Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What The Hell, 2012?!

Dear 2012,

I thought your friends 2009, 2010, and 2011 were rough! I had no idea what was coming. Maybe I am just worn down after the last 3 years. Maybe I'm just older and I can't fathom doing this for the rest of my life. I don't know.

You started off ok. Couple of colds, a few fevers. Then Spencer had the flu. Spencer had the flu and I washed a ton of laundry because he couldn't make it to the toilet on time to throw up. I then tripped over the laundry basket and hurt my arm. That should have been it for the year. The bad thing that happened. A month in a splinty thing. When, a few weeks later, I finally got a car after nearly two years without one? I thought things were looking up. I started planning this amazing summer with my little guy before he started school. Because he is STARTING SCHOOL ALREADY. What the hell?

Anyway, I pictured us staying up late to chase lightning bugs. I planned to blow more bubbles and throw more water balloons than I could count. I bought us fun outside stuff. We took walks almost every day. I lost a decent amount of weight. This was all before June. In June, work started to slow down. A lot. Then suddenly I had nothing to do. I was making far less than my bills were every month. Yikes. So I found some new opportunities, and those eventually worked out, but I still haven't seen the money from them. This month. Later this month I will have money.

So, June 26th, 2 days after my baby turned 4 years old and almost broke my heart, my back went out. two trips to the ER, firing my doctor, and a whole ton of stretches and pain pills later, I can almost walk. On July 31st. Now that summer is almost over.

That couldn't be the end of it though, could it? No. See, I still have no money. Of course the dryer breaks when I have absolutely NO money. Of course I have to host an event for which I can barely lean over to clean for. So I moved it to the park, because, really, unless I wanted to have a kid's Lego Duplo Read and Build party and a simultaneous party for their moms to all help me clean my house, that's the best option. I don't have to clean the park.

To top off the personal stuff, my mom is having three surgeries before the end of the year. One of my friends has a 10 week old baby having surgery tomorrow. After endless promises to have 2 days off a week and see Spencer more, my ex is stuck working 6 or 7 days a week still (usually 9 am to 9 pm).

I cannot take this anymore. I can't function. I don't sleep. I can't think. All I do is worry. My grey patch is growing. Cuff or no cuff, I can tell my blood pressure is high. I've started having big anxiety attacks again. I need a damn break. Is that so much to ask for? I see people who leave their kids and go party every weekend, or even during the week, and I just don't know how they even find a sitter. I have no friends left. I mean, I have the regulars that will always be there in some capacity, but I don't...I don't have anyone to talk to in person over ice cream. I don't have anyone that I can vent to that could pass me a tissue if I start to cry. I don't want to burden anyone else with my problems. I don't want to whine. I just want what everyone else has. Why can't I have friends? Why can't I have a life outside of my child? Why is it so easy for everyone else, but so hard for me? I love my son, I do, but I need a break. I need to breathe.

I can't breathe.

This was the longest break I've taken from working since I was at the emergency room. Back to work....

...but it would feel so much better to just collapse on the floor and cry.

I've made it so long like this. With nothing. I have tried for years to claw myself out of this hole I ended up in, and I can't do it anymore. I just want to let go, fall back in the hole, and sob.

Nobody would notice if I did...

So just stop it, 2012. Stop it and tell 2013 to just leave me the hell alone. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Something's Missing

Facebook has brought me back in touch with people that, otherwise, I probably wouldn't have ever seen again. In some instances, that's not so great. In others, though, I get a glimpse into my past that I had kind of forgotten was there.

I went to high school at a very small school. Like, I stared at corn when I was done with a test and other people were still working on it because...well, because that's all you could see. Corn or beans on alternate years. At our school, grades 7-12 were in one building...and there were still only about 600 kids in the school. People were close. You knew everyone. You could feel comfortable there because you had known all the same people forever. Even if you didn't like them, you still basically knew what to expect, and in the long run, at our tiny little school at least, if you really needed something someone would help you out.

