For most of my (short) adult life, I was pretty sure that kids were going to be very far in the future. If my parents had their way, I would have been married by 18 and living my life Duggar-style. Mind you, I have three brothers who are just as capable of procreation as I am, but it’s probably better for the universe that they refrain from spawning. My parents decided early that I, like Obi-Wan, was their only hope.
The day that I got married, I was still on the “kids are smelly” page. A few weeks after, I didn’t get nauseous at the thought, but it still wasn’t happening anytime soon.
Then I went to brunch.
I should provide some background information. It had been a rocky year in my immediate family, and my younger brother and I were kind of just getting re-acclimated to each other. I had very recently met his girlfriend whom he had been seeing for over a year. I knew that she had a 5-year-old son who my brother was playing stepdad to, but I didn’t know anything about the kid. I also didn’t know how I felt about my little brother raising someone else’s kid. Up until about a year prior, I was still waking his 21-year-old butt up on the rare morning that he actually did anything. Now, he was doing all of this weird big kid stuff, and I was struggling with his transformation.
When I finally met V, my brother’s no-longer-new girlfriend, I was instantly in love with her. She kept him in line, required him to act like an adult, and didn’t take crap from him. More than that, he LISTENED. It was glorious.
I planned on meeting my parents, Little Bro and V for brunch. I’m not kidding when I say that that stupid brunch turned my whole damn world upside down and left me in a state that I have dubbed “blissful turmoil”.
The booth in the restaurant looked normal as I walked up. What I didn’t see what the five-year-old hiding in the corner because he was too shy to say hi to... anyone.
He wouldn’t talk to me. He didn’t like when I looked at him. In fact, the only time I could get him to respond was when I encouraged him to hit Little Bro over the head. That got him going, and it was nice to have someone else to do it for once.
We’ll call him Little E. His name should really be “pint-sized-brat-who-was-presumptuous-enough-to-steal-my-flipping-heart.” Little E will suffice, though.
Upon meeting him, I initially decided that spending time with him would be awesome payback for the terror who was my little brother growing up. I could fill him with candy, buy him annoying toys, rile him up and hand him back to make my brother understand what it was like to be irritated 24/7. I told Little E that if he came and hung out with me, there would be sugar galore, trips to the toy store, and puppies! SO MANY PUPPIES! He stared at me blankly until I looked back at him, then he looked away. Eye contact was going to take a while.
I kept mentioning the awesome things that we could do if he came and hung out with me, but he didn’t respond. I discovered that I could get him to knock David over the head on command, so we did that for a while. Then, it was time to go, and it looked like I would be leaving brunch without a five-year-old companion. Oh well. I had errands to run anyway. Target (pronounced: Tar-jay with a soft J, like yogging) was calling my name.
We said our farewells and I got into my car and drove away. Not thirty seconds later, my phone rang. It was Little Bro.
“Where are you?” He asked.
Clearly, I could not have been more than a minute away seeing as, you know, it had been less than I minute since I left the restaurant.
“Making the U-Turn, why?”
“E wants to come with you. Meet us at the gas station.”
From there, folks, it was all over. I loaded him into the back seat of the car, asked if there were any rules that I should know about, and buckled him in. He has had me wrapped around his finger since.
I should note that, for some reason, I had a huge piece of extra-large bubble wrap in the back seat of my car. This may have been an additional enticement for him.
From that moment, my anti-child stance has been completely reversed. Now, not only do I want them, but I think I want them soon. For a minute or two. Then I ask myself if I’m crazy. Then I think it’s totally normal. Then I think I’m crazy again.
My day with Little E was wonderful. I’ll tell you about it later. The really important part is that he is the catalyst to this strange purgatory that I teeter on day by day.
To procreate or to not procreate? That is the effing question.