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20 July 2003 @ 12:00 am
Tick, tock  
I just spent the day with a two-year-old. I actually have fun when I'm around him, but it takes a lot of energy, and it makes me realize that I'm not ready to be a parent, and I may never be.

This doesn't particularly grieve me. It seems awfully wasteful, though. Here I have all this equipment, in prime condition for generating young (as far as I know, anyway), and it's no use to me. It seems unenvironmental to possess a resource that one does not intend to use -- particularly if there is a market seeking to use that same resource.

If our science were much further along, I think I'd just donate all this bodily equipment to some man out there who wanted children but for some reason didn't have a willing woman available. (For that matter, I'd be willing to donate to a woman who needed replacement parts.)

Yes, I've considered surrogacy and adoption, but I'd prefer any of my spawn to be breast-fed if possible, and that leads to bonding, and it's all downhill from there.

Then again, I'd be very particular about how any child arising from any configuration of my contribution was raised (or reared, for those who believe raising is for crops rather than children). I don't want to take part in creating a person who would act against my principles, or who would be abused, or who wasn't given educational opportunities and a respect for them, or who would become indoctrinated as a strong adherent of some condemnatory religion -- at least, not without some chance to try to work against those possibilities.

In addition, I'd want to be able to impose a limit: "This product may not be used to generate more children than there are adults involved." This is the "replacement" theory of population control: you may have enough children to replace yourselves, but you should not have more children than that. (Your more aggressive ZPGers and VHEMTers would argue against even that many.)

In the end, this means that I would either have to become an active parent myself or have to let the opportunity pass. It's not that I "hear the clock ticking" in the traditional sense, but I am becoming more aware that my window of opportunity is limited.

I don't want kids now. I don't want kids any time soon. I need more private time, more time to "get to know myself", before I'll be ready to sacrifice that opportunity forever. Right now, since I haven't yet had the chance to live completely independently and perhaps grow tired of that, I'm not ready to commit myself to another living being -- even another cat. (I feel like such a "guy" for this.) I want to spend some time without interpersonal obligations being imposed by anyone else before I "settle down".

Right now I'm content to be an "aunt", whether to T (the toddler) or to my housemate's cats. I just don't want to be the primary caregiver/owner/guardian/responsibility-holder. I just don't know whether I'll look back fifteen or twenty or thirty years from now and say, "If only ...".

Of course, it's not as if I have to plan my entire future right now, or this year, or any time particularly soon. I'm just not enjoying the awareness that there will eventually be a deadline.

Men have it easy (in this respect, anyway).