That's missing now. I see people on Facebook that married their high school sweethearts. Others have stayed good enough friends to be like sisters by now. I feel like I'm missing that now. After high school I ran back to the slightly larger city that I was originally from. I have made acquaintances, but few true friends along the way. I have two people that I know will be in my life forever. That's it. Just two. I hardly see them.

I miss the small, close community. I miss living somewhere where other people helped out just because that's what you did. I miss the predictability of seeing the same people everywhere....sometimes. I miss knowing who is reliable and who is not. I miss..people. I feel isolated and alone in the world I have created for myself. I feel like something is missing.

I think I need to start doing some reconnecting. I think I need to connect with new people, too. I need to be there for people the same way people have been there for me. I need to hope that there are still people in this world that will help because helping is the right thing to do. If all else fails? It's only a 30 minute drive, I guess!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

New Traditions

Sunday is Spencer's birthday. He will be 4. Already.

The past few years, even though his dad didn't live with us, I planned a "family activity." Last year, for example, all three of us went to see Cars 2.

Things are different this year, though. His dad is engaged and works 728 hours a week (at least). Spencer and I have really become more of our own family entity. Not that his dad isn't welcome to see him, but it's only natural for us to move on when he can't be here, right?

The original plan was for us to both take him to Chuck E. Cheese. We never discussed it again after I originally mentioned it. It made my stomach hurt to think about bringing it up. So, I decided that it's time for a new tradition. It's time for Spencer and I to do our own thing. Starting today, the new tradition is that Spencer and mommy do something special. He picked going to see The Lorax at the dollar theater (YAY! I can afford that!). So around 2 this afternoon, a new tradition will be formed.

Starting over is hard. It's still hard. I feel like we are all still learning. The only thing I know for sure is that this child is happy. I must be doing something right, even if I never know what it is.

His four year checkup was yesterday. I really can't believe how time has flown. I feel like I just took him for his one week checkup. He's is not 20 inches long anymore. He is 3'5. I thought 9 lbs 3 oz was big? Try 39 pounds! Where is my baby?

In other news, I got a new job! Yay! It will pay me enough so that I can work less than I am now and make more money. It could not have come at a better time. I'm broke!

Anyway, that's a little update about us. I'm going to enjoy my son's birthday weekend. Hope yours is great, too!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

You Know You're A Mom When...

Oh, Mama Kat, you've always got me thinking. In response to one of this weeks prompts, I have compiled a list of ways that you know without a doubt that you are a mother.

* There's a booger in your hair. You don't know who it belongs to.

* Who cares where if it's 5 o'clock somewhere? Is it bedtime yet?

* You highly consider asking your mother if you can move back in with her so that there will be someone to help with laundry, dishes, and feeding this child that is hungry every 34 seconds but somehow never eats.

* Speaking of your own mother, you sound a LOT like her lately...
* There is a moment when a new mom asks you for advice because, "you know what you're doing and I am so lost." You stare at her in disbelief because you're still making it up as you go along, too. You remember BEING that mom. It seems like it was ten minutes ago. Then you get it together and tell her how to REALLY handle teething. Wine. Oh, not for the baby, for you!

* You are so proud of your unbelievably talented/smart/stunningly handsome/well-behaved child. Then you look over and realize there's chocolate milk dried on their face, their finger is up their nose, they just sang the alphabet (at the top of their lungs) and left out L, M, N, O, and P, and they trip and fall on their face. You're still just as proud as you were a moment ago

* Your clothes don't match. You're just happy they are clean.

* Suddenly nothing in life is as important as raising your child to be a healthy, happy, responsible, loving person...even that relationship with their other parent that you fought so hard to keep together.

* You hear your child ask their doctor during their checkup, "My peepee is really cool, huh?" You just laugh. Kids say the darndest things...

* When your friends without kids talk about how much fun they had going out you realize that you're not upset that you missed the party. Who has the energy to get drunk and dance until 3 am?

* Suddenly you realize that you don't have much in common with those childless friends anymore. You don't think they want to hear another diaper explosion story. You certainly don't care what insignificant drama has happened that you missed.  You feel sad, but make an effort to still find things to talk about.

