Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day and Future Fatherhood

I went back to my parents' house this weekend for Father's Day, as my brother and I actually made a full breakfast for the first (and likely last) time.  It's good to know that our dad liked it as much as he did, even if the blueberry pancakes didn't look like the ones on television.  So that makes me think about how I keep telling myself that I won't have children.  Of course, that might be a total lie, because if I feel the need after finding the right woman, then maybe I'll have some.

That's not because I would completely want to be devoid of the greatest responsibility of all time.  It's really  because I do think sometimes that my own Aspie-ness would keep me from being the best father to my future children.  As mentioned in a previous entry, there will be a ton of unpredictability with children.  I would likely have an idea in mind of how my kids should act based on my own childhood and other parents' examples around me.  Then when the child goes astray I would go crazy and possibly inflict more punishment than I should simply because of the hierarchy in my mind (father > child) accurate hierarchy, but something that my passive-aggressive persona would take to extremes.

I used to write down scenarios for kids my age (not real life kids, but imaginary ones), and gave them the right AP Courses and Honors, as if this were the scenarios I could go into and hopefully someone could follow.  I imagined who could be the most accomplished one of the bunch.  I have an idea of how my kids should be at this stage, and I could see two children as honors students with the right group of friends, maybe athletic accolades or debate awards, depending on which route they take.  I would feel like my kids got screwed if they didn't get the award that was meant for them.  I'd be a superficial father wanting the perfect scenario for my child and primarily for my satisfaction of my world.  I used 'my' enough times.  I want lab rats, not kids.

My mind is totally messed up.

It's been driven into me when I hear my dad tell stories about the birth of me, the birth of my brother, and how he became a different person who put the kids and wife first.  There is a natural tendency about me, just like any other people, to be self-centered.  Breaking from that is tough for the Aspie, as we have thoughts on our mind that we have to let out somehow, and it's also been established enough times that empathy is something important part of selflessness.  Right now, I still feel selfish, and I wonder sometimes if I will fully break from that selfishness.

The assessment of my future as a pop, if I ever do become one, is nothing predetermined.  They say that becoming a parent changes you, and maybe that will change me too.  Sometimes, regardless of spectrum or NT, it takes a long time to figure out the whole fatherhood thing.  My dad didn't "give birth" (mom did that part while dad did the support and cheering part) until he was 39.  Mom and dad aren't pushing us to have children just so they can be brother isn't really keen on having kids at this point either.  Historically, I am a late bloomer took me longer to start figuring out myself than most folks.  So I probably wouldn't be ready for fatherhood until my 30s anyway, when I slowly break from this shell.  I know a share of Aspies who managed to be fine parents, more so than stories of those on the spectrum who had problems juggling a lot of important responsibilities tied to parenthood.

This isn't meant to be defeatist, but rather a reflection of why I'm glad I didn't become a dad yet.  I know now I'm not ready, and if I do become ready that it might happen.  If anything, the learning that would come from raising a couple kids and providing for a family would be one heck of a curve, and a challenge to enjoy.  However, it would be just as daunting for me as it would for any other first-time dad.

I appreciate what pops does for our family growing up for than I even recognize I do.  I think we all feel that way about our respective dads.  Happy Father's Day.

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