Reflections of Self: Progeny

It may be trite to say that we r innately bred to procreate, no matter our sexual identity or fluidity thereof, even in today’s mishmash of teaching children in school, from ages 5 to 9, as in kindergarten to 3rd grade, about how we express ourselves in gender identity. This is a recent development in the USA, in defiance of historical norms of what it is to be functioning as a male or female in society. We see the nomenclature as saying “non-binary” and record numbers of older children r embracing the fluidity of being neither sex, as in ambiguous. So now u have to be even more specific as in sexual identity, and have public rest rooms that define not by one’s sexual organs, but rather what sex a person feels he is inwardly. So we have seen non-denominated rest rooms in public, in New York City, that admit people w opposite sex organs even, in the name of the rights and freedom of the “non-binary.”

One can almost see why this group is so misunderstood and even frequently rejected. Do u want your teenage daughter in a high school locker room changing for athletic practice in front of someone who has male genitalia, also stripping? It gets problematic for the girls, the person who has not transitioned, and their respective parents as well. I feel for everyone so encumbered, myself, but I am blissfully free of such considerations, not having had children of my own. But I bring this up as a case in point presently, as a social issue, because my point today is to look at the desire to reproduce, and what effect this has on one’s life meaning, and also when one has accomplished said goal, by having a baby, what does that mean later, as that child grows up, and also becomes an adult…my question today is: R we hard wired to reproduce in order to achieve our own immortality thru our children, and our grandchildren, and so on, as time goes on? Do these succeeding generations extend our own lives by the example we have given, and the values we have taught? Or does each generation move further away from us, in terms of lifestyle and ways of life? Do u feel any connection to your grandparents, or your great grandparents, if u were lucky to know them, at all? And what influence do aunts and uncles or cousins, have, if any? R we unique or just an amalgamation of our own life experiences?

In my own life, an interesting anecdote emerges. My mother had a 1st daughter, out of wedlock, in 1957, and was forced to give up said daughter in adoption, and was to bear the shame and ignominy of having borne said child, the rest of her life, in the eyes of her shamed parents, even tho she managed to marry and bear a 2nd daughter, in the traditional way, which was me. She married her gentleman, and I was borne a respectable 1 year and 4 months later. In those years, it was an outrage to find oneself pregnant and unmarried, effectively abandoned by the father of the child. So my grandparents sent my mother out of the home even, to work in a kind of halfway house, in Staten Island, until her pregnancy came to its conclusion. And she complied w the house rules, and gave that daughter up, having no means of her own to support said child. It was a bitter time for my mother then, at a mere age 21. Many years later, as I was approaching my own 42nd birthday, we made 1st contact w that 1st daughter, mom and me, as she was also searching for us too, finally. Mom had named her Wendy at the hospital, and she had contact w her newborn a mere week before the adoption people whisked her away. For reasons of privacy, we shall refer to this woman as Wendy, even tho that is not her real life name.

We found out that Wendy had had a good life after being adopted, and grew up in Queens, in Bayside, and was also raised w a naturally born brother, to her adoptive parents. She grew up to be many things, of which one could be proud, but she was also gay, and I became this bridge to reconciliation between her and my mother, who was Wendy’s birth mother. My mother had a negative reaction to knowing that she had a natural daughter who was gay, because she felt like that had a reflection on her, in terms of genetics, or whatever it is that confers “ownership” of one’s children, even tho in fact no parent owns their child, but is merely given temporary custody of it by God. So I had to convince my mother that in no way does a child’s sexual identity flow from his or her genes, even tho that may be not entirely true scientifically. The jury’s still out on how much of sexual identity is genetically determined. There is a theory about birth order in boys born to a woman, and each succeeding boy has a greater chance of being gay, but that isn’t applicable here. In any case, I had a more modern take on how to treat an adult child who happens to be gay, and making that not a deal breaker for the relationship. I was successful w both Wendy and my mother, and we had a relationship together, all through those 8 years and 8 months that mom remained alive having both of us as her daughters.

