I am sick and tired of people telling me that they can't imagine me having a kid. Close family and vague acquaintances alike seem to agree on this one thing. My point is, you may think so but do you have to say it? Do I say things like "I can't imagine anyone wanting to sleep with you?" Aloud?
Sure, I have never shown much inclination towards being gooey about kids, or even straying too close to their baby-smelling nappies but that doesn’t mean that I can’t raise one. The weird part is, I get along fairly well with kids. I come up with outlandish games to play, I tell stories about Magic Frying Pans and I respect them as real human beings who probably have more going on in their heads than I have had in a while. I treat kids as people I can learn things of value from and that surely beats having kids because "Oooo! they're cho chweet!"
But let’s be honest - it’s hugely expensive to have kids. Even if you don’t take the cost of diapers into account, the cost to your physical and mental well-being is probably in the multi-figures. But that’s not the only thing. When it comes to kids, you have to come face-to-face with the possibility that you may NOT know it all, that you may be wrong about some of your fundamental beliefs, and that there’s an information sponge in your immediate environment who will absorb everything you say and do without any filters. And all of that may lead to the creation of a chauvinistic serial killer with no other skills apart from drawing crayon stick figures on walls.
That said, if there was a system of giving licenses to people who should be allowed to have kids, I would think I'd qualify. That’s because my kids - adopted and otherwise - will grow up to be independent thinking, self-sufficient individuals with a robust sense of the ridiculous. From an early age, they’ll understand that food comprises of things found in the refrigerator, that most things they see on television is a lie and without words like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’, nothing gets done including the laundry.
But they'll also know how to take the temperature of the room, how to laugh easily and they'll discover that the answer to the question "why?" isn't always "because I said so” and that they could see variations like “Go, look it up” or even “why not?” They may have a terrible sense of fashion and will probably develop a taste for coffee early in their life and quite likely have a room that looks like a pig sty, but they'll also be able to appreciate the whimsy of Pollock as well as the social commentary of Banksy, be able to understand what Irony means and not be ashamed of the pleasure their bodies give them.
I won't be the "cool" parent because I have no intention of winning them over to "my side". But I'll be an awesome parent because apart from giving them continuous lessons in what Respect and Integrity mean, I'll be more interested in what they're learning than if they washed their hands. They will learn to think about what they want, why they want it and ask for it fearlessly. They will appreciate that the rejection of their demand isn't a rejection of their self.
There will be boundaries - what time they get home, whom they go out with, if there's any kind of alcohol consumption, etc - but it'll be to watch them struggle against their chains to fire up their latent spark, the spark that will allow them to burn through any obstacles they face later in life.
And among the books, music and laughter there will be hugging and kisses and lots of affection. Because that kid will be mine and no matter what it does, it'll be hard not to love watching it grow up, make mistakes and struggle to find a way to laugh about them.
It’s true that I don’t particularly want to be a parent. I’m also smart enough to know that it’s a two-person job. And those are just some of the reasons why I'd vote for me being a good one for it. Everyone else can go screw themselves.