* You have begun to question every decision you've ever made. You hope and pray that your kids never find out that you made half of them. I mean, really, do you want them to know what you did in college?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Single Without Kids: A Guest Post

Today I have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers. You may remember her. She wrote a guest post for the old blog. It was one of my favorite posts, and I am so glad she agreed to share her thoughts on parenting. Even though she doesn't have any children of her own, she is one of the smartest, most insightful people I've ever "met." She's one of my greatest Twitter friends. I'm going to stop babbling now and let you hear from her!
As you can tell by the title, I am single without kids. Although, I don’t have to dispute the single part as often, I do find myself having to dispute the fact I don’t have kids when people see me around kids. Whether I’m cradling a baby or helping a middle school kid with homework, people assume I have kids of my own. I do not believe there is a full proof guide book to raising kids; it’s trial and error. I also do not believe that because I don’t have kids that I don’t know anything about raising them.
Of the course of several years I have been responsible for the well-being of other people’s kids as a nanny, older cousin, god-mother, and dance teacher in a private studio. I’ve had the chance to objectively watch people with their kids and see the effects of their child rearing skills. The basics are pretty much the same, but the fine details and unexpected twist and turns of life are where the differences come into play.
My thoughts on raising kids are quite simple:
  1. Remember children learn what they are taught; be mindful of what you are teaching them.
  2. Each child is different. While one child may be numb to a spanking another children may feel lower than the belly of ant by getting hit. One child may grow up in a household of foolishness and become a Rhodes Scholar while the other a homeless drug addict. Know your child’s personality.
  3. Be respectfully nosey. I don’t see anything wrong with checking your child’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. if your child is between 13 and 16. Would my 13 year old have any of those social media luxuries? No. I do have a problem with snooping through your child’s journals unless you have reason to suspect something is going on.
  4. Be proactive and involved. I think that’s self-explanatory
  5. Be open to discussion. If your child can’t talk to you who can they talk to? Who are they talking to?
  6. As my great-grandma used to say, “No matter the crime the child is mine.” Easier said than done if your child actually does commit a huge crime.
  7. Love your child. My grandmothers still tell their children, “I love you.”
  8. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s trial and error. Hopefully you won’t have too many errors, but don’t hate yourself if you make a mistake with your child.
  9. Remember it’s the smallest things that make your child feel amazing. Leave a note in their lunch box. Surprise them when you can. Remember their favorite things. Find something special to do with each of your kids; one on one. My favorite thing to do with my dad is to sit outside and talk until we fall asleep. My favorite thing to do with my mom is playing the piano with her.
  10. Encourage them to learn. Education is valuable and is not limited to the walls of a school.
I would like to have 2 children and would like to raise them to be productive members of society with great senses of humor!

Visit my site: www.mywordsstarted.com

Monday, June 4, 2012

Perspective: A Guest Post

Continuing the series of guest posts on parenting, I'm proud to present Christine. Her blog is always a joy to read, and I'm so glad to hear her take on parenting. All of these are great, and I know that in my day to day life I tend to forget about them. I suggest you all go check out her blog. She's one of those bloggers that can make me laugh and cry in the same post, and I'm so glad she agreed to share her perspective!


When Kadie first reached out to me about doing a guest post on my perspective on parenting I thought, “Hey! That’ll be a great exercise!” Because, frankly, I wasn’t sure I had one. Parenting, for me at least, is such a head down, balls to the wall, moment-to-moment engagement that perspective can be difficult to locate. And usually I’d rather just take a nap.

But I appreciate the need for perspective. It’s important to get an occasional glimpse beyond the minutiae and look at the whole picture. And this post was a great opportunity to do just that.

So I’ve spent a few weeks thinking back through the ten years I’ve been at this parenting gig and taking stock. And I realized something. I’ve tried just about everything. I’m a “kitchen sink” kind of mom. I’ve had about a gajillion “plans”, tested umpteen “theories”, and taken and used and ultimately chucked more “advice” than seems humanly possible.

