Last year, a friend and I were chilling in a neighborhood park when we saw the most adorable child on the face of the planet. The boy was tiny and brown with plump cheeks and alert, almond-shaped eyes so dazzling you’d think God was peeking through them. He wore an adult’s Red Sox T-shirt that hung down past his knees and had one of those sing-song giggles that send delightful tickles up and down your spine.
My friend and I laughed as we watched the little guy run around the playground, tripping over his shirt, spouting cute, nonsensical toddler talk at grownups and trying to shoot hoops with the big kids.
My friend said, “I want one of those.”
“Me, too,” I told him. And for the first time in my life, meant it.
I’ve always thought I’d become a mom one day, but thus far, have spent most of life focused on other ambitions. However, in the last couple years an unfamiliar sensation has slowly emerged. Doesn’t sound like a biological clock ticking, nor does it feel like the brute force of societal pressure. The sensation is gentle and sweet, a graceful vibe as if my body and soul is whispering to me, ‘this is something we’d like to do.’
I live in a neighborhood of mothers. The harried, impatient, Type A brand of moms who work on their Blackberries rather than join their kids on the swings. Nannies and state-of-the-art strollers abound, and I often overhear parents competing over the educational institutions their kids attend, or lamenting packed schedules of language lessons, soccer games and music recitals. I know these moms love their kids, but I wonder if they also see them as evidence of their own worldly accomplishments, or if concern for their offspring’s success trumps organic development. These kids are like molded globs of clay who might end up as upstanding but colorless citizens with a bad case of ADD.
Maybe I say this because my mom was a big ol’ hippie. I didn’t have punishments, I had discussions. When I was bored, she told me to use my imagination to pass the time. I went to every type of church, synagogue and religious service so I could “decide” my faith. When I wanted to be a rock star, I got piano lessons; when I wanted to quit softball, she never put up a fight. Whatever I needed to unearth my nascent personality, Mom did her best to supply. The only thing I couldn’t be in my mother’s house was lazy. Or a Republican.
And so, when I imagine having a child, I’m most thrilled by the prospect of meeting a new person. I’d want to see how all the marvelously unique elements inside me and the kid’s father blend into one new soul. I’d want to find out what he likes, what her talents are. I’d like him or her to show me who they are and let me find ways to be nurturing. Being there as the world inspires, shapes and even scares this little kid would undoubtedly be one of the greatest adventures of my life.
No matter whether they treat kids like flowers to cultivate or clay to sculpt, I still think all moms are rad. So I want to wish the hardest working women on the planet a Happy Mother’s Day; to my friends who are mothers, to the power moms in my ‘hood and to the greatest mom of all.