Perhaps it’s my status as a cancer survivor, but I think about my own mortality a lot.
On Sunday, J and I walked to the Punjabi Burrito place in Fairfax (which, yes, is as magnificent as it sounds!!!). We were having the, “So if this is really happening, what about kids?” conversation.
We’d discussed having kids before. Within the first month of dating, I let him know that I wanted to have children if I could, that it felt really important to me. Two years later, it still does.
Sitting eating a pumpkin basmati rice enchilada(!), I said my reasoning was still partly about sharing this awesome thing called life. As I’d put it then, “Yes, the world is f*cked up and falling apart and dying… but it’s also amazing and fascinating and rich.” As I said to my friend on the phone last night, “Only humans get to experience salted caramel ice cream.”
But I noticed on Sunday something new within me, a new reasoning. I told J that the idea that once we’re gone, that’s it, there would be no one to remember, no legacy to live on, no lineage to carry forward, that it felt empty to me, or sad or like an absence. That, with us, the branches of our family trees stretching back millennia would just end felt … like an incompletion, a void.
I said it reminded me of Macbeth: “Out, out, brief candle!” (To which J replied wryly, gamely, “Yeah, that’s totally what it reminded me of, too.”);)
J’s concerns about having kids are typical ones: the expenditure of time and money. Which, of course, are real, relevant, and not miniscule. But. So what, frankly? All of life’s endeavors require time and money.
I told him that I wasn’t “Closed Book” on the having kids subject, that if he were truly able to lay out a vision of a life together that felt fulfilling (that really did include the pieces he wants that he’s afraid he won’t have if we have kids), that I’m honestly open to listening.
I want fulfillment, too. I want him to feel fulfilled, too.
Our visions are not at odds, but whichever way they go will require openmindedness on the other’s part.
So: We’ll see. This life thing is so good — and I’m so awed it includes salted caramel.