I am sitting in the JetBlue terminal at JFK airport in
Really? Are you really going to pack up all 13 kids, go back our through security, get the car from long term parking, cancel the vacation to
I have been there. We’ve all been there. Still, when I am here, where I am now, alone in an airport, sans my 1 kid who sometimes feels like 8 kids, I miss that feeling of slowly being emotionally and mentally waterboarded by a demanding toddler. Or 13 toddlers. I miss the feeling of dirty little hands touching my face, or the tug on my pants leg, or the occasional random bite or scratch. Don’t get me wrong, when I am there, that place where if I am touched one more time with a dirty little hand, or I cannot believe you BIT me, I often wish I was where I am now. Sitting in an airport, anonymous and free to read a book or type on the computer and stare at the wall.
But, right now, I am here and I am lonely. It seems everyone, even the clean up crew, has a kid in tow and they are all cute. Their little cheeks long to be pinched and their tiny bow mouths call out to be gently kissed. I have to restrain myself, lest I end up in airport jail for the night. The headlines would be horrifying and I would be quoted as saying, “But his little butt called to me to be squeezed.” Surely, anyone who has laid eyes on a 9 month old butt knows resisting the urge to give it a playful pat is akin to heroin detox.
I had lunch today with a friend who is married but has no kids. He and his wife have been married for 8 years and they are discussing the matter. They want to have kids, but they are doing what we all did – freaking out at the prospect of doing something that changes your life radically forever, never to ever be the same again…ever. You know that scenario. Anyway, I told him that had I realized earlier in my life how much I would love being a mom, I would have started much earlier and had a lot more kids. But, I am weeks away from 40 and my husband is days away from 47 and it seems…impractical? Or maybe just insane to entertain the thought of doing it all over again. Sure, having a kid not in the midst of a hurricane and a mother dying is probably not quite as harrowing as just having a kid, but probably not that much less harrowing.
My friend quoted a line from a movie he had seen. He has no kids so he can see movies. Fancy art house movies with random violence and not feel it to the core of his being because all emotional reaction has been wrenched from the core of his being and been placed right out in the open. Does that happen to everyone who gives birth, I wonder? Anyway, it was beautiful and, of course, I don’t really remember it exactly because I was busy scarfing down my lunch. But, it was something to the effect that a man’s true love is a woman’s body and a woman’s true love is her first child.
And I tearfully nodded in agreement with a mouth full of spicy roast pork with string beans. The day I had Max and they put his squirmy little body on my chest, I felt, for the first time in my life, love at first sight.
And gone was the ruthless bitch who could watch any movie about any random child abduction or murder and simply say, “this is fiction and not real.” Today, I can’t even watch Law and Order SVU because too often a child is in danger or missing or dead or horribly abused. Fiction or real, stories like that hit my heebie jeebie, which, oddly enough, seems to be at the base of my spine. (I realize no one except my sister will understand what the fuck I am talking about here.)
So, here I am, at the airport, stealing glances at other people’s kids, trying not to look like a nut job, anxiously awaiting my flight…which was just delayed another 30 minutes. I wonder if that mother is now wishing they had just gone home?