I’ve always been able to pinpoint the moment that I decided to make a life-changing decision. At least in hindsight. I’m assuming that most everyone has this superpower. For example, when I knew I wanted nothing more than to move to Washington, D.C., I had spent a day watching C-SPAN and a light went off in my head that I was meant to be in our nation’s capital, and come Hell or high water, that is what I would do. The same can be said for the day I realized I wanted to have children. But, of course, I have no idea what the future will bring and the urge to procreate can be incredibly powerful. Too powerful, if you ask me.
For many years I was resistant. Having children felt like something I would do eventually, simply because I have fallopian tubes. I have a general rule to do exactly the opposite of what is expected of me and/or anything I’m told to do, so at the tender age of 17, I put my foot down to having children. I mention my age not to diminish any other woman who decides at a young age that having children is not in their life plan. Good on you, ladies, I say. You do you. But in hindsight – again – I now know how I was at 17, and at 17 I could barely decide what courses to take during my first semester of college without falling into a puddle of tears, so making major life decisions should have been left for later. Like, after it was legal for me to drive without having a parent or guardian present.
I do remember when I knew that children were something that I wanted. The little boy I was babysitting was about 14 months old and teething. I had been babysitting him since he was a mere five-week old-blob who found ceiling fans fascinating. But I had a teething child on my hands who one evening, in a fit of pain-filled rage, vomited in his crib. He then vomited once more for good measure in the exact same spot where I had painstakingly removed and replaced a set of crib sheets. And then! For added enjoyment and to truly test my patience when dealing with someone who wasn’t related to me by blood, he projectile vomited on the floor and came toddling after me, arms outstretched, in dire need of comfort. Instead of fleeing back to my apartment – the one with a wine fridge and without any children in a quarter mile radius – I grabbed that little mess of snot and tears, who then pressed his head to my collarbone doing that little sob/hiccup/”wait! don’t puke again” thing that children do, and in that moment I wanted four hundred children just like them.
The true moment for me was realizing that my heart hurt watching him hurt, knowing that there was nothing I could do except hold him close and pat his back. I loved that kid – I love that kid – and it only took 15 minutes of straight up Exorcist-type madness to make me want to do it with a child of my own one day.
It’s now pretty clear to my friends and family that I want to have children. My friends with children think I’m insane and have often just given me a pat on the head while telling me that I am ONLY 22 (then 23…24…25). However, now I am damn near 30 and thanks to the magic of Facebook, I get to watch my contemporaries marry off and procreate in real time! Naturally, I think about when it will happen for me. I also know that the decision to want children is far different than the act of having them, and then they grow up and then suddenly I’m stuck with a 16-year-old girl child with a serious attitude problem and a proclivity for stealing my shoes. But that hasn’t kept me from contemplating about what if I can’t or it just doesn’t happen and, let’s face it, worrying about what’s going on south of the border and how it will be in five years. I’m not terribly patient, as you can probably gather, and that is another thing that I will need to work on before having kids. And then there’s that whole partner thing…which…well, is this therapy or a blog post?
But yeah. I want children. I desperately want to become a parent and the rest is up to the universe and my uterus.
Oh, as for that 14-month-old with the Linda Blair qualities? He’s now 7. He also has two little brothers. He rarely remembers my name but tells me every detail of the latest Ninjango. His mother always tells him that I babysat for him when he was a baby and he says, “Oh,” and goes back to his latest Lego creation. I still adore him. I still remember him as a tiny thing. I still want that. All of it.