Nearly a quarter century ago, I concocted my son from materials I found around the house. Even though I was completely aware of the recipe needed to create a new human being, I was still amazed at my ability to do so.
Sure, becoming pregnant and developing a baby from a couple of rogue molecules and then sustaining this zygote with a tube hooked up to the inside of your body which siphons off your food supply, making it necessary to eat double or triple the amount of food you would normally eat and finally squeezing a brand new individual, the size of a decent melon, from a place that doesn’t seem equipped to handle large produce may seem easy-peasy. (Take that grammar checker. That sentence not only ran on, I do believe it may have taken flight.) However, the practice would be considered a feat of epic proportions if you were new to the idea.
Imagine, you’ve come across a being from another planet and you’re having a drink, maybe two or three and you begin bragging about your species superiority.
“I can teleport,” says the smug, skin-free being from say…Valdar. “And travel in time.”
“I have thumbs,” you retort, as you watch his third Heineken slip to the floor.
“I came from a planet millions of light years away in a matter of your human minutes,” let’s-call- him Bob, responds as he slips to the floor to become one with his beer.
“I can make another human being, from scratch, inside my body; nurture it so that it flourishes to the degree that removing it from said vessel would seem insurmountable as far as survival is concerned, deliver this fully formed human into the world and not only live to tell the tale, but continue to nurture the being from food I dispense from a spigot in my chest.”
“Bull @#$%!” says the Alien, who is obviously assimilating too rapidly
“It’s true,” you answer as you pop some filth infested peanuts into your mouth.
Bob re-forms into a solid and peers around the bar at what are not the best representative’s of the human species. “You made these?”
“Do I look like I gave birth to 50 drunks?” You ask before you decide his answer could double the amount of therapy you currently squeak by on. “Never mind,” you conclude.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your outlook, guys like Bob only appear on bar stools next to those who’ve been over-served or women who just want to be left alone, so the process of procreating is doomed to remain commonplace, except to those in labor. (Never ask a woman in active labor if the experience seems mundane. Trust me. Also, don’t ask if you can take a nap while she dilates.)
There are women, however, who are so certain that their birth experience was a complete anomaly and therefore, must serve as a cautionary tale to those women who are currently pregnant with children they are joyfully awaiting. This practice is mostly to wipe the smile off of a first mother’s unsuspecting face and replace it with a credible copy of the classic painting, The Scream. These people who insist on terrifying younger and less experienced mothers-to-be are called mothers.
I refrain from sharing my story because my birth experience caused me to cling to the hospital’s ceiling by my finger and toe nails for a number of hours after the baby had been forcibly expelled from my body. I didn’t like it.
On his way to meet me, my son knocked off the end of my tailbone with his oversized head, a greeting I would discourage in all other social situations. Can you imagine, being introduced to your husband’s second cousin, Frank Jr., who reaches over and breaks off the tip of your thumb? Would you want to continue this relationship? I sincerely doubt it.
Yet, I not only continued my relationship with my son, I grew to believe he is the most darling person that ever walked the face of the earth. This is less a belief than a truism, but I pretend it isn’t for the sake of those parents who did not give birth to my particular baby.
He liked me too, despite my limited patience with being his main food source. In fact, he seemed to think I was the most talented and benevolent being in the world, and for good reason. Once, he asked me to reposition the sun as it was in his eyes as we traveled in my car. I did so, (by turning the corner) and he thanked me with such sincerity, I almost told him the truth.
I introduced him to the concept of trick-or-treat and clued him in on which day it arrived. Ice cream, that was my idea, just for him. I watched Pete’s Dragon, a movie which should never be watched, even once, at least 30 times. I wrote songs for him, like “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine” and “Get Off of my Cloud,” a personal favorite of his.
Sadly, I loved him more as time went on, which is only sad because he refuses to let me pick out his clothes any more. (Osh Kosh comes in adult sizes, too! Just FYI.)
For his part, he claims that he still “loves” me and that I’m his “favorite” mom while simultaneously makes plans to leave the country. I don’t think it has anything to do with Osh Kosh B’Gosh, but still, I feel the need to blame them. And Carter’s. Remember the sob-enducing commercial, “If they could just stay little till their Carter’s wear out?” The ad agent that paired that phrase with footage of babies in footed sleepers and onesies should be forced to expel watermelon from an orifice unsuited to the experience. Just recalling the ad is going to mean an evening of “What’s wrong?” queries from my unsuspecting family.
Although the process of introducing my handiwork (son) to the world was something for which I hold no nostalgia, I loved having a portable person in my life. I miss the days when I used to think, “If only I could get a few minutes alone.” I’d like to go back in time so I can smack myself for that, but since time travel is only possible for people like Bob, I have to stay here. I don’t like it.