Thursday, January 30, 2014

Babies Do Grow Up

I want one of these again--if it would just stay that way.
Saying "I'm having a baby!" always causes great excitement, eliciting responses like, "That's great! How fabulous, lucky you, oh wow, I'm jealous," and similar congratulatory outbursts. And why not--after all, what's not to love about a perfect, untouched, miraculous, sweet-smelling newborn?

But newborns grow, a universal truth we cast aside for the baby shower and those early birthday parties--the ones with the clowns and the pinatas and the inflatable, bouncy rooms. All too soon that adorable baby you once could just eat up has morphed into the demon of the nursery school, biting and kicking all the other kids and scaring the teachers silly, who politely refer to his or her vicious behavior as "acting out."

Still, nobody pregnant ever says, "I have another human being growing inside me that will eventually become a full-grown adult who might rob, rape, steal, murder, bomb, torture, kidnap, hijack, harass, terrify, and ruin everything for all of us," despite the inherent possibility. Everyone now sitting on Death Row was once the object of that happy birth announcement, not to mention Adolf Hilter, Mark Chapman, Bernie Madoff, Jim Jones, the Boston Marathon brothers, the Aurora-Batman movie-theater guy, the 19 Saudi bombers and that horrid Adam Lanza whose name we are never supposed to utter. Because of that, I am never all that "whoop-de-doo" over the news of another pregnancy.

Admittedly having a new baby around is fun, what with the onesies and the stuffed animals and the binkies and the blankies and the train sets and the Legos and those adorable carboard-and-felt storybooks; I especially loved "Pat the Bunny." It's just that in many instances, having an adult child is not fun. In fact, being the parent of another grown-up can be heart-breaking, heart-wrenching and downright depressing at times. We try not to think about that, but as the brilliant writer Aldous Huxley once said, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." (After two marriages, Huxley died childless in Los Angeles-- and on the very same day that JFK was assassinated in Texas! How's that for a fact that's often ignored but continues to exist?)

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