« on: July 03, 2008, 03:40:02 am »
Becoming a parent is weird. They say it "changes a person forever," but "they" say a lot of things, most of it bullshit. And I thought the adage about parenthood was bullshit for a while too but now I'm pretty sure they got something right. Being a parent really didn't change who I am, but it has changed just about everything else about me.
It used to be that I didn't give two shits about politics, but as this board is well aware that's all behind me now. I'm still not into the politics of proving how right you are regardless of how wrong you are (I leave that to politicians). But I am for some reason interested in the politics of compromise and making social progress. It's a cliche but I honestly hope that my children get to live in a world that is better than the one I live in.
Also, I think the necessity of understanding what my children want or need at any moment has encouraged my ability to understand people around me. Somehow, the frustration of wanting something and being unable to do it or have it because some little 18" tall fucker is demanding something of his own has made me pretty adept at getting to the root of what people are really looking for and why. That everyone sees things differently is something I've known for a long time but having kids has taught me that I only had an intellectual awareness of that fact, not a real understanding.
But the biggest thing parenthood has changed for me is the way I think about death. Before kids, death wasn't on my short list of things to accomplish, but I my aversion to it was just your average self-interested obsession with staying alive for nonspecific reasons. That hasn't really left of course but now I really hate the idea of dying. Not because I am more afraid of it, but because I feel like I have a responsibility to my children to protect them and teach them, and besides my wife there's not a single person on this planet I've met, who I would really be comfortable leaving my children with permanently. They're all crazy.
Eventually though (if things go according to plan), the children will grow up and they won't need my protection or my guidance anymore. I wonder now if, when that time arrives, I will lose my aversion to death completely. I guess not, since I know plenty of old people with children who don't want to die. But I have to wonder what will come after children that can mean as much as they do, and not feel like an empty excuse to keep polluting the planet with my exhaust.