Saturday, February 17, 2007

For Dannielynn, we love you

There's a high profile baby in the Bahamas right now without a mother, and with more than a few men claiming to be her daddy, for the money of course. My friend with three boys desperately wants a little girl. She's got a plan to drive the eight hundred miles to the Bahamas in a diaper to fetch the baby and leave the estate to the idiots--my friend doesn't want one dollar. It's an excellent fantasy. To rescue a baby from undeserving jerks who will likely never provide the stability and love this baby and every baby be the hero in a child's life and get a daughter at the same time...what could be better? I was crazy once, too.

I had a fantasy for many years after my second daughter was born, that if a third child was meant to be, it would happen spontaneously. I have some distant and unknown to me cousins spread throughout the US, and we used to live deep in the heart of a big city with poverty and unplanned and unwanted pregnancies by the thousands....surely a remote cousin would come out of the woodwork and ask me to raise their child....or a stranger would abandon a baby on my porch in a basket (wicker, I imagined)....whatever, it didn't matter but it would happen. I never told anyone this besides maybe my husband because even then, I thought it sounded crazy. Until one day, one of my friends confessed quite unabashedly that she also had this fantasy after her second child. It was a relief to know I wasn't the only person who ever had this fantasy. The notion of divine intervention or karmic circumstance that would convince our husbands that a third child was our family destiny! It was unplanned! We were chosen! You can't deny our true mission on this earth! Okay, express train to Kooky Town....All aboard!

Now almost ten years later, I'll never be truly sure but I think I must not have really wanted a third child. My husband surely did not and that was obviously a big stumbling block back then. But every other decision in my life has been one of action and determination so if I had wanted it, surely I would have gotten my way as I always do. We didn't plan the second kid exactly, but it was understood all along that we were not a one-child couple so I don't count that minor misstep of the rhythm method as one of undetermination or indecision.

During my fantasy years, I became quite preoccupied at times about exactly when this act of random providence was going to happen? I waited and waited. I watched for a basket on the porch each morning I went out to get the paper. I kept my eyes and ears peeled for opportunities that would yield my third child. I even knew a single woman during these years who was completely taken by surprise by a first and unplanned pregnancy at age 45. She had very little money, a tiny apartment, no family locally, and few community ties that would help her raise a baby. She was a lovely woman and during the months after her son was born, I helped her occasionally with babysitting, laundry and even helped with money and clothes. She was overwhelmed and at times I worried about what the future would be for her and her son. Hello? Anybody home? This was my third baby! He had arrived and on my literal doorstep! He was a darling little boy, too and Olivia and Allison adored him. And yet with this possibility of my fantasy becoming reality, I look back and realize I never once thought about having that particular baby as my own. It never occurred to me that he was the one--because of course he wasn't....because my fantasy is a fantasy and life rarely turns out like a fantasy, does it? If it does, they make a movie out of it or put it on 48 Hours because it's quite extraordinary. My fantasy was just a last gasp, a primal tug at the soul of me that once literally ached for a baby--a primitive, cave woman urge that came on in my mid-twenties...a feeling so urgent and desperate that I had more concerning fantasies of grabbing babies out of strollers or cribs in the hospital. Then a whimper, a gasp, a puff of smoke....all gone now for me. I don't want a baby anymore. I'll still walk a mile out of my way to hold a newborn, don't get me wrong. But if some crazy cousin comes out of the woodwork now, I am going to take a pass. However, if it's a girl, I am going to send them to my friend so she doesn't have to get in the car and drive to the Bahamas.

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