Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Mother Love

My relationship with motherhood is ever-changing. When I was newly legal I thought that a large family was definitely the way to go. Maybe this is understandable since I grew up living with three siblings (plus two more who lived elsewhere). Maybe it's not since I remember feeling stifled and worn out, especially when a lot of people had been around. Also, unless I'm at a club or concert (which happens less than annually), I much prefer quiet to loud and small to large when it comes to groups. These facts and my memories of childbirth helped me rethink my position. I have been a mother to one for nine and a half years. 

Yeah, sometimes I've thought about having more, but there have always been reasons not to do it. Getting divorced and taking several years off to lick my wounds and tend to my very young son were a couple. Dating freaks and psychos was interesting, but did not make me willing to procreate. Having a son with emotional and behavioral problems has also mellowed that desire. Although I have learned enough about my ex-husband to understand how his genetics may have been a factor, I also know that my own family has some interesting codes to share. And, as if all that's not enough, being a family of two is really hard on both of us and I never want to put another person through my single parenting, especially because of another error in judgment!

Nonetheless, every once in awhile I get the baby tingles. You know that feeling? I try to ignore it, mostly. Then somebody mentions that they love babies, the way they smell. I start thinking about that soft, powdery scent and the feel of a baby's skin. The sound of a baby crawling around in a diaper. The sounds a baby makes when it's nursing, sleeping, exploring, learning. The weight and the warmth of that baby. The look in the eyes that seems impossibly beyond the ken of a child that young. Ahh, baby tingles. I battle them with heavy doses of reality and logic, and that's usually enough to make them go away for a time. But lately I find them fighting back. The baby tingles' weapon of choice? Ticking clock - what else?

Who would have believed I'd be hearing that? Or caring if I did? There are times when I'm completely certain that I wouldn't want and couldn't handle another child. I still have that, mostly. Behind it there is ticking. And a voice saying, "You're going to be 32 soon. When are you going to have that child? Maybe a daughter? How about another son? You were never going to just have one child. When? Your clock... it's ticking!"

One of the major factors in not letting the baby tingles take over has been the lack of a viable partner - not because the guy said he couldn't make babies (never, never believe that one). But for almost three years (how it does go by) I have been dating a really cool guy. Perfect? Hardly. Funny, caring? Absolutely. Responsible? In his own way (makes you go Hmm, huh?). Patient with my son? Often more so than I am. Good father material? Maybe. Ready? How do you figure something like that out?

I can't even decide that about myself.

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