I've never answered that truthfully. If we've talked about it, I'm sorry. You have never been given a straight answer. Because I don't owe you one.
I've said yes, no, maybe, someday, I don't know... All of the things that you say when you're uncomfortable and don't know what else to say. And all of the things you want to say are the things that you're taught not to say because they're impolite. And all of the things that you're thinking are convoluted and the answers measure far heavier than the intended weight of the question.
So, like me, you lie. Because ambiguity is easy.
But here is the real and only truth you will get out of me, on this subject:
Being a parent terrifies me. Because I know my own crap. I am intensely aware of my shortcomings. They blind me in the mirror and shout at me when I'm trying to sleep. They call to me when I'm alone. They whisper to me when I'm not. They laugh at me when I'm around others' families and I don't quite know how to be. My skin feels odd on my bones and I can feel the blood behind my eyes and hear it pounding in my ears. I don't know how to watch people love each other because I feel like I'm observing animals behind glass. I feel like I'm intruding. That my insecurities call out and glow like a giant, shining arrow.
Because I know that I'm not like everyone else. And that everyone else isn't like everyone else, but you get it nonetheless. I know that I'm missing things. I lack binding. That is to say, I feel little to no emotional responsibility to anyone. Save my husband and my younger brother.
But that is it.
And I know it.
I've known it for longer than I think I care to recognize. This is what makes me different. And this gaping hole is the cliff I stand before, palms clammy, throat tight and chest heaving, knowing that I can't make the leap or close the gap on my own.
These things are taught.
These skills are given.
What I know is that abandonment is extremely easy. Even more so if you don't think about it. And compartmentalizing is a skill that I have mastered. This has colored everything in my life. I also know that I don't fear much. I don't have the connecting skills enough to fear things not being anymore. All I have...or had, rather, is control. Control is the only thing my broken world had leant me in order to build things back to normal. My normal.
I joke that I am a broken robot. A malfunctioning mass of computer and digital parts. Cold and unfeeling.
But those things aren't entirely true. I feel. And I'm recognizing the areas that need to be patched and re-seeded. I'm terribly and deeply in love with my husband. And, if we're going to strip down to the bare bones of it, I might as well tell you that it is only through him (and faith) that I've come to learn emotional responsibility.
Some things are not innate.
And some people need patient teachers to show them the way. A lantern holder on a very dim path. And so he has been. Unbeknownst to me, he has lit a torch, grabbed my dirty and barren hand, and dragged me into the light. And this is where he has shown me that fears are fought together. That life is not meant to live alone. And that the missing parts can be replaced.
Here it is. In the best and only way I know how to broach the subject. And the only form of an answer that will ever be given.