I don't know you. I think that's fair because no one knows you. You might be tall and thin like your eventual father's family or short and squat like mine. You could be a wordsmith like me or a mechanical genius like your father. Even yet, there is a chance that you might never exist.
I can't wait to meet you, but I wonder if waiting might be better. Right now, I think I imagine you to be more of a fashion accessory or a new fancy toy than I do a lifelong obligation that screams and poops. I think of you like a new expensive purse that I would really like to have. The part of me who knows I can have whatever I want says, "NOW DAMNIT!" The part of me who is a reasonable adult says that it may be better to pay off our debt before giving birth to a human money pit. The realistic part of me knows that it's not really up to me. Also, my dear, understand that I don't actually buy expensive purses, and I know you're much more important than that. It was just an analogy. Chill out, baby.
I know that I will love you more than anything ever, but I also love other things. Don't worry, you'll be more important, but I will also try my hardest not to lose myself in your existence. I will probably want to spend every moment of my day with you, but please don't be offended if I really want to do a puzzle or go out with a friend without you. I like me. I like me a lot. And, selfish or otherwise, I worry that when you're here, I won't be anymore. I'll be hidden beneath your needs because I will just want to make you so happy.
But you will be happy. You will be surrounded by people who love you so much. You will be the first grandchild for your Mom Mom and Pop Pop. I say this not knowing when your arrival will be, but knowing that the universe would appreciate if my siblings did not reproduce. They could, but probably won't. If they do, it won't be for a while. You'll be grandchild number five for your father's family, but you will be the most spoiled. Not because you're the youngest, but because your father is your Grandma's favorite. He's the only boy out of four children, and he is her baby. Your Grandma will be a bundle of happy tears when she sees you for the first time, and she won't want to let go. She'll have to though, because Mom Mom and Pop Pop, my mommy and daddy, have not had a grandchild of their own yet, and they get dibs. They've already made that clear. I think Grandma will understand. There will also be tons of aunts and uncles (biological and by choice) who aren't going to let you be for a second. You will probably be the best socialized baby in the world. You will almost certainly be that freakishly mature child because there are going to be so many adults wanting your attention. In short, you will be awesome.
You might be bullied, and that's okay. I don't want you to be bullied, but to a certain extent, it's part of growing up. You will probably go to public school because you likely won't remember anything that you learn in the classroom, but you will remember that if you open your mouth to that burly gentleman in the corner, he might pound you into the dust. I will allow you to solve these problems for yourself to a certain extent, and I promise to not go all mama bear on things before it's necessary. I assure you, however, that if it's necessary, I will go mama bear all over that place and they will not see it coming. You will always have a chance to handle it how you see fit. Then, they will see how terrifying 5 foot 2 inches of protectiveness can be. Watch out Class of 2031. I will get you if necessary.
I hope that you get your dad's way with mechanics and my sense of humor. Don't get me wrong, your dad has a wonderful sense of humor, but mine comes directly from your Pop Pop, and he's my best friend. I hope you are someday as close to one or both of us as I am with him.
I hope I can follow the advice that I give the parents of my patients while learning new things along the way. I hope you see your father and I argue while knowing that what's behind it is real love. I hope you understand that difference between loving each other through confrontation and pretending that everything is fine.
I hope you like books. I'm going to buy you every book I can get my hands on. I mean real books, by the way, the kind that I read and touched when I was a child, not these electronic versions that don't have the same effect. I hope you get to know the heros of my childhood like Winnie the Pooh and Harold and the Purple Crayon. They're cool dudes.
I hope you get dirty. I hope you roll in germs. I hope you get snotty and icky and gain the immunities of a champ. Your mommy never gets sick, and I'm pretty sure it's because I practically ate dirt as a child. I hope you let your dad throw you in the pool and horse around with you. I hope you have his sense of adventure. He needs an exploration buddy, and I'm not very good at the spontaneous.
I hope you aren't allergic to gluten because being allergic to gluten is balls.
I hope you aren't a twin, though I will be perfectly happy if you are. Multiples run in both sides of my family, and your father is a twin. Please understand that this is utterly frightening. Aside from the "taking care of two booger eaters" thing, there is the whole "getting extra fat" thing. You aren't even a twinkle yet, so I can still be vain.
I hope that you understand that you can believe whatever you want. Both of your parents came from originally religious (and very different) backgrounds that have been relaxed as we grew up. You can be Buddhist or Jewish or Christian or Pastafarian. You will be exposed to a whole bunch of different things. You make your choice once you're old enough to understand. Also, you can change your mind. We're totes cool with that.