Only four basic principles made the cut from all that trial and mostly error. Ten years and I have only four blogworthy nuggets for you! And they’re super simple. Which, in my opinion, is what makes them “keepers.”

1)   Try to keep one eye on your sense of humour at all times. Unless your kid is scaling a barbed wire fence. In that case, keep both eyes on your kid. But when no one’s life is in jeopardy, which is 95 to 99 percent of the time, look for opportunities to inject a little levity into the situation.

I’m always so proud of myself when I remember to do this. Like this morning when my kids were taking far too long to get into the car and I was grumpy and impatient. We weren’t in danger of being late. What was my problem? So I decided to switch it up, started humming a silly song and soon we were on our merry way.

2)   Trust Your Gut. The biggest parenting mistakes I’ve made resulted from me not listening to my gut instinct. This was a really hard lesson for me to learn because I always believe everyone someone else knows better than me.

I distinctly remember, years ago, talking to a friend about my son’s school. At the end of the conversation she said, “It sounds like you know it’s not a good fit. Maybe you should look around.” I knew she was right, that that WAS in fact what I was saying, but the idea of changing was utterly overwhelming. I kept thinking, “It’s good enough for so-and-so and so-and-so. Maybe it will get better.” It got worse. Three years later, we switched schools. I consider this switch to be the best move of my parenting career so far. I’m just sorry I didn’t try to do it sooner. 

3)   Lead By Example. “Do as I say, not as I do” is a crock. Our children are watching us. We need to step up and do things the right way. Parenting has made me a better person because I want to set the best example I possibly can. It’s impossible to be perfect, but as long as I’m improving, I’m happy.

4)   When you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up. Admit your mistake, do what you can to correct it, and move on. I really struggle with this one. I’m trying to be more forgiving of everyone, including myself. Which circles back on #3. I can’t tell my kids “It’s OK. Everyone makes mistakes.” if I don’t tell myself the same thing.

Thank you, Kadie, for this opportunity to gain a little perspective on the ever-changing profession of parenthood. A post like this every ten years is probably a good idea. I’m sure the teen years will teach me a lot. If I survive them.  

And thank you, Christine! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say in ten more years! I think we'll all survive, but I think that's when we all drove our mothers off the edge of sanity. Be prepared. We're going to lose our minds.

Stay tuned for more guest posts about parenting and perspective!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Is A Mother?

This is hard for me. It's not that I don't know what my mom did for me. It's not that I don't know what I do for my son. It's just hard to describe.

A mother is someone who gives everything she has to her kids. When she is drained and cannot possibly give any more, she finds more to give.

A mother does not know her own worth, even though she knows that other mothers don't know their own worth.

A mother second guesses every decision that she makes. A single mother does it again after that to account for the missing parent.

A mother does the best she can with what she has. She needs nothing until her kids' needs are met.

A mother knows what it is to really truly love someone with every ounce of every fiber of your being.

A mother knows how to stand up for her kids even if she can't stand up for herself.

A mother knows her child better than anyone else ever will. She can see in their eyes if they are tired, hungry, guilty, sick, or excited. She can tell when they are not telling the truth. She can sense when they are in danger before it even happens sometimes.

A mother can do all of these things, but she never thinks she does enough. There are always more dishes, more laundry, more places to go, more things to get done, and there is never enough time for her babies.

A mother can desperately need a break, but miss her child 15 minutes after they go to bed.

A mother can kiss away booboos, wipe away tears, and teach you things you will never remember learning.

A mother can feel your pain when you are crying.

It may take a village to raise a child, but in a pinch, the mother can BE the whole village.

So what is a mother? A mother, I suppose, is love. An entire person made of love and strength.

Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Going To Tell You A Story

I'm going to tell you a story. A story that does not make me proud...yet. It's a story about a little girl with her head in the clouds.

There once was a little girl who didn't know exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. She took people's practical recommendations. Sometimes she said she wanted to be a teacher. Sometimes she would proclaim that she wanted to be a nurse. Sometimes she wanted nothing more than to be a mommy. All of these got smiles from all of the grown ups. These were the things, after all, that little girls were expected to want to be when they grew up.

