Blogspot memes and Facebook surveys often ask the question, “Do you have any regrets?” I always answer, “No.” But I’ve been thinking about that one lately and decided that maybe I do have one regret: no children.
Add up the marriages and near marriages in my life and you’d see that I’ve had plenty of opportunity to start a family. It was specifically part of the plan twice, but relationships failed and plans changed.
I’ve been told I’d be a great parent, but the people who said that didn’t know me back when fatherhood was imminent. I’m both sensible and flexible now; I was neither in my twenties. I can think and over-think this matter all day but the end result is the same: I don’t know what kind of parent I’d have been and it is highly unlikely I’ll ever find out.
The regret part of this equation is partly idealistic and partly selfish. The idealistic aspect is that even though I would have made some of the same mistakes all parents make (kids don’t come with instruction manuals), my solid core values of respect for others and honesty might have produced some pretty special children who would have grown up to be special adults.
The selfish aspect is that when I become old and needy, my adult children would be around to help me when I need them the most. I won’t have that. Sometimes I regret that.
I’m certainly not the only childless Boomer. I have relatives in their 50s and 60s who don’t have children. I have friends in their 40s and 50s who don’t and won’t have kids. I’m not sure how they feel about that but I owe it to myself to find out.
I may be decades away from having to deal with this, but it’s never too early to plan for it.