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I do not have children.

This was by design.

I helped raise my brothers, eight years my junior. I experienced the trials of their infancy, the stress of their youthful mistakes, at least as much as an elder brother can.

I was not completely averse to the concept of procreation. Luckily, though, the woman I bonded with for life had opinions similar to mine, and so we have been happily childless for nigh on forty years.

And yet, there are children in our lives. The progeny of relations. The nieces and nephews of friends. The kids and grandkids of those in our closest circle.

This weekend I will have the honor of joining in marriage two young people who have been a part of our lives for several years. In June, I did the same for another couple from our innermost circles. In both cases, of both couples, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride when thinking of who these young people are.

But this is unjustified, undeserved, for I did nothing to raise these wonderful young people. I did nothing to mold their morals, their beliefs, their trueness to self, their admirable ethic, their compassion, their cleverness, their devotion to others, their loving spirits. That was the work of their parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, elder cousins. That is their pride to take, not mine.

And yet, I feel pride.

Reflecting on this, it is probably more accurate to say that what I am feeling is a bit switched around. What feels like pride in them is actually pride in knowing them. I am proud that these remarkable young people want me in their lives. I am proud that they esteem me enough to want me to officiate their wedding. I am proud to know them, to call them friends, and to love them.

It is as close as I will ever come to feeling a father’s pride, but it is more than I ever expected, and I am grateful for it.

k

 

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