One of the reasons, when I was thinking of the many reasons, that I wanted to have children, is because they are a kind of immortality. Not genetically, though if we had chosen to have children in that manner, that is a truth. I mean an immortality as that you live on in them. Your mannerisms, your sayings, your truths, they will come from the mouths of your children just as I hear those from my family come from my mouth. Things that you cherish – handmade objects, family photos, antique books – are treasured by them, and move through the ranks of family instead of landing in a trash bin somewhere. You live in their memories, and later, generations that don’t have memories of their own of you will know you from their stories.
That was what I thought. And it seemed like a wonderful thing.
It wasn’t the only reason I wanted children. I was so happy in my life that I wanted to share that happiness with others. I wanted to play with my children, do crafts and colour with them. I wanted to see them learn and grow. I wanted to watch them become adults one day and find their own happy lives.
But that bit of immortality, it was an important bit of it for me. Not the most important, but up there. Except, as the dissolution of the adoption placement took place, I went over in my head how many things that were important to me that my child with RAD destroyed. How much of me he destroyed, and I realized that it doesn’t quite work the way I thought it would. Not always. It was just as likely that my children would destroy the meaningful things in my life. It was just as likely that they would reject my words and wisdom, that they would find items I cherish to be worthless.
And I realized that now has to be enough. Today, this moment, has to be enough immortality for me; for any one of us. There is no way to know whether a fire or a tsunami will take our things from us. There is no way to know if our children will emulate us or revile us. And honestly? We have zero control over that outcome. It doesn’t matter how wonderful or terrible we are, the experiences and memories of others will be coloured by their own outlook.
What happens after you are gone is a coin toss. It is just as likely that your children will discard your memories and mementos as to treasure them. Does it really matter in the end? You are gone. Your purpose is over, and you served your place in the world as best as you could. Once we are gone, we are forced to let go of all that is earthly, whether it is ephemeral memory or concrete treasures. By letting go of our attachments to those things now, we free ourselves to experience them truly in the now, in the moment, instead of forcing a future on them that may never occur.