Monday, 23 August 2010

A recent revelation.

I realised that if I had a child, it wouldn't be mine it would be ours - of me and its father (or other mother, but that's getting more complex).  I wouldn't be alone with it.  Sounds silly, right?  Yes.  Amazing how obvious it sounds.  But to know it properly felt very strange.  It was one of those dreamlike moments where there is a sudden certainty.  I imagine those who have true religious faith have that feeling sometimes.  It wasn't such a terrifying idea any more, the being solely responsible for another human being thing, because I wouldn't be solely responsible.  It halves the burden, like a partnership is meant to - and you have to have some knowledge of a truly mutual relationship to understand that.  It's only fairly recently that I've begun to have some inkling as to what one of them might be, too.

Not that I'm certain about the procreation thing.  Apart from the biological icky (of which there is plenty...piles, peeing, sleeplessness, nappies, GIVING BIRTH and so on) and even with the sharing element, it's still an enormous thing, the biggest life change I think it must ever be possible to make.  You get over the icky, I guess.  Plenty of elements of being human are icky.  As well as personal responsibility there are more peripheral moral or social elements too.  Hard to think about them, though - human society since the beginning has been about the raising of children, always.  It's one of the basic purposes of civilisation.  Perhaps the basic purpose.  Now, though, one might think about pressure on resources and levels of pollution and so on, and whether it is possible to justify having a child in that environment.  And one also might wonder how we as a nation or indeed wider western society can support our ever greying population if we, those of us in our twenties and thirties, don't have children.  I don't know if the two sides of that quite cancel out.

I have been saying for a while that I'd like to foster children.  Again, there's a selfishness there - if I have care of a child that is not my own flesh and blood, I do not have the same expectation for it or want the same things from it.  I'm not expecting it to enjoy the same things I enjoy or follow the same paths I did - its aptitudes will not be mine.  I will be forced much more to take the child as the starting point, not my own hopes for it.  Of course I would hope I could do that with a biological child as well, but I can see ways it would be much more difficult.  I'm sure there's an element of contrariness, too.  There is in nearly everything I do however much I want to dodge it - 'everyone else wants this, therefore I want something different'.  It's not the same as never ordering the same as anyone else in a restaurant though.  It would be nice to do some good.  I've had a lot.  Some kids get abandoned at the age of 3.  I suspect that it would require some large lifestyle shifting.  I haven't researched it enough, it's not as though it's something I am in any way ready for now, and probably not for another decade.

I'm less anti than I was.  I used to say nevernevernever.  It's hard to imagine having kids later in your life because it's very difficult to comprehend where you will be later in your life, particularly when you're still a kid yourself.  I'm still a kid myself.  Aren't I?  I feel like a kid.  I find myself thinking about it more and more.  There's 30, that magic number after which incidences of genetic malfunction increase dramatically.  It's four and a bit years away.  Boys don't have that deadline.  I sort of feel I have to have made a decision by then, I guess.  Four and a bit years often doesn't seem long enough.  I fall back like everyone else on 'wait and see'.  I don't want to miss now in worrying about then.  But I don't want to miss then for being too caught up in now.