“You need to get you a baby–you need to have one.”
That was Mama. That was the millionth time she’s alluded to me getting preggers. She suggests it like it’s so easy, like I can just pick up a baby at my local supermarket. Then again, the way friends are popping out babies and celebs are adopting, maybe not as hard as I think it is. All I need to do is get a guy and have sex with him, right? Easy stuff.
I didn’t even respond. I’m used to it by now.
She didn’t actually make this statement out of the blue though. I was at an event for her job–a carnival for kids. Her co-worker’s nephew was there and he was too cute to just play with and walk away. I stole him. We were standing around and I ushered him to move closer to me while men moved tables around. He looked up at me, smiled and reached for me. His entire hand wrapped around my index finger. The whole day, the one-year old followed me around, playing with his balloon animal and making cute faces at me. He was my little buddy.
No surprise. Children and babies have always been drawn to me. I don’t know why, but it’s been that way since I can remember. When I was in grad school, I was a substitute teacher. I preferred to teach grades K-5 because my first day on the job, I literally jacked a middle schooler up for talking slick. Smaller children were much easier to deal with. I’ve never taken an education class in my life, but I fell right into the job. Teachers requested me regularly, so I really got to know the kids. By the end of the year, I had a box full of pictures and letters children had given me. I just have a knack for the babies, I guess.
Apparently for everyone else, somewhere between that time and the ripe age of 29, a gift for keeping children turned into the gateway to motherhood. Suddenly, if you see me holding a baby, it signals that I need to have one. Guess what? I ain’t ready.
We took my cousins and nephew skating this weekend. My nephew, 8, swore he could skate. We all laced up and found out he, unlike my cousins who live in skating rinks, couldn’t skate after all. I begged him to let me teach him. Nope, he wasn’t having it. Finally, he obliged. He took my hand and we rolled out on to the floor. He stayed close to the outside to hold on to the wall, stumbling and fighting to keep him balance along the way. Meanwhile, my cousins were zooming by and showing out (doing the Stanky Leg) with the other kids. He said he just wanted to watch everyone and quietly sat on the sideline. He was defeated, and I couldn’t stand it. What can I do to build his confidence? I can’t let him give up like this.
Are you afraid you’ll fall?” I asked.
He shook his head for no, then yes.
“Oh, everybody falls! I fall all the time. Sometimes, that’s the fun part.” I didn’t mention the time I fell on some concrete and fractured my knee. Ouch!
He still wasn’t trying to hear me. My mom and I coaxed him to skate down the hall a few times with me. An hour later, he was doing so much better. Not a pro, but some of his fear was gone, so the mission was accomplished. More than actually learning, I was concerned about his will to learn. In the end, I was proud.
Is that what parenthood is about? Always trying to find the perfect balance between preparing their children for battles and possible defeat and fighting their battles for them to prevent defeat? I assume so. Hard job. I’m not saying I’m not capable, but it’s a much more difficult than making goo-goo eyes at a baby I can give back whenever I get ready. That day I definitely saw two sides of the coin. Yeah, I ain’t ready. But who ever is?