It seems at long last the time has come for the procreation to begin. Where once there were weddings as far as the eye could see, now baby showers and due dates begin to spring up across my calendar. When my phone reminds me it’s such-and-such’s second birthday, this time it’s actually because they’re 2 and not that it’s been two years since I first inputted that birthday. Gatherings that used to be late-night dinner parties slowly shift earlier and earlier in the day, with increasingly more smatterings of children. Gone at last are the days where we were the overgrown kids playing at being grownups. At last, we must be the adults.
It’s a hard concept to fathom, that only so short a time ago we were graduating, trying to find a job—any job—and so focused on our delayed start that all the “normal” steps seemed so out of reach. Who had time for marriage, houses, and babies when the debt was stacking up and the jobs were sparse? When you’re moving apartments every year, trying on new degrees to give you better qualifications, and realizing that starter salary you finally got isn’t going to grow unless you magically find a new job, and another one after that just so you can maybe one day hope for the future. For so long even making a salary that could put us in reach of qualifying to buy a place seemed impossible.
We’ve been so cautious, so reticent to take bold leaps when the future has looked so uncertain for us. Eeking forward we’ve each taken the tiniest of steps at a time; a used car here, a small salary negotiation there, moving on for better job opportunities and lower costs of living. Slowly I’ve watched everyone pushing that boulder uphill, working toward that chance at the staple of the American dream: a family, a home, and a good job. It’s felt so unattainable for so long it’s blindsiding me to realize some of you are already reaching for it.
You’re taking that final step and saying if not now, then when? What is the marker of success that we’ve reached adulthood? Do we wait for a certain salary? The deed to a home? A year without debt? A month without anxiety? At what point did you look at one another and say, “This is the time. We’re ready to be responsible for someone else’s life now?”
It seems so unimaginable to me to be in that position and have the confidence that everything will be OK. To look at the world around us and say, “I have faith that it will get better, that a brighter future awaits.” For that’s what planning to have children is—it’s bravery, belief, and blind shining hope that something better is around the corner. It’s bringing forth a new generation and having the faith that you can give them what they need to live a life even bigger, bolder, and better than those who came before them. As one of the first generations in history who will not be better off than our parents’ generation, I can’t even fathom having that courage to try again. To put everything you’ve worked for on the line and create new life in an unstable future.
You will never understand how much I admire, and in many ways envy you choosing that path. Sometimes the prospect of being responsible for my own well being and financial stability is enough to send me into a tailspin into the darkest depths of my psyche. I contemplate the economy tanking, my industry failing, interest rates hiking, and wonder if there will ever be a time or place that I’ll feel secure. And you’re taking on that job of your own free will, to take responsibility for a life and its emotional, mental, and physical well being. I don’t know know if I will ever be able to let go of my anxieties enough to be able to do that.
So for all of you baby-makers out there, every one of my parents-to-be believing more in your dreams for your children than your worries of the day, I have faith in you. When you’ve been up for days on end and your life feels like it’s falling apart and you wonder why you ever made this choice, call me, and I’ll be here to remind you of the courage you took in taking that first step. There might even be a bit of a glaze of adoration in my eyes as I wish that I had your confidence of what’s to come. We got through the many dark days of uncertainties together and I promise, even if I can’t always see it for myself, I’ll do anything I can to help you attain that future only you can see.
We will help each other, and the next generation to come, look forward and see the light.