Growing up, I always believed there were things you were just supposed to do. When I was a teenager, I believed that the proper path in life was to finish high school, attend and graduate college, and find a career. Along the way, I thought that find a girlfriend, settle down, get married, and have kids was to occur concurrently with the pursuit of education and a career. For me though, that path in life had some significant speed bumps. For one thing, I wasn’t one of those high school kids who knew what he wanted to do with life. Even in my senior year of high school, I still had no clue what college major I wanted to declare. I had no clue what career field I wanted to enter, nor what job I wanted to have after college. Many would argue that such things aren’t necessary to know as a senior in high school, and looking back with hindsight, I agree. But as a teenager surrounded by others who had their lives planned out, and living in a society that pushes the message of the one true and proper path in life, I felt that it was important to plot the course of my life. That I couldn’t was a bit frustrating. Adding to that, and perhaps more significantly, was the inner turmoil I was going through as I tried to come to grips with my sexuality. I did not come out of the closet until roughly 20. But even when I was closeted and trying hard to be heterosexual, I didn’t have any urge to get married to a woman one day, even as I knew that the rules in our culture say that’s exactly what I was supposed to do. The thought of marrying a woman literally wasn’t anything I saw in my future. Nor was the thought of having children.
As I drifted through my 20’s, I took several jobs in the service industry, dropped out of college (because I still didn’t know what I wanted to major in, let alone do for the rest of my life), and began dealing with my sexuality. While I knew I was never going to marry a woman, I began to change my outlook on kids. I began to want children. I don’t really know the reasons why. I’m sure there was a cultural component to it. After all, I grew up in a society where it was expected for men and women to get married and have kids. That cultural narrative of the family was (and still is) reinforced throughout society. No matter the reason, the desire was there. Of course there’s a lot more to having children than saying “I want kids” and for all that the desire was there, I never reached a point where having them was a serious consideration.
For one thing, I wanted to be in a stable field before I became a parent. I didn’t want to rely on the highly erratic nature of the service industry as a parent looking to provide for his family. In addition, I wanted biological children and I had no idea how I’d go about it. Just as important-I didn’t want to raise a child by myself. I didn’t think for a second that a family consisting of one parent and one or more children was “lesser” or inadequate (and I still don’t). I felt (and still feel) that single parent families are every bit as legitimate as families with differing makeups. But for me, I felt (and continue to believe) that a two-parent household (regardless of the gender of the parents) made for the ideal scenario with which to raise a child. And since I’ve never had a relationship last longer than 3 months (and as of this writing, I’ve been single for 13 years), any thoughts of having kids were academic at best. Even now, as I approach 40 (hello there December 16, you’re creeping up fast) I still want kids, though the prospect becomes dimmer and dimmer as I get older. One thing has changed in the last decade: I think adoption is a better option. There are so many children around the country (and the world) without homes. Without caring families. Without the love that children desperately need. And I think I have that love to give. I think I could be a father and I hope to be one day.