On the inside, though, she didn't really think she wanted to be any of those things. She certainly didn't want to be a firefighter or anything that a boy was supposed to want to be, though. She didn't realize that the things that she secretly wanted to be were really possible. You see, the little girl grew up in the heart of the working class. She grew up in a city where people were barely encouraged to want to read or go to plays. When she realized that she really wanted to be a writer or an actress, or someone that did something amazing like travel the world she told nobody. She would have been laughed at.

She stuffed it all inside and she read. She read everything she could get her hands on. From a young age she devoured novels in one day. She took a dance class, but that wasn't practical, and she knew that nobody needed to see how much she truly loved dressing up and being on that stage for her recitals. Nobody needed to know that if she could, she would spend her life there entertaining people. If she could, she would write the stories that had people glued to their seats from start to finish.

Right around middle school she finally let it slip that she wanted to act. Oh what a mistake that was. She was told that it was a nice little dream, but she needed to learn to do something practical because there was just no way it would work out. She should learn to be a teacher or a nurse or how to work in a store for when those dreams all came crashing down on her. Eventually she shut up about her dream. It was easier to play along and pretend she had grown out of that phase.

Soon after that she was given the opportunity to learn a foreign language. She chose French. She fell in love with France. She had never been there, but she wanted to go so desperately to a place where culture was embraced that she would have given her arm to get there somehow. She threw herself into learning French. Learning the language. Learning the culture. She was in love with the idea of someday escaping to France...of course, she didn't tell anyone. For all they knew, she just really loved French. Shortly before graduation when people were all deciding what they wanted to do, she panicked. She had not been allowed to go on the school trip to France. Partially due to cost and partially because one of her parents had a stifling fear of flying and wouldn't have let her on that plane if her life depended on it. Her dream of escaping to France was slipping out of her reach. Then someone suggested she be a French teacher.

Oh. There it was again. Teacher. By this point in her life she had grown so sick of the suggestion that she become a teacher that it made her want to throw up. Of course, she said, she wanted to do just that and would continue learning about France and French in college...as soon as she found a way to pay for college.

She went to college. She majored in French. Then she majored in French Translation. Now there was a way out of the teacher role! She worked her ass off. She worked full time, she went to school full time, and a year later, she was completely burnt out. She also realized there was a way to turn her desire to write more than just diary entries into a career. Journalism. Nobody could say she was being silly and frivolous if she wanted to be a reporter, right? Wrong.

You see the place where she grew up only had a few newspapers. There were no magazines around here. The idea that she may want to leave this area? Ridiculous. She didn't really bother to talk to many people about it after she got the, "oh, that's nice" response. That response was always coupled with the telltale double eyebrow raise that meant that her head was floating around in the clouds.

She gave up. She wasn't going to be a writer. She wasn't going to be an actress. She wasn't going to escape to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London, or any of the other cities where she may be taken seriously. She gave up on her dreams. She fell into conformity here in rational suburban America. She now had no education, no way to afford it, and no way out...so she worked at a store. She worked at a store where her head remained in the clouds, only privately. She wrote page after page in journals. She wrote down thousands upon thousands of ideas for stories. She continued to read with a passion.

When she was 24 she lost her job at the store. It was a place with a high turn over rate, to say the very least, and she was lucky to have been there for four and a half years, really. She was miserable. She started to consider leaving. She would go to live near her grandmother in Colorado, perhaps. Start a new completely rational career there. Then came the news that she was pregnant.

The little girl, now all grown up, was excited for the baby, but part of her mourned the official loss of her dreams. What mother could travel the world? What mother could stop everything and write a novel? What mother could suddenly do whatever she wanted to do? So, the girl conformed more. She became a nurse's aide. When people asked when she was going to start nursing school she politely responded, "Oh, sometime soon I'm sure."

