My parents had a lot of friends I grew up calling my aunts and uncles. I knew the difference, even from a really young age, who was related by blood and who was not (the Chinese language is very clear on that point) and who had kids/were expecting. I *LOVE* babies and children in general: nobody had to encourage me to interact with someone a lot younger or smaller than myself. What I found more fun than playing, being able to hold a baby, change its diaper, feed it and help with bath time was being able to rock a baby to sleep in its car carrier. It was a big reward – not all adults could do what I instinctively knew, and I also learned I could love a baby who wasn’t mine by blood. These aspects of me would have made me a prime candidate for a plethora of children (we’re talking at least 12 here) had I not learned something else.
There’s never been a time my parents told me to marry for love. The discussion about *any* family planning in my future started with college, then med school, then marriage and finally kids. I watched my relatives who did marry for love and that alone flounder personally, financially and in the end, part ways. I’ve known that a strong relationship has its foundations in the things that reaffirm or introduce positive attributes of a person’s mind, interests, culture and socioeconomic benefits. Opposites may attract but that only goes so far to sustain individuals merging their lives: to live as one entity under one roof, belief system and to execute daily activities requires compromise. A more selfish and inexperienced person may never be able to appreciate a partner’s patient sacrifices and concessions in the name of harmony and emotional/mental stability as separate people and a couple. A matured partner may become intolerant of a partner stalled on development as a person and refusal to become a member of larger community. The older I get, the more hurt I take in, the more I become apprehensive about marriage and children. I’d always thought I’d be a mother some day and a damn good one at that! Yet, all the love, shelter, planning, resilience can’t stop illness and can’t stop death. At what point does black and white disappear all together or were they never there? How can you prepare a child for the blob of gray without completely shaking up foundations that disallow any to form?
My favorite aunts and uncles heard from me once a year, at least, for babies or at least more of them as I aged from 7 to 10 to 14 etc. I recognized good people who would be phenomenal parents and the world missing out on that was a tragedy, even a travesty for all neglected or unloved children who become young adults needing role models. My mom put me in my place more than once, saying that sometimes kids aren’t in someone’s future and it wasn’t my business to know why. I assumed it was infertility or unstable relationships/homes. It never occurred to me that it might be choice by reason of experience: that it was possible to hurt a person enough and kill a dream. But I see, now, how broken dreams can’t be sustained by broken people either.