January 17, 2012


   So, I am sitting somewhere between hours and days away from having a child of my own. It's a strange feeling. We have been putting kids off for so long. Now that it's finally here I have had my head filled with interesting thoughts. No doubt many of my thoughts are reflections of what yours have been or will be. Either way I want to share some of mine.
   I've specifically been thinking a lot about who this kid is going to be. Working in science has taught me a lot about genetics and how this is supposed to work biologically. Basically this kid is going to have some of my biology and some of my wife's. Then there is the random genetic mutations that exist outside of anything that we have. This all combines to make a person. But who is he? We are all more than our DNA.
   I have my own hopes and expectations for my son. I often catch myself hoping that he will be a lot like me. I have to really watch that because I really don't want to project myself onto him. He won't have my experiences to mold him. He will have to live through his very own.
   Choices are really the interesting part to me. I made a lot of choices that I think were really good. I chose not to smoke. I chose not to do drugs. I hope that my child will make similar choices but I know that those choices and others like them are rather individual. They are not often based upon the choices a parent makes once a child reaches a certain age.
   What I am getting at is that I don't know this child. He is part of me and even though he hasn't been born yet I love him a lot. My love for him is so crazy and unexpected. It's just strange to think that this individual is my responsibility for the next 18 years and I really don't even know him.
   I also often think about the changing world my kid is being born into. When my great grandparents were born their life expectancy was about 45 years. When my grandparents were born that leaped to 78. It's strangely possibly that my children can expect a life longer than 150. Being born at the dawn of the age of medical technology our children will see a world that might seem completely crazy to us today. Medical science is within decades of curing some of the most difficult diseases we know of.
   As an explanation I have recently read articles on cures for cancer using modified HIV, cures for age, drugs that improve memory in Alzheimer's suffering mice and even read some interesting progress in Parkinson's and Diabetes. The world's largest health problem, Malaria, is currently being worked on by what is probably the largest private research fund in the history of the world (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
   Knowledge and education is also quite different than what it was when I was born. With instant access to information about any topic at their fingertips our children have the ability to be better informed than any of us were. The possibilities in education are vast and changing as different people experiment with how the Internet can improve things from homework to classroom lectures.
   With all of these differences in the world the choices and developments in children will be different. I can't help but wonder how this will effect this small ball of humanity that is kicking around in my wife's belly. I don't really know who he is or who he can become any better than he does.