I had dinner with friends last week and met their now 9-month-old twin babies for the first time. As I held one of them for a minute (the one on the left in this picture) I had this rather odd thought … that might be the first time I ever held a baby.
OK, that’s crazy. Every adult, even those without kids of their own, holds a baby at some time, right? A nephew, a friend’s baby, some baby. But I could not and still cannot remember ever holding a baby till last Tuesday. How can that be?
I told a couple of co-workers my speculation and they said ‘no way’. Then I laughed and said “I bet I know one adult other than me who never held a baby.” One of them said my ex’s name and we all laughed; and I said yes, that’s who I was referring to. So I texted her and asked and, well, she did hold babies, twice in her life. I lost that bet with myself. And she added that one of them was stinky and the other screamed at ear-splitting volume as soon as the Mom left the room. That says a lot about the ex, in an odd way.
So the question in my head right now … am I the only adult who has never held a baby till after the age of 50?
And that leads to another question … what kind of parent would I have been? I’ve been told I’d be a great Dad because I am patient, tolerant, understanding and supportive. Yeah yeah, I am all that … now. I wasn’t all that in my 20s, probably not in my 30s either. Those are the two eras in my life in which I had planned to have kids. Those marriages ended childless. I was a somewhat insecure yet stubborn, immature, know-it-all in my 20s. I probably would have been a disciplinarian father one moment and a free-spirit let-them-do-whatever-they-want parent the next, over-reacting to my own disciplinarian upbringing. The kids would have been emotionally messed up. I was more mature in my 30s but also selfish and career-driven. In my 40s I married a woman who never liked or wanted children and I was ambivalent about it; yet I would have been a good parent by that time because I understood the whole idea of balancing discipline with supportiveness. Of course parenting is a learning experience and a person can’t expect to know everything about how to do it until actually doing it.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to remember if I ever held a baby prior to last Tuesday. That just can’t be, can it?