But my "Chapter 30s" will probably include the patter of little feet
I have four or five young nieces and cousins and I have trouble getting their names right. My mom gets mad at me, saying “you better be nice to them – when you’re old they will be the only people around to take care of you” (thanks, mom).
It’s not my fault that they are all girls, they all look alike, and they all have obnoxiously similar names (like Kayley, Kayla, McKendra, McKenzie). I do have a little brother and I usually get his name right, except on particularly flustered occasions – I once called him by our dog’s name.
Don’t get me wrong - I love my nieces, cousins, and little brother very much. They are great kids and are family! But I have created such a busy, active lifestyle that children don’t have much of a place in my schedule.
Besides, a lot of the events, meetings, and people I hang out with are not necessarily “child-appropriate.”
When I am around my young relatives, I think I do a pretty good job taking care of them and having fun with them – I guess I am that “gay uncle” that everyone has (I too, have a gay uncle)-- but I just don’t make the time often enough.
So what about me having children? This question came up last night over dessert with Ricky’s family, who were in town visiting.
They asked if I wanted to have kids and Ricky immediately interjected “he so doesn’t want kids.” I politely reminded him that I don’t want kids now. Ricky then explained he wants to have kids when he is 28 years old, which will make me about 34 – perfect! I have always said that I think I will be ready to devote my life to a child(ren) by the time I am in my mid-30’s.
Then the questions started pouring in: How would you guys have children? How does that work for gays?
I mentioned that insemination of a willing female is an option and inadvertently made hand gestures that looked like I would personally grab a turkey-baster and impregnate the first willing woman. This grossed the group out as we enjoyed our gelato and crepes at Choclat in Hillcrest, but luckily Ricky mentioned adoption (great intervention). This will most likely be the option we choose, but again all of this is years away (although I recognize the importance of planning ahead for such a major life event).
I began thinking about how my life would change if I were to have children. Of course, I could just hire a live-in nanny and carry on as I am now, but even I recognize how awful that would be for the child (and me). If I did have or adopt a child, I suppose I’d love and adore the little bugger and would actually want to spend all my time with the kid. So, sacrifices would come.
For example, this week I have meetings, class, the gym, and dinner plans with various friends and acquaintances every night of the week. Then on Friday, I plan to stop by the grand opening party at the fabulous Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery downtown, before heading out for a festive Friday evening on the town. Saturday is Ricky’s flag football game (if we had kids it would be their games), followed by a trip up to West Hollywood for a friend’s birthday party, and back home Sunday night to do school work.
Just about every waking moment is filled participating in activities for myself, or the benefit of others, leaving no time to do activities for the benefit of my children.
As I enter “Chapter 30” of my life, it’s time to start thinking about other great possibilities that could potentially enter my life. Children, buying a home, future career options, political opportunities, and more. I have big dreams, but having a little rug-rat running around the backyard wouldn’t be such a bad idea. As long as the stroller doesn’t cramp my style, we are golden.
Ben Cartwright is SDGLN's Higher Education & Nonprofit Liaison and has been a campus and community activist in San Diego for over 10-years. His community involvement began as a student at SDSU and from there he launched into a number of other community activities. He has written for a number of local publications including Update, Hillquest, and GLT. Cartwright won the Lambda Archive's 2007 "Community Hero Award"; 2008 Nicky Award for "Outstanding Community Activist"; and a 2009 Nicky Award for "Outstanding Writer/Columnist".