Monday, November 8, 2010
What SHE SAYS:
There is a progression to life that we humans like to see followed. Man and woman meet. They fall in love. They get married. They have kids. They live happily ever after in wedded bliss, with a house, a few cars and a few maxed out credit cards. Oh wait, I think we deviated from Disney there. Sorry.
The point is, when you don’t follow this progression, people get concerned. Then worried. Then downright panicked. They’ve been dating for years, when ARE they going to get married? They’ve been married for years, when ARE they going to have children?
So when a younger man dates and commits to an older woman, questions arise. Dmytry and I addressed some of those in the first two posts of this series. But there is now the question of children.
He doesn’t have any biological children. I have three little girls. Will I want to have more children with him? Is it fair to deprive him of this opportunity to reproduce his own genetic material in such a wonderful way?
First of all, I’m in my early 30s. My children are still very young. While I am perfectly content with the kids I have, If Dmytry wanted a child that badly, I would be happy to experience that with the man I love.
I can’t have any more children. I had an abdominal hysterectomy after my third child, for health reasons. Unless my uterus spontaneously regenerates, we will not be making baby Dmytrys anytime soon.
He knew going into this that he would be daddy to three amazing little girls, but they would never share his DNA. Is a younger man able to make that kind of choice without fear of regret? I don’t know. Are any of us ever able to make choices without that fear? Many couples struggle with infertility and don’t have the choice beforehand, nor do they have the built-in family we have.
I don’t know if he’ll regret his choice in 20 years. What I know is this…he has many years of fatherhood ahead of him. My girls love him and want a daddy that lives with them and loves them. I trust Dmytry with this responsibility because I know he will be an amazing and much needed influence in their lives.
They need him. Just as much as I need him.
Also, having three kids is a great natural form of birth control against the need for more screaming little ones.
And…we are writers. I know this sounds like a non-sequitur, but hear me out. The creative process is a birthing process. An idea builds inside us, gestating until it can survive on its own. We give it birth and set it free into the world, carrying a piece of our soul as it goes. Isn’t this really at the core of our desire to have a baby that’s genetically linked to us? That sense of sending into the world some part of ourselves that will live on?
Well, we have that in our work. And Dmytry is the best damn writer I know and will be giving birth to serious brilliance over the years. His work will live on. And through it all, he will have a full family life with all the joys and perils of fatherhood. Is this really such a sacrifice? Let’s let him decide.
I’ve asked him to comment on his feelings about stepping into the role of father for three children that are not his by birth, and how he feels about not being able to have one of his own. We each wrote our own response at the same time, without knowledge of what the other would say. Here is his reponse:
What HE SAYS:
On this Issue of Child-rearing:
Parenting. The word makes me shiver and beam at the same time. I mean, it involves raising children with care and watching them grow with pride. (Ah, such lovely images.)
But...it involves raising children with care and watching them grow with pride.
And if I fail, I will never forgive myself.
You see, fatherhood had always been a fleeting thought in my mind. Sure, I wanted kids. And I was going to have them some time in the future. The far off future.
So, I didn't think much about parenting. Wasn’t burdened by that fear of such enormous responsibility and the consequences of failure. Life was good.
Then I fell in love with a woman who has three daughters, and that little thing that was so far away hit me straight in the face.
I’m going to be a dad. Soon! I don’t even get the standard 9 months to prepare myself.
Can I handle the pressures of raising three kids? Of being a role model? Of providing for them? Can I do all of this at an age when most are still growing up themselves, without children of their own?
Answer: I have to.
Not only for Kimberly, but for myself. I have to prove to myself that I can handle raising kids. That I can confront my fears.
And though I have only recently, due to my young age, found independence from my family, I feel like I can keep one together. And, honestly, I miss being part of one. A close one. One that eats dinner together and watches movies before going to bed. One that you can come home to everyday of the week.
So, am I worried about being a daddy to three little girls? Yes.
