I Miss Having a Baby
I have two teenagers. They are wondrous people and my best friends, even when they want nothing to do with me. But often when I look at them now, I think about them as babies. How cute they were. How they looked at me. How they needed me.
I find myself near tears at the thought of them just growing up. They aren’t sad tears. They are proud tears. I look at them in amazement. And then I realize if they are this old, then I am this old. F*ck! I see 50 looking at me with his beady little eyes and retirement package in hand, but he is going to have to wait two and a half more years.
In my experience, people don’t expect a man to love babies and children the way I do. It’s just how I am built. Think about adults before the world broke them in some way. That’s a child. Everything is new. Everything is fresh. Everything is epic. And when your baby looks at you and you know they know that you are their everything, well, everything is right with the world.
I love my kids. I am so proud of them. But they are big. I can’t cuddle them. They don’t want to sleep in bed with me anymore. They don’t want to hold my hand crossing the street. They don’t look at me the way they did as toddlers. And it makes me miss having a baby.
What Happens When That Door is Closing
I know that I can have more children. I am physically and emotionally capable. I can be an older dad, but I don’t know if I want to be. I’ve done it. I have one graduating high school this year and one graduating two years after that. I made it! The light at the end of the tunnel is shining on me.
The door is closing in my mind because there are obstacles in the way. The first being that I am happily single after a year of ignoring love. But that also makes me question why that’s the first thing I think of. Why does having a child require that I meet someone to do that with?
That’s certainly the traditional way, but it’s not an absolute. I could adopt on my own. What also troubles me is that there are people who will think this is an odd sentiment coming from a man. A man, who has already fathered two children, who worries about the door closing. Not sorry. This is who I am.
Part of me wants the door to close so I can focus on myself once my kids are in college. But the other part of me knows I don’t know how to do that. And that I might not be comfortable with that. So I am left with this conundrum.
The Dating Dynamic
When I was still online dating, the question of whether I wanted more kids always haunted me. When you online date in a major city like New York, you see a lot of people who are mid-40s, but still want to have kids and that’s not what I wanted to get involved in. Not because I question why they waited so long, but because I didn’t want to be part of a rush to bear a child. I felt like the whole relationship would be on hyperspeed.
So I would go back and forth on how to answer. I came to the conclusion that it was better to say I did not want more children. But inside I wasn’t really sure. I’m still not. By checking that box I eliminated myself from consideration by every woman who still wanted to have a child. And then I realized internet dating was for the birds (for the hundredth time).
Maybe I can’t imagine meeting someone who I want to parent with. Maybe it’s just all histrionics until real life takes over and presents me with that opportunity. Either way, no matter how much I tell myself it will be great to live the single empty nester life, it makes me sad. Because I miss having a baby.
“It is the nature of babies to be in bliss.” — Deepak Chopra
What I Miss About Having a Baby
unconditional love as told through a single smile
the smell of a fresh pack of diapers (I know, weird)
watching him or her sleep so peacefully
the responsibility of a tiny human life
baby food (especially mashed bananas, peaches, and apricots)
watching them do something new every day
cuddling a tiny human for hours
how much they need me (does not translate to adults)
What I Don’t Miss About Having a Baby
baby diarrhea that escapes the diaper
every exersaucer ever made
not being able to sleep a wink for a full year
flying with said baby
getting kicked in the back all night (because co-sleeping is everything)
knowing they will grow up
Why I Miss Having a Baby
Because all I ever wanted to be was a father. And I’ve done it. But I am about to set them free so they can experience the world without me by their side all the time. And I’m scared. Scared that I will hold no value when they are gone.
I know that they will still need me. We all need our fathers no matter how old we are. I miss mine every day, but it’s different with a baby. They can’t tell you how much you mean to them, but you know. Especially at 3 a.m. when they sh*t themselves in your bed.
I miss having a baby because I miss the memories. I miss playing together on the floor. I miss going to the aquarium. I miss when getting one crappy toy at Target was like getting a new car. I miss their little faces. I miss everything about my babies. It’s why I cry every time I look at our old pictures. Not tears of sadness. Tears of joy. Immense f*cking joy.