February 7, 2010

Already Here

Parenting has got to be the hardest thing to do.

You're just going along with your life, enjoying being married, and BOOM- here comes a baby. It's never happened to me, but I can imagine. I can imagine the scared feeling that creeps into the pit of your stomach as you drive your newborn child home, realizing, for the first time, that he or she is your's, and you're now responsible for his or her life. It's got to be overwhelming, the sense of confusion as you come to grips with the fact that you can read all the books on it that you want, but this baby isn't like the others. It's unique, and, even more scary, it's your's. It isn't an abstract concept in some Dummy's Guide book anymore. It's real, and it's here to stay...

It seems terrifying.

But, at the same time, no parent I've ever talked to regrets the changes they were forced to make. It seems that, along with this abject horror, there comes a beautiful and complex purpose, wrapped up in the past, present, and future of this thing, this child, this person. So maybe parenting isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. Maybe it's the best thing. I guess it depends on your perspective.

Many people can't, or don't, see the beauty, though. People, like myself, who just haven't experienced it for themselves. Everything we think on the matter is nothing but speculative opinion.

I've heard people say, quite seriously, that they don't want to have children, not because of how scary it is, but because of the world that surrounds us. Because of the tumultuous chaos that is our modernity. "Who would want to subject a child to this?" They ask. And, you know what? I'm inclined to agree with them. This world is a hard, cruel place, full of pain, anger, and suffering. I certainly wouldn't wish that on my child.

But, then again, would I wish it on someone else's?

That's what I can't understand. Why those same people don't look around them and realize that there are millions of children who are already here. Who wouldn't think that they could make some poor orphan's future brighter by providing some kind of home? No matter what, it's better than none at all, right?

So yeah, I wouldn't wish this world upon any of my future children. And maybe I'm being overly-optimistic, filled with the idealism of someone who has yet to grapple with the reality of parenthood. But I would like to think that I would be open to taking in one or two children who are already here.