Grandpa’s weekend at Bernie’s

A few months ago I won a pretty big award. I was touched by the number of cards and phone calls I got in congratulations. However, as I opened each card or listened to each phone call, I noted something curious. Most of the hearty applause was preceded by something like this: “When you’re dad called, he said he had some really good news about his elder son. We expected him to say you were having a baby. Congratualtions, anyway. And get on that baby-making thing.”

And, thank you for making me feel like a sperm-less, selfish, irresponsible, genocidal heel.

I get no real pressure from my parents about fathering a child. In fact, I get mixed signals. Sometimes the pleas come in the form of jokes: “Better get on the stick, boy. Your boys won’t swim forever!” Other times, in more serious conversations it sounds like: “Make sure you’re ready. Make sure you’re ready.”

For several years, I’ve been listening to the latter. And about every six months (the bi-annual time I start thinking it is time), I go through a several-week personal argument between the need to procreate and the fear of bringing a child into the world before I know I’m ready to take care of it.

Friends with children indicate that I will never be “ready.” I’m pretty sure they’re right on that front. Further, I heard somebody say the other day that marriage without children is just two people fucking and paying each other’s bills. That may not be too far off the mark either.

And yet, I hesitate. I wonder whether I should shoot the moon professionally first. I wonder if I need a year of full abandon to exorcise all of my personal demons. I wonder…well, I wonder a lot of things.

For now, I’m not overly troubled. This doesn’t prey on my brain constantly. However, I was heartened to learn this morning that one of America’s elders just became a grandfather for the first time. He may be in a state of suspended animation. He definitely is 100 years old.

Regardless, Strom Thurmond is now a grandfather.

Patience, my friends, is among the greatest of virtues.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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