18 Jun 2012

Fatherhood?

Today has seen a lot of Father's Day wishes all over the web. Some to show how awesome they are, some to express gratitude to their patient guidance over so many years, some to lament on how they could have spent more time wisely with their fathers. Some dads even got the nice gifts like ties, spatulas, power drills, watches, cameras etc.

And this made me wonder: will I ever receive such gifts and wishes in the future?

Usually I don't think that much about what lies ahead, but today it just struck me as something important. Will I ever want to be a father? Taking care of my own child/children and watching him/her/them grow up and accomplish stuff? Sound pretty darn ambitious, especially when factoring in all the costs involved. Are the benefits really worth all the effort? All the more this makes me feel even more appreciative of my own parents who willing made such a huge commitment!

I'm not totally concerned with who else would take care of the child/children with me. Just on the concept of being a father to a child. And it's really weird for my mind to come across this concept of all things, at this moment when I'm still wrapping my head around understanding exam topics! But I know I will eventually have to answer this question on whether to start a family or not. However... it's just so hard to see how the pros may outweigh the cons. I know, there are parents out there who strongly say that those precious moments they have with their own children are totally worth all the blood, sweat and tears spent on taking care of them. And I know that having a family isn't all bitter and horrible and disgusting either. It's just that I wish I could just cherry-pick all those nice little moments of joy and laughter, and discard those "other moments". If only I can enjoy a baby's gurgles and smiles and giggles without going through all the incessant crying...

So maybe I could adopt instead. Maybe I'll adopt a child that's old enough to have gone through some of the troublesome care-taking phases so I can fast-forward to more advanced interaction and less cumbersome tasks involved in the nurturing. Then comes another problem: what if the child never knew his/her biological parents? How would I break it to him/her that I'm not the real father? How would our relationship change?

The transition into parenthood is so big and life-changing. I really don't know if I can handle the huge changes that would occur, nor do I know if I would end up regretting the decision that I made in exchange for some forms of freedom. To live without too many commitments tying me down, or to live in a way that others may live and inherit what I own and what I know? Perhaps in older generations there wasn't too much questioning on whether to have children or not, since the answer was usually "yes". Now I'm not so sure any more.

This whole thought process, on the bright side, did make me re-realise just how much fathers may have had to sacrifice for the sake of nurturing a family. Countless sleepless nights, huge accumulated mileage from fetching to and from school/tuition/fun places, money and time spent to keep the children happy, and so on. To devote that much of my resources into a long-term project like this... can I really prepare myself to give up so much? Maybe I'm too selfish and/or cowardly for my own good? Or do I just hate having to bear a burden?