I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I don't like other people's children. I never have. I'm the girl who doesn't think your little darling throwing himself on the floor in the middle of the store to get that toy is cute. And I think you're a jerk for subjecting me to his screams and his dirty, snotty face.
So, I was always like that...I babysat a few times, and my BFF the Archaeogoddess had a little brother ten years younger that I saw from time to time, and I didn't have the desire to punch him. So, given that I didn't really like kids, I didn't really plan on having them. But, then...uh...whoops...and there was the midget. And she was awesome. But I knew a lot of that is that built in biology thing, that moms are sort of programmed to love their kids. Which is good, because she wasn't an easy baby, and I'm not a patient woman. But I learned. I learned when to walk away, undeniably the single most important lesson I learned as a new mom.
But falling in love with the midget didn't mean I fell in love with all kids. I was still one of those women who didn't really like other people's kids. And since I was youngish when the midget was born, it wasn't like my friends had kids or anything. So, I loved the midget...but that was it. I liked the midget and other people's kids were annoying and frequently smelly and rude.
Okay, so then...I had a niece, and then another one, and then another one, and then a pair of nephews. And I finally fell in love with kids, at least these kids. I love them because they're my babies as much as the midget is my baby. I comfort them when they skin their knees, put them on time out when they bop their cousins, and make sure they talk to their mommas with the respect a mom deserves. In return, I get sticky hugs, pre-chewed food in my hand and that beautiful feeling when I walk into a room and one of them shrieks delightedly, "Auntie Doda!"
I've got babies on the brain tonight, in part because my beloved Archaeogoddess is getting closer to her due date, and it's killing me more than ever to be so far away, because I'm already in love with that baby, and I want to be there to see her come into the world, but also because my youngest niece is coming to visit with the fam this weekend with her grandma. Because her momma, my baby cousin who has been in some pretty dark places, stopped taking the medication that makes her capable of functioning and she's back in the hospital, and I don't know for how long, but I'm so beyond thankful that she checked herself into the hospital and that she's getting the help she needs, because that baby needs a momma, and I'm not interested in losing one of my cousins.
I still don't know if I like kids, necessarily, but I do know that certain kids have the power to steal my heart. I know that I'm thankful that my youngest niece has the family she has to shield her and cocoon her now while her momma is going through the dark times again. I know that I love a baby who hasn't even been born yet, just as I love the midget and her cousins and I know that my life would be a sadder, darker place without the babies I love so much, and I know from my own struggles with the darkness, that there's no better incentive in the world to fight the depression than your children. So, while I'm thankful for my baby niece for her own precious little self, I'm beyond thankful that she is here to give her momma a damn good reason to fight and get through this, get the help and get better.