The Road Not Taken
Choices: some simply must be made ~what’s for dinner?~ and some set parameters for the rest of our lives ~should I have children? The answer to the latter has always been abundantly clear to me. It is entirely without regret that I have abdicated my option of reproduction.
Choices: to turn one way and put the rest behind, to be seen no more. The significant turning points in our lives put us on the path which will be ours, divergent from all others’.
What if somewhere down that road we could look over our shoulder to where those other paths have led? Not in the There but for the grace of God go I sense of the bullet dodged, but rather to pick a swatch from the life of one who chose the other, whose destiny it was to do so. What might my life have been were that the path for me?
Watching good friends commit parenthood is fascinating. Our friends are not so different from ourselves. We share interests, values, and amusements. But whatever may have been similarly most important to us has changed. Now they are responsible for bringing up a human being, safe and sane. That is huge. They are crafting the people who will run the world when we are old.
The friends who came to visit most recently were ever concerned that their child was an imposition because we have none and are not family. To begin with, hogwash. We are all too far away from our families to cling to traditional roles of who we may ask for what. If we can be the bad influence and horrible warnings to the next generation in our own family, we can surely do it for yours.
Secondly, it is no imposition; you are my friends and this is your life. It was a privilege to be present when the fetus was remodeling, as close as I will ever be to that mystery. It was a joy to see your little boy’s first experience of the sea. If you were an athlete, I would watch and cheer you on. If you were a writer, I would read your work just because it is yours. You are a parent and it is an honor to have a place, however sporadic, on your road, to share the milestones that I may, and watch the incredible, enormous, life-affirming job you do.