This was not what she wanted. She loved the residents at the nursing home, sure. She didn't mind the physical labor. She was miserable, however. She was a single mother, and now she was bound to this place she had forever resented living in. Her child's family was here. There was no way out. She was supposed to be happy. She had her son. She loved him dearly. He was perfect. What was wrong with her? How could she explain to someone now, after all these years, that she was miserable here and had been plotting her escape for her entire life, but she just kept getting stuck. The possibility was gone now. She stopped wanting to interact with people. She started to panic. She was STUCK HERE.

She didn't tell anyone though. She kept her mouth shut. She found ways to pay the bills. She ate. She ate to feel full. She ate to fill the void that single motherhood had created in her life. She ate to ease the pain. She ate to keep everything inside of her that had been locked up for so long and was now threatening to jump out.

One day she woke up to realize that eating was no way to solve the problem. She was killing herself, not living a life here. Other people had lives here. Other people fell in love and were happy here. She could try, too, right?

I can't tell you the end of the little girl's story. I don't know it yet. All I know is that she is now nearing 29. She still feels trapped, but she loves her son. She loves living her life because of him. She's trying to claw her way back to happiness. She has no idea what will happen...but she's writing. Right now at this moment she is typing these words. Someone is going to read them. Maybe they will have been drawn into the story, even if they don't like it. Even if they don't like that the end isn't here yet. Maybe someone can relate to her story. Maybe someone else is trapped, too. Maybe it just feels good to write. Really write. From her heart.

Maybe her head is still in the clouds somewhere. Maybe she will get everything she's ever wanted. Maybe she won't. Maybe she wouldn't like it if she did. She doesn't know. Only time will tell. She is, however, very glad she finally got that off of her chest.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So What Is Parenting?

The other day I said I was going to have guest posts from many of you answering this question. Since the sickness from hell has taken over my house, I'm going to start today. This first post was written by a single male friend of mine (in real life....yeah I have some real life friends, too).

So, I present you with Paul's thoughts on parenting!

Who's Your Daddy?
by Paul Weston

Parenting is one of those things that is difficult to describe. We all have our own opinions on what makes a good parent, or a bad parent. We have different views based on our cultures, norms, and upbringings, as well as personal situations. There is no test to take to become a biological parent, no license to acquire, nor any formal training. So many of us have said when we were younger that we will never end up like our parents, yet that is the only training most of us have. We mix that with our maternal and paternal instincts, find what we liked, what we didn't, what was effective, and what was not, mix them all together, and hope to God that we don't screw up our child(ren)'s life forever.
Me? No, I don't have any children. Well, they already grew up and left the nest. Even that doesn't make sense. I'm not old enough to have children all grown up. I suppose my case is unique. I don't want to delve too much into my personal life, but I do feel that it is important to share. I helped a single mother raise two great children. I was not dating the woman––she and I worked together, and what started out as watching her two children for a couple hours while she was at work, turned into such an amazing relationship with these young people. Taking the teenager roller skating on a Friday night, and going to the little girl's D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Graduation in fifth grade. It was a great deal; I got to skip all the diaper changing and crying. These kids were already 8 and 12 when I met them. She is now 21 and I was the best man in his wedding.
We don't really talk too much anymore–just on rare occasions. They grew up and have their own lives and families now. I was a parent to them, but no longer.
I have two nephews, and they are simply amazing. Both under the age of four, I remember all of their lives. With one recently out of diapers and one who cannot yet talk, I get to experience their lives every week. They have two loving parents, and I only see them once a week. They are not like my own children; I am in no way responsible for them, yet I love them all the same.

