The Goddess Speaks
Children can complicate relationships
On my way to Longs, I called my boyfriend to see if he needed anything. He's pretty good about stocking up on essentials, so I expected him to say no. Instead, he asked, "Would you pick me up some Dimetapp?"
He appeared fine earlier that day, so I asked if he was catching a cold.
"Oh no, my daughter's sick," he replied nonchalantly.
Silence. Finally I found my voice. "Your daughter?"
"Yeah, Katelyn. I didn't tell you?"
"No," I said calmly, trying to play it cool.
"Her mother just called and asked if I could pick up medicine."
I was hyperventilating by this time, ready to hang up and move on. I knew this relationship was too good to be true. From my perspective, kids are baggage; relationships are difficult enough without them.
I knew my boyfriend was joking when he said, "Actually, I have 10 kids." Last time I checked, jokes are supposed to be funny.
I guess my boyfriend didn't know how opposed I am to dating guys with children. In my attempt to explain, I only appeared selfish and jealous.
Hypothetically, if he did have a daughter (let's call her Katelyn for the sake of being consistent), I wouldn't be able to treat her like my own, especially if she were a splitting image of her mother. Katelyn would be a constant reminder of the woman before me.
Our relationship would move quickly from quiet, romantic dinners to packing Lunchables and Juicy Juice. My days of partying until the wee hours would turn into reading stories before an 8:30 bedtime.
I would have to sacrifice -- something I'm not willing to do at this point in my 24-year-old life -- least not for a child who isn't mine.
The topic of children arose again with one of my guy friends. He told me he had a daughter; half jokingly, I told him his market value had dropped. When I realized I'd offended him and tried to justify myself, he explained that if you care about a woman, you care just as much for her child because he/she is an extension of that woman.
Funny, I never thought about it that way.
On the other hand, I have a girlfriend who, at 21, helped raise her ex-boyfriend's son. The experience traumatized her so much that she doesn't want children of her own. I wouldn't want that to happen to me.
I love kids and would like to have my own someday, but for the present -- like the adorable puppy at the pet store -- kids are something I'm relieved to leave behind, knowing that I'm also leaving behind responsibility I'm not yet ready for.
Lauren M. Chang
is a full-time Star Bulletin/Midweek ad staffer, part-time single-parent respecter. "The Goddess Speaks" is a feature by and about women. If you have something to say, send an essay of about 500 words to "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org