On Children and Learning to Accept Love Again

I thought my biological clock started to tick last night, but upon further reflection I realize that’s not the case.

(By further reflection I mean I woke up sprawled in a starfish pose on my bed with a brief moment of panic thinking, “Could you imagine?!?!” Yeah… nope.)

Here’s how it all started.

Last night, Nadia and I went to our favorite coffee shop, Filter. It’s this huge but cozy place on Milwaukee in Wicker Park. It house couches and tables, outlets every 4 feet, amazing food, free wifi, and the best herbal tea I’ve ever had. (If you go, try the blackberry tea. It’s amazing.) Nadia and I anchored ourselves in this two person table in the back corner. It had been a couple weeks since we last saw each other so we had quite a bit to catch up on.

About a half hour or so into our lady date, a group of young women come in with this little girl. She’s two, with blue eyes and blonde braided pigtails. Nadia and I noted that she was cute, told her respective people who thanked us and we went back to our conversation. A couple minutes later the little girl must have gotten restless, because she goes over to my chair, puts her hands on my knees, looks up at me and excitedly says, “HI!” She then giggled and ran off.

She came over to me a few more times giving me high fives and high tens. After a while she ended up staying at my chair, making silly faces and monster faces. She ran over to Nadia, back to me and periodically checked back in with her people who apologized. I told them I didn’t mind, saying I was expecting a niece in a couple of months and this was making me even more thrilled about it. I can’t recall a time where someone got me to laugh that much. She eventually crawled in my lap and started playing with my hands.

Nadia noted, “I thought you hated kids.”

I thought I did too. Truth be told I never used to. I used to work in the children’s room at a library and never got tired of it. Hell, one of my favorite people of all time is my ex’s niece whom I used to babysit on the regular. In one of my best memories of her is the winter when she was 4, it was snowing and her and I ran outside and made snow angels. Upon entering her house I made her hot chocolate with an absurd amount of marshmallows. She looked at me while I was getting everything ready and she said, “Jass, I love you because you are my best friend.”

“You’re my best friend too, Monkey” I replied, “And I love you very much.”

My ex and I broke up that summer. She’s 8 now. I wonder if she remembers me.

I stopped liking kids after that. I think maybe in the emotional horror of the breakup,  I forgot how to love, or maybe I forgot hot to accept love. I forgot how to accept the unsolicited affection that children seen to offer. Even when my cat cuddles up next to me, I think

“I fed you and your litter box is clean? Why are you acting like this?”

I forgot that it is in my nature to nurture. Anything from kissing cuts to make them better, to having a grown man cry in my arms because he’s been meaning to let it out for a long time and I was the safest place to think of.  I will never let my friends leave my apartment without baked goods if I’ve made them. They will never leave without knowing wherever I am, they have a home.

In forgetting how to accept love, I just did these things on autopilot with no real feeling behind them. The feeling came back last night. Maybe people are just attracted to you because they can sense your goodness-a goodness I thought was maybe beyond me.

I am grateful for the little girl that reminded me that. I am grateful for my niece- the unborn little girl that will help keep me there.

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