Raising these six children has been trial by fire.
If only I’d known.
If someone had only told me.
The men and women became interchangeable near the end of life.
Kind of made life simpler it seemed.
For us younguns anyway, chasing our babies on a frenzied triathlon dash through their early years.
Nursing home years lazing around in wheelchairs,
no makeup to bother with or bras.
Just hanging out smoking in the courtyard,
petting a stray dog
and getting the occasional visitor,
whose name you can never remember.
Life is cool when everyone has a mustache.
Yup. I envied those folks.
I mean I really, really envied them.
We would pull up to the nursing home in our ancient and ever breaking down station wagon.
My enthusiastic husband would run ahead with the older kids while I wrestled with the babies.
My eldest, I’ll call her China,to protect her identity,
as a matter of fact I’ll disguise all my kids names,
Those in the witness protection program will have naught to worry.
China would stand by me with a slight scowl on her pretty face watching the others running off in a trail of hilarious laughter and mutter under her 9 year old breath…
I wrestled a howling 2 year old out of his seat belt,
and struggled with the baby getting her out of her car seat.
China would silently hold out her arms to take the baby as though it were her own and I would obediently hand her over, thanking God someone else could hold her besides me.
I heaved the 2 year boy, Bart, over my shoulder and inserted a fruit roll-up into his crying mouth.
Fruit roll ups were a food group right?
Off we trudged to catch up with the others.
“Chi ” , I say to my daughter, who I unfortunately made into my best friend from her early years.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
She answers crossly, “I don’t know either”.
(Wise beyond her years, understanding the injustice of it all, no wonder she waited until 29 to have her first child.)
She is brilliant.
She walks a step ahead of me and Bart,
head held high and proud.
A baby carrying a baby.
What am I doing to her?
What am I doing?
I cry silently exhausted and see…
China place a secret kiss on the baby’s cheek.