Do I want to be a daddy to three little girls? Yes.
And I will do anything to make sure I raise them properly. I will endure any stress, pain, and subsequent headaches in order to raise them properly.
But yes, I'm scared. I mean, what does properly mean anyways? Kimberly has informed me they didn’t come with an instructional guide.
But whatever. I’m committed to this. To them. And I will not let them down. Of that I am sure.
On the Issue of Biology:
Giving Birth to Creation
There is something special and unique about having your own biological child. It means a piece of you is going out into the world, continuing your legacy.
I can't have that with Kimberly.
Or can I...
Sure, there will be no physical part of myself going out into the world through our little girls. But what about the psychological? The emotional? The Spiritual?
My girls will carry the morals that I teach them, the knowledge that I share, and the emotions that they feel for me. Is that any less important than the physical?
No. It's even more important.
Almost any man can be a biological father. Few can be a real father, truly treating their kids as part of themselves.
That's what I'm going to do. And I can't wait to do it.
I feel blessed that Kimberly's daughters, including being adorable and brilliant, share a common interest with me: writing.
When I heard that they scribble down stories and discuss characters my heart melted and my jaw dropped. (There might have even been drool.)
My brother and I have never shared interests with our father, and I could see how a part of him was always saddened by this. Not disappointed. But sad.
And I wondered: when I had my own kids, would they enjoy writing? Beacuse really, that's my biggest passion in life. That’s where most of my knowledge resides.
And I must admit that if my kids hated writing or, god forbid, even reading, I'd be sad. I’d still love them and raise them to be strong in their own talents, but I would worry they would feel the same disconnect to me that I have always felt with my father. The same disconnect I know Kimberly often feels with her parents.
But Kimberly's children love writing and reading. They are bright and creative. And I'm happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I would love them and raise them as my own regardless of their artistic and creative inclinations. But isn’t a big part of wanting your own child motivated by that desire to see a part of yourself in them?
I see that in our girls. And I’m more confident now, knowing that I can relate to them. I can give them something even their own biological father can’t. A love and understanding of what makes them tick, or how they think and the kind of temperament they have. They need creativity, play, flexible structures that allow them to think outside the normal boundaries. I get that. I relate to that. So I can more fully appreciate and relate to them.
So, is it better to have a biological child and risk different interests, or to adopt another one who shares your passion?
I don't know.
But I do know that I love Kimberly's daughters. They are everything I could ever want or need. And I'm hoping that, one day, I can be that to them as well.
That I can be their father.
AND…Back to Kimberly:
There are men twice his age who would not want to take on that challenge.
So you tell me. Have we really missed out on anything? No. We haven’t. We’ve been blessed with more than anyone I know. And for that I will be forever grateful and in awe.
What’s next with Kimberly and Dmytry:
We’ve been blown away by the love, support, comments and stories we’ve received over the last several days. What started last week as a “hmmm…maybe we should blog about this whole age difference thing…” has become so much more. One post became two, became three…and now…
It is becoming a whole blog of its own. That’s right folks, we are starting a blog devoted exclusively to our life together. Each week we will write anywhere from one to three posts together, dealing with issues ranging from age, to children, to sex (in a PG style so we don’t have to reset our settings…), to our work as writing partners.
We’d love for you to join us on this journey. This isn’t going to be a blog about older women dating younger men. It's going to be about us as a couple and how we live, laugh and love our way through life together.
We hope our journey will inspire you on yours. That the lessons we learn will add value to your life, and that we can engage in a dialogue with you as we explore what it means to really love.
But we need a name! So we’re taking suggestions. A blog name and URL name (if different.) Keeping in mind that we are both published writers looking to land book deals (meaning our names will be, hopefully someday, well-known). We’re looking at variations of our names (Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov) or some other thing entirely. Post your ideas here or contact us directly at KimberlyandDmytry@gmail.com.
And thanks for reading. We love you all!
Kimberly and Dmytry