My wife is becoming increasingly eager to have a baby. We are surrounded by couples that have at least one, some more. It seems inevitable. Some friends have warned me not to openly resist it too much, that is dangerous, they warn.
It's not that I am opposed to having a baby. I'm only vaguely opposed to spending the rest of my life taking care of it. I'm 42 now, so it will be the rest of my life, possibly more.
Some people tell me that they think I will be a great father. I have my reservations. I'm sure everybody sets out to be a great father. There is always the ideal, and then the reality of the thing. I see the mistakes of others. The mistakes that I can not be certain that I won't make.
I think of my own father. How I hated him for many years without understanding why. That anger still bubbles to the surface sometimes but I can never be sure of the source. I can not trace it back to the spring to cap it off. It's as if I lived with it as a reality for so long that a part of me doesn't want to admit that perhaps I was mistaken. I realize that I wasn't totally mistaken, but that it was perhaps circumstantial, and now circumstances have changed. He is older and has no need to correct or guide me any longer, the enactment of which angered me to no end.
How dare he, the nerve, etc.
We talk more comfortably now than ever before, but there were the many other years when we did not talk at all. I worry about that. Perhaps my child will detest me for a decade or more, that nothing I do will be right. I will be old and out of touch from their world. This creature who I helped to give life, who I would do anything for, but can do nothing to reach, with whom I might not be able to have a simple conversation. I worry about that.
The children of others make me happy. All of the cliches about childhood are right there in front of you, and they are all true. They are dynamic and surprising yet selfish and unreasonable. They say the most marvelously intuitive and insightful things, only because they are seeing one aspect of how things truly are, aware of an aspect of life that we have perhaps long ignored or forgotten, or overlooked in the first place, substituting function, purpose or outcome for initial sensation and wonder.
I worry, I wonder... function, purpose...