Knowledge of my niece's joy (there is no other word) is the secret code of all parents, including adoptive. Mysteriously, the inevitable pain, suffering and sacrifice of parenthood are also part of that joy. What is a rose without thorns? Life without death is imponderably meaningless. I would argue that without death, there would be no love.
Indeed, what makes parenthood so relentlessly amazing — both the beauty and the beast of it — is the possibility of losing the thing you love more than your own heartbeat. Putting someone else's interests above one's own is the alpha and omega of parenthood.
Every person will find his or her own way in this conversation. Parenting surely isn't for everyone and those who choose to be childfree probably have made the right decision. Then again, it's hard to know for certain that one doesn't want children. Many don't, until they do.
Kathleen Parker's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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