Letting Go: The Freedom You Gain By Accepting What Can’t Be Changed

Years ago, a friend had a small party for her son’s fifth birthday.

I was expecting to spend most of the party talking to the other adults.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, at the insistence of my friend’s son, I spent most of the party entertaining him and the other children.

Occasionally, I would escape to the living room to talk to the other adults.

But before long my friend’s son would emerge from his bedroom and drag me back to play with him and the other kids.

The truth is that I didn’t mind. In fact, I actually enjoyed the attention.

And what happened at the birthday party has been the story of my life.

Kids have always been drawn to me, and vice versa.

Children draw out parts of my personality that adults rarely see: my silly side, my creative side, my playful side.

I’m an expert at improvising engaging games and activities for children.

And of course, I always join in the fun!

And yet, despite the natural affinity that I have for children, for most of my adult life I’ve been indifferent to having my own kids.

I’ve seen firsthand from family members and from friends how much responsibility children are.

And the truth is that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take on that responsibility.

My feelings toward having children changed as I got older and entered my forties.

I realized that I really did want to start a family and that having a child was my most important goal.

Unfortunately, I have reached a point where I seriously doubt that I will ever achieve my goal of having a child.

My forty-seventh birthday is rapidly approaching.

And my wife will soon turn thirty-nine.

Granted, we could still become parents.

The truth, though, is that I have reservations about having a child at my age, knowing that I’d be responsible for caring for someone into at least my mid sixties.

And I worry about what would happen to my child if I were to die when they were still young.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. For anyone with similar thoughts.
    Of course there is no way to arrive at either decision with absolute certainty. Assuming I could readily provide life’s basic necessities, if I decided I really wanted a child, I would next direct my thoughts to what the child’s experience in the world would likely be. I have three children, one of whom would not have chosen to be born. I would consider questions such as: What does, and will, our global world look like in their lifetime? Will they have an opportunity to grow and contribute most days without having to struggle? Can I build a loving and responsible circle of support for my child (particularly if I am no longer around)? What if the child is born with mental and/or physical challenges?
    I know I sound gloomy – it’s not my natural character (I too, am the big kid on the playground). Having kids is way more than providing seemingly incessant time, money, energy, and loving guidance. As I and my kids get older I think about what I’m leaving my kids with when I’m gone.
    My caring thoughts.

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