I've been going through a period of adjustment these past few days. I didn't realise it until just a few minutes ago, and once I realised it, I had to write about it in here.
For a long time now, I've been a devotee of the selfish attitude, where you do things only for your personal happiness – as long as it does not detract from the happiness of others. Well, something is changing in my life. And I think I'm happy about it.
Let me go back to a beginning…
For as long as I have known I was able to be a father, I've never wanted kids of my own. I have never felt the desire to have my own kids. In fact, I've had an aversion to it. I thought that my ideal situation was to be with a woman who already had kids. I've been thinking it was because I didn't want to go through the experience of raising kids from birth.
However, I've known that it's related to my own childhood. It was never a good one, and I never wanted to run the risk of repeating the patterns that a lot of kids have programmed into them by their own parents. I never wanted to be the kind of father that my father was to me.
In the past few days, this has really come to a head. It's become a serious issue which has needed resolving.
Michelle wants kids. She really, really wants kids. When she was here on Easter, her and I discussed it briefly, and I expressed my aversion to the idea, but I was happy to possibly end up adopting. A few days ago (Thursday), this came up in a conversation with Scot's new girlfriend. She was horrified that I could consider 'forcing' a woman to adopt when she was capable of having her own. At the time, I just shrugged and said 'deal with it'. On Friday, that conversation came up between Scot and I, and he said that she was ready to rip my jugular out, but – after discussion continued and she learnt something about my childhood – she realised that my attitude was based on my own bad childhood and she forgave me. This really made me think about my past and what I was doing right now with Michelle. I realised how cruel my attitude was, and I was shocked at how insensitive I was.
On Friday night, in a web-phone conversation with Michelle, she was really depressed about her day and things that were happening in her life. I was doing my best to provide love and support and understanding. Then she started talking about the possibility of losing her job, and ending up having to leave New Zealand and return to England. She suggested that a good way of preventing that was that when I come over there, I marry her. At this very point, I spat the dummy and got depressed myself. Michelle and I almost split up then and there. I felt she was trying to pressure me into marriage and kids, and I wasn't ready or willing – therefore I felt that I would end up hurting her too much in the future if I continued the relationship. I let the conversation deteriorate to a point where she was 'letting me go and telling me we'd always be friends'. I didn't want this though! And neither did she. So after another couple of hours of conversation, a few things were resolved.
After much discussion, it was discovered by me that my issue with kids was based around the fact that I believed I was a mistake. By being a mistake, I caused my parents some incredible unhappiness, as they never wanted to be together – they only got married because my mum accidentally got pregnant. For my entire childhood, I had it drummed into me that I was a mistake, that if it wasn't for me, they'd both be much happier living different lives with different partners. I was the blame for all their mistakes. As a susceptible child, I was brainwashed into believing that was true.
During this discussion with Michelle, allowing all this shit to rise to the surface, I realised that the real reason I didn't want kids was because I didn't want to make the same 'mistake'. I didn't want the responsibility of causing the unhappiness of the woman I got pregnant, and having us both blame the child/ren that would be born and grow, and having them feel the same way I felt. My entire existence was based around the belief that getting married and having children was a mistake. No wonder I never wanted to get married or have kids!!!
The 'crisis' between Michelle and I was resolved somewhat by her stating that if she could be with me when I didn't want kids or to get married, or to be with someone who did want kids and to get married, then she'd choose me – because she loved me and that was all that was important to her, and that she's never found anyone like me anywhere else.
I was amazed! Immediately the 'pressure' came off, and again I was amazed at how much this woman must love me. She was prepared to sacrifice everything that she believed in, just to be with me.
We had a nice conversation last night and tonight – everything was back to normal in regards to our relationship. We were happy and she is definitely over her depression right now. We had a fun chat tonight, it was excellent.
However, earlier today was the next step in my adjustment.
Miss X – who I've mentioned before – wanted my company today, as she went to see her children for Mothers Day (they live an hour or so away in a town called Cooma). Her ex husband has been giving her a lot of shit, and she needed my support. This was fine by me. I love her dearly, she's a wonderful friend, so it was good to be there for her. We spent half a day with her kids, and during that time I observed her how I've never seen her before – with her kids. She was so happy, and it was obvious that it was a wonderful thing for her to be with them on this special day. I watched her happiness, and how she interacted with them. It was a nice time for me as well, even though I sat and just watched for most of the time. I did let her son play with a game on my mobile phone… I think he liked that. Miss X liked that too… she told me that doing stuff like that makes kids relate to you more, when you can appeal to their interests and be on a similar level to them. I thought more about the ways I have interacted with kids in the past.
The latest part of my 'adjustment process' is what just occurred that made me start writing this. I was talking to a friend on ICQ, and she's been having some problems with her teenage children. In response to her problems, I wrote the following:
all I really can suggest is that you hang in there.
I know it's hard… I was a hard child to manage… and they may end up hating you or you ending up hating them… but they need their mother
and I think that if you give them all you can give and continue hanging in there, they aren't going to hate you
they're just going through a difficult time right now, and this really is when they need you there for them
separate yourself from yourself and try to see life through their eyes, no matter how hard you find it
Suddenly I realised something! After I wrote and sent that message to her – and then read what I sent – I realised that I've changed! Before tonight, I just would not have known what to say to a mother about her children. If anything, I would have either ignored it or told her to concentrate on her own happiness, and she'd then help cause the happiness of those around her. But tonight I didn't say that.
Instead, I said that she needs to be there for her children. I said that they are more important than what she's going through right now. I said that is the responsibility she has as a mother. I said that I see children differently now – I see them as being important and needing love, regardless of their actions.
I realised I see children differently now – I am relating more to the idea of being a parent! I'm beginning to feel that it's ok to have kids, and to raise them with the love and understanding that I never had. In fact, as I write this, I am also seeing an opportunity to right the wrongs of my own past. Is that a good enough reason to have kids? I don't know. I know that I've got a lot more issues to work out, and I also know that I'm beginning to believe Michelle will be the one who'll stick around long enough to help me work them out. I have to thank Scot's girlfriend for helping as well – she's the one who brought this to a head, and it's continued positively from there. (I'll be sending this to her via email to Scot.) Miss X played a part as well, allowing me to see her fully appreciate her time with her kids.
These past few days have certainly been an eye-opener. Again… stay tuned for more opening eyes.
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