She was Maria, our favorite cashier at Save-On Foods and Drugs, where we buy our groceries. I couldn't imagine what she'd dreamed about us, or why.
"I dreamed you adopted a little baby," Maria continued enthusiastically, as though she were trying to sell us on the idea. "Have you considered adopting?"
For exactly three and a half seconds, I answered. In all the time Chris and I have been together, I think the subject of becoming parents has come up two or three times. But it's gotten as much energy as we might give to talking about what to have for dinner, or which restaurant to go to.
(Truth be told, many years ago I thought if Chris and I were ever serious about having a child, particularly one with biology as close to ours as possible, he could contribute the sperm, and my sister could contribute the egg. An interesting consideration, given that my sister has never had her own children, has no interest in kids whatsoever, and would definitely think I'd lost my mind if she learned of this asinine idea.)
Yes, we told Maria, we've heard of gay couples who adopt children. No, it's not something we've ever seen ourselves doing. But maybe I shouldn't presume to speak for both Chris and me, when he's never said anything about it one way or another, always deferring to me instead.
Chris would make a great father; I have no doubt about it. His endless patience would make him an ideal parent. After all, if there's something parents need when it comes to raising children, it's patience. I envision him playing with our child hour after hour, becoming a kid himself, and having a grand time. I also see him being too lenient, unwilling to discipline, and leaving all the tough stuff for me.
I was told I'd make a terrific father, once. Coincidentally, the young woman who said it was someone I supervised. She'd seen me work with colleagues and customers, and assumed the way I conducted myself on the job would translate to the role of parent at home. What she didn't realize is there's a big difference between who you are within your own four walls, and who you're paid to be in the workplace.
In fact, I know I'd make a miserable mother. I'm too much like my own mother to be any good in the role--uptight, selfish, and impatient. If I made the commitment to be a parent, I know I'd be a good one, in spite of myself, because I don't take on anything without giving it my complete attention, energy, and time.
But that would be at the detriment of the child, whom I'm sure I'd make miserable. I'd worry and fuss over it altogether too much. I'd never give it any freedom or leeway. I'd be behind it continuously, watching and judging and correcting everything. My expectations would be too high. I'd love it to death, is what I'd do. And that's not good, either.
I think it's critical, whether you're gay or straight, to make a conscious choice about whether or not to have children. To think long and hard about bringing another soul into the world and to realistically assess if you're the right people to do it.
It's not because you can biologically have a child that you should. Many heterosexual couples think having children is expected of them, so that's what they do, without giving serious thought to if they really want them, or if they have what it takes to raise them in the best way possible. I pity children in that situation. They had no choice to be born to a couple not well suited as parents.
No, there won't be any children around our house, other than those of our neighbors. Chris believes it's not fair to the child if the parent is already older at the point of having them. He's in his early forties now, and I'm in my early fifties. That means by the time a child we had graduated from high school, Chris would be in his early sixties, and I'd be in my early seventies--perhaps not the best situation for a young adult.