A dozen or so years ago I met my wife while playing an MMORPG. We didn’t live on the same continent but the internet is a fantastic way to get to know the substance of a person rather than their ostensible quality. We spoke for many months, and somewhere in the early stages discovered that neither of us particularly liked nor wanted to raise children.
Fast forward 5 years and two cats later.
We waited 5 years to marry, having wanted to test life’s obstacles and our ability to overcome them as a team. Freshly back from a brief, post-nuptial getaway, her coworkers began the to ask the apparently necessary question.
“Well, is there a bun in the oven?”
She calmly explains that we are not interested in having children, but the question keeps being asked, much to her annoyance. A couple of my friends who are fathers feel it necessary to inform me that we do not know the true depths of the word love until we have children, and I find it rather presumptuous. I get it; they’re the future, and the most important thing on this planet. I’m not going to do it, and couldn’t even if I wanted to.
“Don’t worry, man, it’ll happen. One day you’ll have an accident and it’ll be the best thing that ever happened to you both.” Fat chance, clueless friend. I didn’t bother to explain why it is literally impossible for us to conceive.
We’ve been together nearly 10 years now, and the question is still asked from time to time.
“Just tell them you’re barren, or that I shoot blanks. That’ll teach them to ask that question.” I suggest. She grins, and we go on sipping our wine on the back patio, enjoying the sight of fireflies flickering around the table.
The fathers who expounded to me about our lack are, without exception, all divorced and in miserable shared custody arrangements. Correlation does not equal causation, but I have a little less pity for them because they chose to advertise themselves and their decisions as wiser than ours.
I do believe that those who insist on this point know a kind of love that we will never experience, and I agree that it is one if not the greatest of loves this life can offer, but it is not the only, and I am equally sure that the spare time and means our choice affords us has been the key to our ability to practice and give love to our fellow man as best we can.
I like to think our adopted cats thank us daily for our decision. It should come as no surprise that they’re not fond of taking second place to anyone or anything.