In the aftermath of the Tonsils & Adenoids Relocation, spent some time thinking about some things. Partly on the idiocy and bigotry of the people who call parents 'breeders'. Leaving everything else aside, barring a real change of mind they've completely blocked themselves from ever knowing how simultaneously wonderful and scary it can be having kids.
Father of goddaughter is my age and until marriage(wife had some from previous marriage) and birth of daughter had no real experience with small kids, let alone kids of his own. While she was in surgery we went to pick up some drink and calories for him & wife* and while doing so, at one point he said "Now I know why parents get old; kids can be the most terrifying thing in the world." Yeah. That's one side; the other is the look on his face when he held that baby for the first time. He's having the usual problems with a stepchild; I've seen him mad as hell when the kid deliberately does something to screw things up, and I've seen the desperation he has, that desire to be a good father, to help raise the kid. And the delight when they can get things to work. It's all rolled together into one big, messy stew. The kind the jerks who sneer at 'breeders' will never taste.
Way back when the kids were little, I got a call at work; wife had walked by sons crib and he didn't seem to be, well, doing anything. She touched him and he jerked and took a big breath. She called the doctor who said "Bring him in. Now." Which led to the call, as she was currently at the hospital; the doc had done a quick exam and admitted him for tests, and he'd had another episode not long after they got there. So I spent the rest of the shift burning calories like gas in a muscle car, and at the end blew out the door. He spent the night there with his mother, I at home with daughter. He had several episodes during the night, and SIDS was the diagnosis. So we got to spend the next few months with him hooked to a monitor every time he went to sleep. Fortunate compared to some kids: if he stopped breathing for more that 'x' seconds the alarm sounded, it'd startle him and he'd start breathing and the alarm would stop. Kind of amazing how fast you can adjust to something like that: in the night it would sound, you'd sort-of wake up(after the first couple of nights) and drift back down when the alarm stopped. And that went on for about six-eight months, can't remember exactly, and he grew through the danger age/phase/whateverthehellitis. Do I wish he hadn't had to damn near die with this? Oh, HELL yes; but it was part of the package. Just like learning to shoot was happy, so was puppies and cats and "How the hell did you get up there?" was a bit of a mix.
Daughter didn't have that particular problem as a baby, but she's had some health problems, not quite the same stress-inducing level as SIDS but not fun. The balance to that was watching her first shot(.54-caliber muzzleloader with a light load when she was three, story for another time), and the pet mouse that would sit on her shoulder and groom, and finally getting the hang of a bicycle, and quenching oil up to her shoulder(dropped a piece of coal in the bucket and of course she had to get it...)
I've been scared to death when one was sick or hurt, and worn to death pulling a makeshift sled through snow with two kids on it. Some was delightful, some most definitely not, but all part of the package.
You know what's one of the hard things? When you look back and see the times you were not the man/father/husband you could have been. Can't change those times, can try to teach the kids so they don't make the same mistakes. Another part of the package.
Remember the line about "Old age is not for sissies"? Neither is parenting.
*When I got to the hospital I looked at him and said "I cannot tell a lie; you look like hell." Wife was somewhat better, but not a whole lot.
Just got a message from the dad: before the surgery goddaughter had said one of the things she'd like to eat was chicken noodle soup; says he "I thought I'd get some chicken and stars too. Then the thought occured to me: chicken soup is referred to as 'Jewish penicillin' so, if it was Jewish chicken and stars, would the stars have SIX points?"