Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"What about kids?"

I have spent most of my adult life unenthusiastic about the idea of having children. I have complicated relationships with my divorced parents, which have made me realize that even with the best of intentions and efforts, it is incredibly difficult to maintain healthy parent-child relationships. I'm also not convinced that my life needs children to be complete or fulfilled. I am so grateful for the lives we have now, it almost feels greedy to ask for anything more.

Of course, the possibility of Jeff having SCA3 plays a large part in my reluctance to have kids. I haven't had much exposure to SCA3 - I don't get to see my mother-in-law very often since she lives in Taipei, where she has access to affordable healthcare and homecare. But I know that SCA3 is a difficult condition to handle and it eventually requires 24/7 care. I don't know if I could handle taking care of Jeff in addition to raising kids. I can't imagine trying to shoulder all those responsibilities on my own. Jeff has a pretty comprehensive uber financial model that he uses to budget and project our finances but let's face it - no amount of ninja excelling is going to bring us enough financial stability to manage all that comes with SCA3 and children.

You'll never find an ROI analysis in favor of having children. The tangible costs are always going to outweigh the tangible benefits on paper. And for a long time, that's how I saw it. I approached it logically, like the engineer I was (sort of) trained to be. But just like love, the desire to be a parent isn't a logical one. It's just something you feel - and when emotions are involved, all bets are off.

I've started to see this more in recent years, since many of my friends are now parents. No one has shown me this more than my 2 year old nephew. I've always thought he was super adorable, but it was only recently that I've really started to enjoy my interactions with him. He recognizes me and will address me as "doo doo" when prompted (he's not being disrespectful - he's trying to say auntie in Chinese!). He's affectionate and provides kisses on command. Every new thing he learns and says is the cutest, coolest thing ever. I can never resist the urge to scoop him up and shower him with kisses.

I'm still not sure if I want to have kids. But I get it now. And I know it's not a conclusion I'll come to through a cost-benefit analysis.

This is rather an obscure reference for the Taiwanese pop fans -
a hilarious picture of an adorable baby that looks just like a mini-Jay Chou

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