I am a "young" professional. I work in an office, Monday through Friday from 9-5. I am social, and I love my friends and life. I am single. Different days, I feel differently about this. I have a five-year plan. In that five-year plan, I want to buy a house, I want to get married, and yes, I want children of my own. I want to name my children, and I want them to know me as Papa. (Said with a childlike French accent.) I am not looking forward to the sleepless nights, the potential colic, and the nearly inevitable fact that my child(ren) will be allergic to everything under the sun like I was. I do not want to deal with the "terrible two's" or the rebellious teenage years, or the fact that, even if they don't really mean it, my child may someday utter the words "I hate you!" if I tell him/her that s/he cannot have something. I don't want to accept the fact that if I have a daughter, she will someday meet a man (hopefully) who will become number one in her life, and I would no longer be that man. I am not looking forward to my son being able to beat me in sports, or run faster than I can, and him finally realising that I am not Superman.
Well, yeah, put it that way, then why would I want to bring another life into this crazy world? Love. Plain and simple. When you look into the eyes of someone you love, your entire world stops for a moment. No matter what happens around you, the only thing that exists is the two of you. It's the circle of life. Maybe it is a little egotistic, but children tend to emulate their parents, and that is such a great flattery, is it not? Children are awesome; they ask what other people have been taught not to say. They openly stare, they say inappropriate things, and discuss their bathroom habits at the dinner table. They smile, but the parents get embarrassed. They have an innocence that at some point in life, we lose. They have faith, and don't understand racism, bigotry, hatred, or even politics. They are the future.
For all intents and purposes, I cannot truly talk first-hand about parenting since I do not have any biological children, but then again, it's like adoption, right? I never went through legal proceedings, but those children were no less "mine" for the time that I "had" them than for an adoptive/foster parent. Children do not have to be biologically yours to be yours. There is no magic book with all the secrets of parenting. We will all make mistakes, and wonder if we're good parents. We will do something that we think no other parent has done and that it makes us horrible people, but, I'm sure you are not the first person to walk out to your car and leave your child in the carseat inside the restaurant. Sure, you'll see the scornful glances, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal. I think parenting comes down to being able to realise that you will make mistakes, and that there will be times when you are the centre of your child's universe, and the day will arrive when you are no longer your child's number one. Those are emotions that will be the most difficult for me. It hurts to lose, and to lose rank. It's an emotional demotion. We will forever be remembered by our children, and clearly not forgotten, but the time will come when someone else takes over our previous job titles. That is the part that scares me, and I don't yet even have a child.
In lieu of all that, there is something to be said about being able to hold a child in your arms, or when they start talking on their own. (Even though we may wish they would actually STOP talking once in a while) Seeing that smile on their face and know that you helped create that...wow, that is such an awesome feeling. I can only imagine what it would be like. I want to raise a child with my own beliefs. They may change later in life–kids will make their own decisions–but I want to give that foundation. The ability to watch your child grow up, albeit too fast, to when they attend school on their own, go on their first date, graduate, get married themselves, all that. I want to do that. I want to play soccer in the backyard. I want to build a blanket fort, build a campfire and make s'mores. I want to be the "cool" dad who lets his kid invite a friend to join us for dinner at the "nice" restaurant. (When really, it's moderately priced, and the kids don't eat as much, anyway.) I want my kids to have sleepovers, and I want to get angry that they stay up until 3AM playing video games or watching TV.
Honestly, I cannot see any reason why people would not want children. They keep us sane, and drive us crazy all at the same time. There may not be a book that gives new parents all the answers for all the situations that life will throw at us, but the adventure is half the fun of it.
I could be completely wrong. I do not know. Like I said, I don't have children of my own, and even when I "raised" other kids, it's not like I was there 24/7 with them. Sure, during the summer, there would be times when I would be around for three or four days in a row, but who am I kidding? I never even spent a week straight with a child. Any time they cry, I give them back to their parent. Will I be ready for that on my own? Will I be ready to change a diaper? I'll never know unless I give it a shot. (And no, I'm not offering to change any diapers out there.) The journey of parenting is on-going, this I understand, and there will be many, many peaks and valleys, but I want to take that voyage. I want to test myself just to see if I can do it. I want to assist in the forming of a mind–the making of another individual who will contribute to society.
I am single. I am a guy. I have no children. I am happy in my life. I am willing to turn it all upside-down to change some of those. I want to say: I am married. I am a guy. I have two children. I am happy in my life. For some reason, I feel that I will say all of those things.

For the record, Paul, I have known you for 15 years now. I have seen you grow and change, and when the time is right I have every confidence that yes, you will be ready to change a diaper. You will be an excellent father someday.