I hope that at some point in your life, your Aunt Amy (or your Aunt Amy and I) take you to a drag club where she can introduce you to all of the drag queens because she will (for sure) know them all by name. I hope that if you're a boy, you at least think it's funny, and if you're a girl, you think that it's FFFFAAABBBBUUUULLLOUUUSSS.
You're beautiful. Before you even exist, I know you're beautiful. You're loved. You're already causing tons of anxiety, so you're probably worth all of the trouble. You come from strong, stubborn people. You are bound to be both of these things.
You are bound to be amazing.
And, don't worry baby, it is hip to be square.
Note: This post was inspired by my friend Robin (@FarewellStrangr) and her blog www. farewellstranger.com. Her blog to her son pulled at my heart strings in such a way and showed me that I feel the same way for someone who doens't exist. Her devotion to her son and her sense of humor through it all are a shining light in the world for how all of this could be for me. I am so terribly excited for the "what ifs".
I have no proof for this, but I think dating and marriage might have been easier before the Internet. It certainly was easier before the Internet was available at any time and from any location.
Let me rephrase. I think that staying in a relationship was easier before pocket-sized phones for everyone that act as everyone's personal Fort Knox.
Cell phones are a bastion of baby mama drama. Patients ask me all the time if it's okay to check their spouse or significant other's phone. Sometimes they are upset that their other half wants to check theirs. My answer is complicated, and I can only frame it in the context of my own relationship.
My husband and I both lock our phones. He doesn't like it when people he work with (who clearly have no boundaries) go through his phone. I prefer for my phone to stay locked. We both have access to each other's passcodes, and we can get in at any time. I'm more than welcome to answer his phone or go through it for a contact or a picture. He can't really answer mine because it's usually work-related, but he can check whatever he wants.
That being said, we don't.
I'll use his phone if mine is dead, and he may text my family from my phone, but we don't do much more than that. His is his and mine is mine. I can't say that I've never wanted to go through his text messages and check what he's up to, but I refrain. Sometimes it's hard, but I walk away.
The principle is simple: If I have to go through his phone to be sure that I can trust him, then the problem is not the phone. We are having trust issues, and we need to work on them. I am a strong woman who is full of all sorts of wonky insecurities. I am secure in my marriage, but I'm sometimes insecure in the workings of the universe. I trust my husband more than just about anyone in this world. I don't doubt my trust in him for a second, but I do sometimes doubt myself. It's easy to get flooded with what-ifs and want to reach across the bed and grab his phone for reassurance. It's harder to ignore the urge. If I feel like I need to check his phone, then the information on the phone isn't going to change anything. We need to go back to figure out what is making me feel like that.
If I said that I had never checked his phone, I'd be lying. I'm proud to say though that I haven't in a very long time, and I now have the security in our relationship to avoid it. I appreciate that. We are in a good place. A really good place.
Funny story: While still in the planning stages, I was working with Sam (The Manny) on this very blog. For reasons I don't even recall anymore, he is in my phone as Love Machine. We were using iChat, but he got disconnected, so he shot me a text to let me know that he would be back soon. My phone was actually on the couch with my husband. He turned to me with a very confused look on his face "Uh. Who's Love Machine?" I laughed and explained. And then told Sam that he might be getting beat up very shortly. He ran for cover.
Anywho, the moral of the story is that if you have to request proof that your loved one is being honest, then the proof is irrelevant and probably won't satisfy the real issues. Figure out why you need it and decide if you think that need will ever go away. Then go from there.
The best thing that I have gotten out of this whole blogging experience is a network of like-minded and totally sassy lady bloggers who have reinvigorated my hope for the females of our species. Many of them have children, but they also have senses of humor. Their kids are their world, but they still have, like, other ish going on. They have a sense of identity that isn't all wrapped up in the younglings. I know that I have no idea what it is like to be completely responsible for someone else, but I do know that I have watched many a woman lose themselves in the idea that once you are a mother, you are that and only that.
My Twitter friend Amy (@SelfishMom) over at SelfishMom.com wrote a post today that really reminded me how much kids are going to mean to me someday, but also how much I want to remain a woman who is a mother and not a parent who happens to have lady parts and who uses them to add more protoplasm to the human race. Just becuase you have kids doesn't mean that everyone else in the world ceases to exist. In fact, having kids means you should probably shoot for being more considerate because there are tiny sponges who follow you around and watch every damn thing you do. Kids think that adults can do whatever they want. The child mind assumes that if a parents does it, all adults do it. That means that when they're adults, they can be rude, inconscientious, self-centered and a whole host of other not-good things that they could be learning from your (possibly accidental) example. Furthermore, it makes them think that what they are learning about sharing and being nice to other now is just a placeholder for how they get to act once they are "all grown up".
I'm not a mother, but I am a child and adolescent counselor. Kids do what their parents do. What do you want your kids to do?