Sunday, September 16, 2012

Why I Now Need a Baby

Well, the number one reason I need a baby is because I no longer have one. What I have now amounts to a roommate. A roommate who doesn't have her own car and needs to be driven around regularly. She also doesn't pay rent. Or do her own laundry. Or pay any of her other bills like choir, library fees, retreat costs, clothing, food, gas that I use driving her butt around, etc, etc, etcetera!

I happen to have given birth to my roommate, which is why I suppose she thinks she is entitled to all of the free meals and the warm bed she sleeps in. I think I am entitled to her not growing up too fast but she's not holding up her end of the bargain. She ditches me on a regular basis so that she can have her own life. With friends. Whatever.

I remember the first time I knowingly broke my mom's heart. I was 16 (hmmm... like someone else I know) and she offered to set aside a day to take me shopping for school clothes. I flippantly remarked, "Oh, that's okay. I'm going with Lori next week." Now, my  mom is the least sentimental person I know. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen her cry in my life (while I need both hands and feet of everyone I know to count how many times I cry in a month), but I saw the look of hurt in her eyes and heard the tinge of sadness in her reply, "Oh. Well. Okay." I immediately regretted what I'd said. As proud of myself as I was for growing up and doing things like a Big Girl, I wasn't completely insensitive to the fact that my mom didn't always feel the same way.

And now I don't feel that way about D. Of course, the times she is being a total pain I start counting down the days until she's someone else's roommate, a real one who pays her own bills. But a lot of the time I'm happy that I still get to be the one still in charge of her. And a couple of weeks ago I got a taste of what my mom felt that day.

She has been going to retreat after retreat the last few weeks for everything she's involved in. A couple of weeks ago it was the cast camping trip with the play that she is in next month. I overheard her conversation with a Boy the night before she was to leave. "Why do you need to text him tomorrow morning?" I nosily asked. She replied, "We're having coffee and then he's dropping me off at the camp carpool." Oh. Well. Okay.

The next morning the Intruder Into My Relationship With My Daughter showed up. Of course she wasn't quite ready so there was the awkwardness of having to invite him in and then I ran off to go over the packing list with her repeatedly. Sunscreen? Yes. Bug spray? Yes. Books to read? Flashlight? Toothbrush? Yes, mom. I have everything.

I hugged her tightly, glared at the Intruder, and sent her off. KY said, "Well, he seemed nice. Most guys that age don't look you in the eye when they're speaking to you." And I was like, "Whose side are you ON!?!?" So he's nice enough. So what! I am the one who is supposed to see her off on her little adventures. I am supposed to meet the adults I am passing her off to. Not some teenage boy who has no idea what it's like to worry every minute of every day about your baby her first year of life. And then every minute of every day after that. Because it doesn't stop.

And she may be growing up, but that doesn't mean I stop being her mom. It doesn't mean I stop worrying. Or making sure she has everything she needs. And it doesn't mean I want to stop. I still want to be the one to hug her before she goes off on retreats. I want to be the one that tells her she is going to be great and everyone will love her. I want to be the one making her lunch even if that's the only part she will let me take.

I want her to be my baby until she can't anymore. And, since she is absolutely, 100% opposed to there being an actual, new baby in the house, she's going to have to hold up her end of the deal.

I just wouldn't mind a little gas money now and then.


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