Friday, May 4, 2007

On the outside looking in…

It's an overcast and cool Friday afternoon. The shopping center is bustling with activity as people get in their last minute shopping before the stores close at seven. The sidewalks are choked with yuppie looking women surrounded by throngs of little rugrats. Rosa sits next to me and waxes poetically about her own daughter. We spend all our waking hours together these days. I keep wondering when she will grow tired of me.

"My daughter wrote me another letter," Rosa says. "She talked about being in prison and how it straightened out her life."

"I can only imagine," I reply.

"I've been in jail plenty of times for prostitution so I can't say much about it."

"Jail sucks," I reply. "I spent a night in jail for drinking and driving and learned my lesson as well."

"A pretty boy like you would get ass raped in prison," Rosa says. "You would be everybody's girlfriend."

I shudder to even think of what Rosa just said.

"When do you go see your daughter?" I then ask.

"The first week in May," Rosa replies. "She is driving here with my granddaughter to see me. I am so nervous."

"My social anxiety would be giving me fits," I retort.

"Don't put that in your mouth," A young mother says to her young son as they pass me and Rosa on our bench.

"I'm glad I and Rachel didn't have any kids," I tell Rosa. "That would have been one helluva mess."

"You would make an awesome father, though," Rosa replies. "I bet being a father would change your life for the better."

"Or drive me even crazier that I already am," I respond as I chuckle and smile. "Can you imagine me with teenagers?"

Rosa laughs and agrees. It certainly would make for an interesting family. But I would never want to pass on this affliction called schizophrenia to my offspring. My mother, her mother, and her mother's mother did. It made for some terrible and chaotic childhoods and lives. This line stops with me. I leave Rosa to walk on home feeling forlorn about the whole topic of parenthood. Somethings were just not meant to be.


Cynnie said...

take your meds....
having kids is way overrated btw..
I love your blog too

david mcmahon said...

G'day Andrew,

You're a gifted writer. Keep up the gerat work.

Did you see that last week's guest judge on Aussiejourno's Weekly Blog Awards had you on his list. You've been there for two weeks running ....

Good luck, mate


justLacey said...

you are right, teenagers can drive a sane person crazy and the responsibility of children is so enormous. (not to mention the guilt.) i think it's noble of you to take the path you have and try not to pass on your schizophrenia. i also know it isn't easy. im glad you have maggie though. she is so beautiful and wonderful. my sister once said a dog is like a good child that never grows up. a fitting description i think and the reson it's so hard when you lose them.

abbagirl74 said...

Well, you might be interested to know what our weather conditions were last night. There was a gigantic tornado that went through Greensburg, Ks which is stated to have been a mile wide. Can you believe that?

Melanie said...

andrew, there are a million ways to live a rich and fullfilling life. parenting is just *one* of an endless number of add-on options when you are crafting your experiences on this planet. in many cultures it is treated in such a way that we often think we aren't "complete" until we have done it, but this is truly just reflexive thinking. consider all the possible outcomes that must be set aside to allow for childrearing. it is an option that excludes many, many other options for living a life. it's a trade-off. not having kids means that you are free to experience a slew of other things instead.

i never thought i would parent, but it ended up happening and i don't regret it, nor would i go back and change things now if i could. however, i am very aware that i was a "complete" person living a "complete" life before children entered it on a 24/7 basis, and i am sad for those who aren't aware of that. as a trade-off for getting the parenting experience, i have not met countless other goals that i had for myself. i am 34 and have not yet backpacked Europe, for instance. and i probably won't get around to it for another decade, if ever. i haven't hiked the Appalachian Trail in one go, and that's another thing i may never get to do once i'm finished getting these girls through college and then spending decades paying off the debts and then (hopefully) safely ensconced in autonomous lives of their own. i had hobbies that were not safe to do around children, such as beadwork, which i set aside and then never ended up picking up again. i honestly can't remember a time when i have been able to sleep in on a weekend morning without someone waking me up in need of's been over a decade, for sure.

i hope what i'm saying is getting through. parenting is just one of many possible options for living a life. just because so many people are all caught up in the dogma of "MUST PROCREATE!!" doesn't make it truly a MUST for anyone. i'm sorry if it's something you would have liked to have done but won't get to do. but please don't think that not having kids somehow makes your life less meaningful, or complete, or worthwhile.

KYRIE said...

Andrew, if tht is how u feel, there are other options too like maybe one day whn ur life is ok u could adopt a child perhaps.
Anyway people or so obsesed with their own flesh n blood tht they forget the countless many children who never even saw their parents' face since birth.Ur dad was there for u but wht bout those passed through the foster care system all through their childhood n teens?
Touching a child's life can be in many ways. Volunteering at the local orphanage or tutoring underprivileged kids can be the simplest yet most meaningful step
I think Melanie makes a lot of sense too.