or something like that.
Well, that’s probably the only Father’s Day post you’ll ever read in praise of non-fatherhood. So help me out. When did your kids realize you were human? When did you realize they were human? And is being in the parent club as good as the non-parent club?