Sunday, October 28, 2007

Coming Soon.

One of the things that I've made an effort to avoid writing about is the quickly approaching fatherhood that awaits me in a few short months. Part of the reason I've held off in commenting in detail is that one never knows what's going to happen during pregnancy. The last thing I wanted was to get too worked up about the prospect of a child, only to be later devastated by some complication. As time goes on though, it looks more and more like a sure thing. Another equally compelling reason to keep mum on the issue is that children are a bit like farts. While we may be fascinated by the babies we make, very few others want to be bothered, and a sizable minority would like to avoid them altogether. I was never very interested in the subject of newborn humans, and generally found them boring when I encountered them. It's not that I never felt like patting their little heads, but I definitely didn't want to get any of their fluids on me.

I'm hoping to remember just how boring I found the talk concerning other people's kids. I suppose this very post is undermining that purpose. I'd rather not get into the habit of reporting all the mundane little progressions that my little tyke displays. Let's face it- they don't really have anything good to say until they are about 3 years old. And even then it's mostly incongruities that we are looking for. I'm sure that the first time my little whelp lets out a string of obscenities, I'm going to be necessarily tempted to transcribe them for a general audience. Still I could do a pretty convincing job of improvisation, and none would be the wiser.

The reason I'm even mentioning any of this is because there are a bunch of couples among my friends who have recently given birth, or are preparing to do so in the near future. If my little corner of the world is any indication, we are experiencing another baby boom. Certainly there are many unfortunate aspects to a reality in which we increase the world's population. I've even considered whether or not it is even a moral act to bring another child into this mess.Yet it seems like a foregone conclusion- this is (after all) what humans do. While that's not necessarily sufficient justification, it serves for most. So here we are, me and my friends, spitting out these flesh packets of sheer dependency. I've gotten a glimpse of the next 18 years of my life. My social circle is soon to adopt an overwhelming topic of conversation... child-rearing. We'll entertain ourselves with cute stories, and second guess each other's parenting methods. Sound like a blast to you?

Generally I've tried to get away from any kind of speculation about how my life is about to change. Couldn't it be possible that the people that warn me that my individuality is now in indefinite suspension are overreacting? Why must I live my life through this new being? Isn't it possible that some crucial balance exists, whereby I can continue to follow my passions while still being a responsible father? Am I going to have the time to pursue some of the things I consider indispensable? You'd be surprised at how many folks are ready to write me off completely. It's as if they expect me to suddenly adopt baby talk as my primary language. I'm reasonably sure that I'm still going to be enthralled by the darker corners of life. I expect to strive for a happy medium.

When I look around me and see what other people with kids do with whatever spare time they have, I am heartened by the implied possibility. There are actively-working artists who have both jobs and children to take care of. Others still find plenty of time to devote to interests as demanding as bad television, sports fandom and golf. I realize something is going to have to give. I don't need to be going out as often as I do. Maybe I could spend less time wasting my energy online. No matter what, I don't think that ceding my outlets of self-expression will be good for me or the baby. The last thing a growing child needs is to be around constantly frustrated parents. At the same time, I realize that being responsible for another person's life is going to expand my emotional depth and maturity. Perhaps my artwork and writings will reflect that. If not, at least I have a substantial backlog of experience and product to fall back on.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dagrims said...

To answer your questions in paragraph four:

no;

because that will become the most important part of your life;

sure, but you won't be able to be as passionate about as many things;

you'll make the time.

For those of us who put forth an effort (and I'm not talking a Herculean effort here), parenting just seems to fall into place. Use common sense and intuition, and rely much less on what everyone else suggests. Read a lot about parenting, and cherry pick what seems best. Don't forget to ask others when weird stuff happens; guarantee that you're not the first parents it's happened to.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this experiment turns out.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

dagrims,

I appreciate the insights. I trust that (given the fact that you may have particular insights into any genetic legacy I find myself conflicting with) you'll be available for suggestions now and again.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous jefg said...

I could be as well; that is, if you'd want to ask for any advice, considering you as well as anyone know the results of my efforts.

For what it's worth (or, perhaps, for better or worse), I don't remember putting too much conscious effort into raising kids. I should have read more...I didn't. I could have talked more with others about child-raising..I didn't. I should have e been more contemplative about where we were headed..I wasn't. Time simply passed and things just happened and worked out. In retrospect, there are things I could have, or should have, done differently. But, no regrets. Things did work out, and looking back as well as forward, I am very happy with how things turned out and life as it is.

I think Dagrims advice is spot on. I'd only add that, ideally, you should not have to rank which is the most important part of your life. Your kid(s), your significant other, yourself...they are ALL the most important thing in your life. If you can someday look back and say; Yes, I lived for my kids, I lived for my spouse, and I lived for myself, life would be good. A life lived in that way cannot go far offtrack.

10:29 AM  

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