The Oath

“I swear by my life and my love it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

I posted this quote the other day and received a response that basically said I’d change my mind when I have kids, so I decided that I should explain this quote in an attempt to explain myself.

First of all, I’ve wanted kids since my cousin entered my life. She came into the world as this beautiful little angel and seeing her eyes glow with love and learning was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. It is hard to believe that she is in post-grad education now and only a year or so away from being able to use the title of “doctor.”

Secondly, I honestly believe that if I had had children, I’d still be in my first marriage regardless of whether all the other BS had changed. I stuck around for 10 years after the relationship started to sour and tried and tried and tried to fix it. If there were kids involved I could’ve stuck it out at least 3-4 times longer.

So, although I know you weren’t trying to insult me, it did sting a little when I was told children would change my opinion. But let’s get on with explaining the quote.

What does it mean “to live for another man?” There are several connotations and implications to consider. First of all, if you consider this statement with the most intensity and passion that can be read into it, it means that without that person, you would find no reason to breathe. There would be no reason to deal with all the horrible things in life without you. If you want to read it on a slightly lower intensity setting, it becomes more along the lines of life is unenjoyable without you. If you weren’t here to make me happy, there is nothing I could do to be happy.

What makes this an important quote to consider is that the second half is the implication of failing the first. If I will only draw breath and find pleasure and happiness in this world through you, I am begging you to be in my life and give me reason to breathe and to be happy. However, it is not even as honest as begging. This is the marketing trick that charities use when they mail you a nickel and ask you to mail it back with a donation. This is the marketing trick when scammers ask you to pay fees so they can send you money. When you live for another person, you are demanding a piece of them by hook or by crook.

So, as romantic as it is to say “I need you,” and “you are the center of my universe,” and ”you are the only thing that makes me happy.” I never want to demand that of my children. I never want to think that my child comes home only because it brings me joy. I hope my children will see that I am a star scattered in the universe as they are. I want them to learn that we can look to each other as beautiful specimens of creation and find guidance and inspiration in one another.

I want my daughter to know that she brings me joy and happiness and that even when I am angry or disappointed or sad or disapproving, there is no diminishing of the love. I want her to know that love is like the sunshine and that clouds may drift across the sky and she may hide in shadows, but it does not actually dim the sun. I want her to know that my love doesn’t need to see her or hear her voice every day, but that every day her voice and face find their way into my life is better. I want her to know that she is a star in the night sky and in the day sky. I want her to be where she needs to be and to shine and to have planets revolve about her.

I want my son to know that women are like stars and that the sun is only special because sometimes it feels like we revolve around her. I never want him to be blinded by the sun for more than half the time. I want him to also look out at the night sky and see all the beautiful stars in the universe. I do want to teach him the beauty and joy of being close enough to one person that her beauty reflects off of everything and brightens the world. I hope he can understand that and make someone feel as special as the sun without them getting jealous that he gazes at stars. I want him to stand his ground and let others revolve around him and to sometimes revolve around “her.” I want him to learn this dance, as I never have.

Yes, I have romanticized the idea of having children. I have thought about it alot. Perhaps having children will change me and I will dote on them and maybe I will only live for them. But I hope that they never see it that way. I hope they know that they belong among the stars and that the sun is just a special star. I want them to know that they are special stars in my sky, day and night; when I can’t see them because they have drifted too far or because they are hiding behind something else, I think of them and love them still.

So if this is ever read by my children, the one thing I want you to know is that I do not live for you, but I live with a piece of you in my heart every day. The thoughts of you and the memories are part of me that feeds my soul. I remember the shadows you cast on my life and the glow you give to everything, but you are stars and are meant to shine from within.  Find your place in the universe and remember me.  Take a piece of me and keep it in your heart.  If you ever want to feel the glow of my life, find me.  Never forget that you brighten my life too, but never glow for me.  Glow for you.  Grow for you.  Shine for you.  Find someone who loves you like this.  Find lots of people who love you like this.

And shine.


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