I am going to give birth on foreign soil, in the middle of the wilderness, surrounded by a beautiful and peaceful landscape. Waterfalls, mountains, and a stunning sunset will circle my heaving body. There will also be two of the world’s finest doctors, a midwife, a sterile tent, air conditioning, and preferably that long needle they jab in your back to numb the pain. Enya can be there too, her voice is soothing.
After the blood and gore is over and there is a real live human being attached to me, I will remain in this paradise to raise little Timmy to be an intelligent and responsible young man, away from provocative Internet spam, R-rated horror flicks, suggestive beer commercials, crack, and Jay-Z.
Today my boss asked me if I’m ready to have children. I said, “Not right now, but maybe after lunch I would have some time.” She found this amusing, but not enough to laugh out loud. Later she made the comment that I would make a good, sturdy mother, sturdy enough to have six or seven children, at least. Though I was flattered by this blind confidence in my durability, the word sturdy made me uneasy. I pictured a thick housewife wearing faded high cut jeans and a pastel kitten sweatshirt over a flannel button down. I didn’t say this, however, and accepted the compliment graciously, happy she had overlooked the unnecessary comment earlier. I admit I have hips to do the job, but I’m not sure I have any of the other qualities needed to bear six or seven offspring. I always assumed I was a 2-3 kind of girl. A boy, a girl, maybe a puppy. Seven sounds a little excessive.
At the moment I am quite content to be responsible for myself and my fish, Tomais, though I would like to have a brood someday, despite the immense responsibility. Strangely, it’s not the potty training, temper tantrums, or teen angst I worry about. I worry about the fragile complexities of emotional and mental health. Though we are all rightfully caught up in global warming, I’m less concerned about the physical danger than the mental danger of my future cherubs. If video games are violent now, who knows what kind of 6-D slaughter fest paraphernalia will be out for the Nintendo Wii of my kid’s generation. Even though I may not allow it in my home, what if little Timmy becomes hopelessly addicted to violence at little Bobby’s house and becomes a bloodthirsty mass murderer or worse, a Republican?
I suppose this fear has been alive since Elvis or even Eve, but I’m still concerned about little Timmy’s emotional health.
(FYI, I would never name my child Timmy. Jackson maybe, a good strong name. My sister and I fight over baby names much like we argue over anything that involves “calling it.” I think this originates back to the well-known era of the front seat. One of our favorite things to call are my parents various valuables, family heirlooms, and assets. We will be leisurely sitting at dinner and she will say, “I call the big green vase.” And then it begins, everything from our cabin in West Virginia to Mom’s paintings to the miniature change bowl must be assigned in order to be prepared to divvy up things after our parents impending death. Even though I swear I called the name Lily a few decades ago, she insists she came up with this name first. Benjamin is also a name I know I called before she could even speak and yet she has the whole thing all planned out. Regardless, when I am in the wilderness, it will not matter what the name is. Maybe I’ll let them name themselves.)
As my friends slowly get married off to one another, I can’t help but wonder what sort of parents they will be or what sort of children they will produce. Will I let my children play with their children? Maybe after they take a drug test. One of my most favorite friends, who I will call Beatrice, is one of the messiest and most disorganized human beings on this planet. I can’t imagine how her kids will survive being lost and wandering about the streets when she forgets they exist. I suppose they will be fine, probably better than my little Timmy, who has never heard the word kidnapper before in his life.
How do you raise peaceful, responsible, and healthy children who are still street smart? Obviously I don’t want to be that parent who has those children who walk around in a sheltered daze, afraid of anything that moves. But I’m not sure how to make that happen naturally. I want them to be brave think for themselfers who would rather play cello, conserve energy, and organize sports leagues than date the next Britney Spears, slew foreigners with accents, or try LSD.
I’m glad Tomais does not need this sort of supervision.
So no, I’m not ready now (or after lunch) to bear the fruit of my loins into this daunting world. I may have sturdy hips but I do not have the energy to be worrying about Timmy’s mental health or which of his friends are sneaking him cheese curls and tequila.
PS: I call Timmy, just in case.