Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Parents Really Are Better People -- A Memorial

Raising children is a thankless, disrespected job. It demands enormous sacrifice -- time, money, energy, even the sacrifice of the self itself. I don't think I could handle the demands that having children would make on my life as it is now. Among other reasons for being childfree, I recognize I just don't have what it takes to go through with all of that.

As a childfree person, I have no real appreciation of how difficult it is to be a parent. I will never get to be as mature as someone burdened with all that responsibility. I will never get to experience the enforced, inescapable demands that I be responsible for the health and happiness of a tiny, ungrateful dependent. I will never know the higher spiritual calling that comes with reproduction. I will never make it into the sacred inner circle, the winners circle.

Congratulations, parents. You win. You are in fact better people than I will ever be. You have achieved a form of martyred sainthood I can only emulate but will never really achieve. I admire people who are so deeply committed to a course of action that they abandon many things that I put in the categories of intelligence, planning, common sense, thoughtfulness, soul-searching, etc.

To those who took a massive leap of faith without much regard to the consequences, I salute your bravery. I admire your simple faith, flying in the face of all that evidence suggesting a different course of action.

To those who now have to find a way to reconcile their hatred of parenting with their love of their children, you have my utmost respect. It's a very challenging emotional feat that has rewards I can't even imagine.

To those countless parents who have modeled a way of life I have decided against, I thank you for the examples you have set for me. Without you, I don't know how I could have decided so easily.

To those parents who so fervently evangelize the gospel of parenthood, I thank you for all those helpful counterarguments that have confirmed the wisdom of my choices. I doubt you realize how helpful you have been.

Finally, to those espousing the hateful childfree lifestyle, I curse you. Because of you I have been further lured into a life reeking of individual identity, peace and quiet, freedom, uncountable individual opportunities, and a soul-crushing expanse of free time. Because of your detestable seductiveness, I now must face a second-class life devoid of instant martyrdom. I must search harder than parents do in order to find the same level of smug condescension laced with envy. (I found the smugness and condescension, but can't seem to locate the envy.)

Now I must somehow trudge onward, living a lesser life than others. I only hope parents will overlook my inferiority. I hope they leave me to admire them from afar. I'm so undeserving that I am not even worthy to be in the same buildings as their children. In fact, I suggest parents call attention to my perverse inferiority by boycotting all the theaters, restaurants, stores, and public spaces that I frequent. I hope parents show how magnanimous they are by leaving me to stew in my own regrets. Let the silence of my coffeeshop, empty of their children's screams, be the fitting penalty for my terrible mistake.