The room was filled with women. Ranging from ages 3 to 3 plus five decades, we were gathered to celebrate. With Mother's Day less than 24 hours away, we bestowed gifts and well wishes on the first time mother to be. We ate, rolled out streamers in an attempt to estimate her pregnant circumference, and tried our best not to say, "baby" or "belly" nor cross our arms or legs, lest we lose our pipe cleaner bracelets. And we talked. Talked of baby names and the people babies become as they get older. Well, they talked. I listened, shaking my head vehemently when asked if I had any offspring of my own.
Some day, I want to be able to join in that conversation with my own stories and anecdotes. From as early as I can remember, I've wanted to be somebody's mommy. Actually, I wanted to be mulitple somebodies' mommy. In elementary school I wanted two, twins, just like the ones in the Sweet Valley novels I collected like stamps. The only thing I couldn't do was name them Elizabeth and Jessica, since I already owned one of those names. I decided upon Kelly. Kelly would be the good twin and following in the footsteps of her namesake, Jessica would be the mischevious one.
In the sixth grade I was barraged by an intense liking for several baby names. Determined not to let any of them go to waste, I decided that between the ages of 21 and 29 I would have 8 kids. In order to prevent a pregnancy per year, I had the extremely ambitious goal of having two sets of twins to get the first four kids out the way. Jefferey and Steven would be born shortly after my 21st birthday, followed 18 months later by Kelly and Jessica (couldn't let go of those two). At 24 another daughter, Cherish would be born. We'd call her Cherry for short, sort of like the girl on Punky Brewster. Baby Michael would be welcomed into our family when I turned 26, followed a year later by little Damian. Then at the end of my reproductive years (the ripe old age of 29), I would have one last daughter, Meagan (pronounced Mee-ghen), who would be affectionately referred to as Runt, being that she is the runt of my litter.
I kept the eight kid fantasy going for a while, until I determined that I would still be in college at 21 and it would probably be best to wait until after graduation to start the procreation. Not wanting to be pregnant in my 30s (perish the thought), I decided that pushing out three kids between the ages of 25 and 29 would be much more doable. I also relinquished my fantasy of recreating my own personal Sweet Valley Twins. Kelly and Jessica no longer existed in my psyche, replaced by my own mini me, Brooke Lyn. Visualizing myself as an eternal bad ass who could only be tamed by the love of a stable man, Brooke Lyn would be the best of both me and her imaginary father. Blessed with my height and looks, but moderated with her dad's temperament, Brooke Lyn was going to be the basketball star that I never was.
Shortly after I conceived Brooke Lyn in my mind, the Rug Rats reinvigorated my love for twins, but this time of the fraternal male/female variety. I wanted to have the Negro version of Phil and Lil (but with different names of course). My twins would look exactly alike, yet both look distinctly like members of their sex. I was going to dress them identically, except that the boy would wear pants and the girl would wear skirts. After March 9, 1997 a large part of me wanted to name my boy Christopher Wallace (I still do), but it didn't really fit with the Br___ trend I would've started if I named his other half Brianna. What to do, what to do. Maybe Brandon or Bradley would work. Oh, but Christopher Wallace beckons me to this day.
Even now, I'm still stuck on my three kids. But, I've run into a little snag, and not having a viable father for the brood is the least of my worries (just waiting on Jay-Z to dump Beyonce so the baby's daddy role will be filled). After mentoring a preteen and spending time around other people's children, younger cousins, and the bad ass spawn that roam America's malls, I've realized that I don't really like children very much. Actually, I really don't like them at all. They are needy, attention seeking, and money pits. It's bad enough I have to deal with these traits in myself. I really don't think I could deal with it in someone else for 18 years. Not to mention that children are loud and have more energy than a speeding bullet. I hate piggy back rides, playing on swings, and all that other crap the under 4 feet set is so fond of. For me, babysitting is the best form of birth control that ever existed.
But even worse than my overall distaste for children is my absolute self absorption. I am way too concerned with myself to be concerned about anyone else. At least not enough to continually put their needs ahead of my own. Give me a choice between feeding a child and feeding my shoe addiction and the shoes would win hands down. And even if they didn't, every time I shoveled strained peas into the kid's mouth, I'd think of the shiny red pumps with my name on them still sitting on a department store shelf. Responsibility just doesn't work for me. I even have dreams about misplacing my own child in the mall or my house and forgetting to feed my baby for weeks on end. Even as a child, I could only pretend to be my Cabbage Patch doll's mommy for about 2 days before she was once again tossed on the bed and left to starve. I'm starting to think this was an early indicator of my parenting skills. There is a definite reason why there are no living things in my home. I am incapable of taking care of anything or anyone but myself. Even a cactus would wilt under my care.
On top of all of that, my maternal instinct has yet to kick in. When I was 12, I thought I'd have it by 21, and when I was 21 I thought I'd have it by 25. I'm 25 and it still ain't here. I have no patience and absolutely no ability to nurture. So if I'm not ready now, when? I see people my age and younger preparing to start families all the time (oftentimes accidentally). When I say congratulations, I really want to shout, "but you're too young to be a parent!!" Or maybe I'm really just saying that to myself. People tell me all the time that before they had their own, they never liked kids either. They keep reassuring me that even though I don't like kids, I will like my own. And I do. I really do love little Brooke Lyn and company (Christopher Wallace will more than likely win out over the other names). But I'm starting to wonder if I only like the idea of these children so I can live out my adolescent fantasies through them. If Brooke Lyn is going to be like her dad, then younger sister Brianna (tentative) will be just like me. Or rather who I wish I was, the black version of the vixen Alicia Silverstone created in three early 90s Aerosmith videos. Bad ass indeed! The day to day child rearing never comes into the fantasy. If I can't picture all that being a mommy entails, do I really want to be their mommy? What if they don't turn out the way I envision them, then what? Could it be I only want these children in theory, not in practice. I don't want to wait until the bun is in the oven to find out.