Irreconcilable Differences

When our only child was born in the early years of the Culture Wars, my husband and I asked ourselves ‘what will he have to do to shock us?’ Today, my son divorced me.

Dear Brick,

I accept that you like to fight. Accept that I don’t. When the push notification arrived, I thought it was a scam. Then a prank. Then a cry for help. Now, I accept that you sincerely wish to divorce your parents. I accept that some 16-bit municipal algorithm could not compute a valid reason to deny your suit. Your Otherfather says I shouldn’t contact you, that it will jeopardize our appeal. I can’t not try. I co-created you. I raised you. I know what makes you tick. I know that if you hear what I’m about to say, you will choose to act differently.

Brick: your deepest desire is unnatural.

I choose my language carefully. My own father used that word - unnatural - in an inaccurate way to describe my love for your Otherfather, our marriage, and the legal actions we took to affirm our right to conceive you. My response then, now, always:

“natural is what happens in nature. We are part of nature, ergo, anything we do is natural.”

My father disagreed. He could not reconcile himself to your co-creation, nor to the global conversation it generated. We were estranged. Yet when he died, the man I mourned was not a stranger. He was, is, and will always be my father. And that’s what we’re really haggling about here: your absurd attempt to make mutable a relationship that is immutable in the laws of Nature.

If - and it’s a big if - the higher courts find the dissolution of a relationship between biological parents and child to be constitutional, you will have won a legal victory; a legally-binding judgement will separate us in the eyes of the law, and open a legal avenue for millions more unhappy children to pour down. As, it now seems, was the case with your birth.

But I know that your real fight is with a higher power: Nature itself. You wish you had never been born. You’re trying to find a way to cope with the unbearable reality of it all. So far, so human. But your deepest desire - the one I know to be motivating all this nonsense, and the one I call unnatural - is to somehow extirpate the genetic, biological reality of our relationship. I feel it in your contempt. I’m sorry, kid. What you want is the definition of unnatural. Impossible in nature.

I will always be your father. You will always be my son. And your Otherfather’s son too. Your DNA is fabricated from 50% of his genes, and 50% of mine and that’s that. That will never change. Certainly not by force of human will. So by pursuing this divorce, the most you can hope to gain is a form of vengeance - pain for pain. Not relief. Never satisfaction.

The purpose of this letter is to convince you not to try.

I’m sorry that you’re sorry that you were born. Your Otherfather and I are imperfect people. That stands to reason. We are of nature. Perfectibility is unnatural. Nature dictates that we all have to find decentralised or individual ways to manage our imperfectability. I believe this feeling is generated by the engine of evolution. It is the religious sense. It is more present, more palpable in all living creatures than sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste. It manifests itself in different ways in different people. Your Otherfather’s religion is the law. Mine is experimental biology - the awesome act of being Nature’s partner in creation. I believe your religion is blood sport. You know I find it distasteful to watch you step into a cage. To systematically overpower your opponents by force of strength and will. I fear for the safety of the normyborns you face. They don’t stand a chance against your genetic engineering, let alone the coaching and material advantages we lavished on top. Hence the controversy over the titles you’ve won. You’ve now reached the summit of that world, I believe. So you’ve found your next fight. Your next opportunity to draw blood.

Brick. I’m begging you to stand down. Please. For your own sake, and the sake of everyone who loves you. I told you at the beginning of this letter that I don’t like to fight. Hear me, Brick. It’s not because I’m weak. It’s because, like you, I’m far, far too strong. I made you, my son, and I can unmake you with the flick of a genetic switch. Hear me, Brick. Your Otherfather and I will not see you in court. Because you will drop this nonsense now, at once.

I would not wish the alternative on either of us.

On a happier note - your Otherfather and I are expecting you to join us for Thanksgiving. Tell me if you intend to come by yourself, or with that lovely lady friend (!) from the livestream??

Your loving father. ❤️

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