My children are far beyond baby age– one is 11 and the other is 20. While it has been some time since I’ve had itty bitties at home, when around friends with little ones, I still recognize their exasperated expressions, and empathize with their dark circles and exhaustion, too. I sometimes hear myself saying, “I remember those days, and I am so glad I’m past that stage!”
Just so you know, I am SO lying when I say this. First of all, anyone who knows me will tell you I still have dark circles, and I’m still exhausted. What they won’t tell you, because they probably don’t know, is that I do miss those baby days, and I would really love to have another.
I started thinking about this topic the other day when I was holding the 6 month old son of my co-worker. He was a beautiful boy, and seemed to take to me right away. He cooed, he drooled, he smiled and he laughed. When I blew raspberries on his cheek, he squealed with delight. I lifted him high, and with that high-pitched, syrupy voice only suitable for babies, told him how gorgeous and sweet he was (“You’re such a handsome boy, yes you are, yes you are!”). I was simply in heaven, until a comment was made that swiftly smacked me back to earth. Another of my co-workers, after seeing me in the zone with cute little baby boy, flashed a big toothy grin and asked me if I were ready for…GRANDCHILDREN.
What the freak?!?!? Toothy co-worker didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but she was unwittingly referring to something that I wasn’t prepared to deal with. I AM old enough to have grandchildren. I’m not ready to have them, but it certainly is possible. At the same time, however, I am still capable of having babies (thank you very much). For a number of reasons it may not be advisable, but it certainly is possible.
I generally don’t have a problem with getting older, ’cause you know what they say: it’s better than the alternative. You do have to come to terms with certain things as you age, however, and that’s what’s difficult. Women know that their childbearing window is a relatively short one. While many men can father children well past middle-age, a woman’s fertility is greatly decreased by the time she has reached her forties. The idea of this is perfectly fine for many of us. (After all, a lot of other stuff comes with the gift of fertility, stuff that I’ve been ready to leave behind for years– PMS, anyone?). And I thought it was okay for me, until I got all gushy and sentimental while holding that baby.
I’m not sure what else to say about this topic other than I’m pretty sure it’s universal. I will say that none of my close friends have admitted to these feelings, but I do remember an old “Waltons” episode when Olivia was pining for another baby (and she already had seven!), as did Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show”. Some like-minded person had to write those storylines, right? More seriously, the poignant lyrics of the Bonnie Raitt song, “Nick of Time,” speak to this:
A friend of mind she cries at night, and she calls me on the phone…Sees babies everywhere she goes and she wants one of her own…She’s waited long enough she says and still she can’t decide…Pretty soon she’ll have to choose, and it tears her up inside. She is scared, scared she’ll run out of time.
I thought that perhaps I shouldn’t write about this, because it seemed a little too personal. But maybe the theme here is not having one more baby, but of running out of time to do the things that matter. And there are so many things in life that matter, and many of them concern the people that are already in our lives.
I’m going to keep thinking about this. Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on this topic.