I used to hate when people would say that the greatest thing they had accomplished in life was that they “had children.”
Really? I’d think. That’s it?
What about writing novels or designing bridges or having a star named after you or walking the entire Appalachian trail? How about jumping out of planes or photographing war torn countries or inventing things or learning how to do a really good handstand?
I mean, almost anyone can have kids—right?
In my defense, I wasn’t very interested in children personally. Being the youngest in my own family, I was never around anyone younger than me. The only time I was exposed to this weird tribe of irrational, snot nosed, sticky fingered, needlessly wailing small people was in accidental encounters at the grocery store or something similar, where my attention was drawn, not to their cuteness, but to their acute neediness and ear splitting volume.
Bah! Kids! Who needs them?
I stridently believed kids were nothing more than a nuisance and a financial drain. Where did I develop these notions? I have an idea, but it would rude for me to share it. Suffice to say, I was not an entirely wanted little seedling.
Well into my 30s I was still convinced my own womb would remain untested. And then, of course, I got pregnant.
I was thinking this morning about the idea of reincarnation—something I don’t know for sure is true but still believe in. I was remembering the many contentious conversations I’ve had with nonbelievers on the subject and how their arguments always essentially boil down to this—it is impossible because 1. we can’t prove it and 2. it’s too outlandish.
Like putting a penis in a vagina and ending up with a whole new human isn’t. My point being, there are miracles happening around us every day that can not be explained—or not fully.
Here is a short list of miracles: Existence as we know it. Sunshine. Love. Dreams. Books. Dogs.
And as I reflected on those miracles, and the miracle of my own existence, I realized that somewhere along the line I had become one of those people.
I made a boy, and then nothing else was ever as significant.
I didn’t have much of a hand in making this child—I mean, I went through the usual motions and, bam! There he was. But the making of him was ultimately so transcendent that even books seem like a flat surface when I contemplate them now.
Is it strange to take pride in something in which I only played a minor role? Am I like the secretary’s assistant at NASA who believes she is somehow responsible for putting men on the moon?
Perhaps. And yet, when everything is said and done (which of course it never will be) and I lap up my final dram of oxygen, and someone whispers this question in my ear—what gave meaning to your life?—I’ll say…
“My son. My son. I made a boy.”
And I will know it was enough.
Author: Erica Leibrandt
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: flickr/Klaus Valzano