But do u, my reading audience, who r parents, do u feel as if your children r little “Mini-Me” like in the Austin Powers movies? Do u merely want copies of yourself, or if not exact copies, instead some facsimile thereof? Do u feel like u go on infinitely, as long as your progeny hold on to some of your own values and traits, or even if there is some resemblance also? R they your key to the world, even after u have died? And if u get to have and know grandchildren, do they also reflect u, in who they r, and how they act, how they look? Is it primeval to our species to reproduce, and in the absence of it, to be sad, unfulfilled in a major life goal??

But then, there’s the obverse of the life coin too. What of it if your children do not have any kids of their own? Both I and my half sister lived out our lives without either bearing or adopting our own children, so did my parents fail because we did not reproduce?? Similarly, what of the parents who have had children w birth defects, major disabilities, or who had no chance to be considered desirable mates? I know of people who had no chance due to movement disorders, autistic spectrum disorders, craniofacial deformities, many textbooks of disorders that put them out of the running to find a mate, and reproduce…or going back to non-binary sexual identity, does that put them out of the running in order to have a baby? Who will reproduce w someone who is unclear about their own sexuality, or even the organs lined up correctly in order to facilitate that?

Sadly, some non-binary persons find themselves the victims of hatred and wind up killed even, or by suicide, and an over-prevalence of substance abuse disorders, which can become a means of suicide also. They absorb the hatred in society for that which is rejected and foreign. I personally wish people peace, freedom of expression, and tolerance for all. But I also have some semblance of having absorbed the lesson in my own culture that to not have reproduced is to have failed in life. Even if I reject that teaching as antiquated and hateful rhetoric of past generations of my ancestors. I know my life has had meaning even without having done these things. But u cannot escape your deeply held values either. So they coexist in my person.

I will go out of this life as some semblance of my parents, even some of my grandparents too, as in abilities that I have, and recognize that the line ends here. No more of my branches of the family tree. Even if it goes on w cousins I have, for which I am grateful. And some undesirable genetic traits also die w me, and that is a good thing, because I would not have wanted to pass them on either. I love children too much to inflict that on them. I pray for the next generation, that they be blessed and luckier than I have been. Even if I am greatly blessed in some other things as well.

And one final thought too: if your children have become doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, chemists, physicists, or mass murderers, serial rapists, arsonists, kidnappers, terrorists, does that also reflect on u as parents?? Have u provided the environment and seeds by which your children have become what they r?? And many permutations in between: what of the kids who never leave their parents’ home, who fail to grow up, who refuse to take responsibility? Those who had no chance ever because of racism in society, prevalent attitudes, historical incidents that wipe out communities, like war zones, or genocide, or teeming masses of illegal immigrants…many have had no chance from the get go, because of the color of their skin, or their having been born as a minority in a land that has no rights, but instead fascist dictatorship…a million little things go into the mix of a single life lived on Earth. And here I am, graphing out mine in pieces on a blog. Thanks for your time.

I heard on the news on the night of April 26th a real life incident/crime in Bridgeport, Connecticut: an 8 yr old boy who was neighbors w a 6 yr old boy, who had a history of bullying incidents w the younger boy, but who was also not disciplined as to how to stop doing that, a failure of parenting, in my opinion, had now committed a severe crime, an atrocity. The 8 yr old escalated it, by taking in hand a tennis ball soaked in gasoline, drenching the younger boy w the ball, and lit him on fire w a lighter, which resulted in 2nd and 3rd degree burns on the little boy, over his legs and his entire face…and the victimized family have started a GoFundMe, 4 lack of health insurance, and also needing to move away from the bully child who is a criminal now, but also not yet arrested, due to his age. And the parents of this 8 yr old perpetrator r also not being held responsible either! So r these parents responsible for not disciplining their bully child, and how did he become such a child? No child becomes such in a vacuum. But perhaps some sociopathic people start young, and that too can be genetic. My prayers r with the victim and his family. He will never be the same again, as even skin grafting leaves behind disfigurement, and frequently, also disability.

My paternal grandparents, Frieda & Herman.
My maternal grandparents Esther, Harold and my mom Harriett.
The Newmans together: Robert, Julianne, Maria, me, Glenn, Mark & Marilyn.
At our home in Queens, “Wendy,” me and mom Harriett.

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