I never had children of my own. It use to bother me when I was in my 30’s. Once I reached my 40’s I put it behind me. My life has been full of children. Nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. I come from a rather large family on my mother’s side. For a while every time you turned around someone was having a baby. But now the well seems to have dried up and I am patiently waiting for the next round to begin.
I am about eleven years older than my cousin Anita. She is the very first baby that I can remember laying eyes on and falling instantly in love with her. She had a brother, Adam, that was a year older. I loved him as well, but as a baby he could take me or leave me. When she was small and tiny, she loved me as much as I loved her. Not to say that she loves me less today. But today she is a grown married woman, with children and responsibilities of her own.
But there was a time when she squealed when I walked into a room and reached for me to pick her up. I specifically remember her staying with us one weekend while her parents and her brother went to Lake Whitney. She was my very own living doll that weekend. I dressed her, feed her, and played with her the whole weekend. She would crawl after me if I left the room. Her gown would tangle around her feet and she would sit up and cry until I picked her up. It does the heart good to see a child’s face light up when they make eye contact with you.
As I got a little older I would baby sit her and Adam some weekend nights. Sometimes at their house, sometimes at ours. If you sit and chat with Adam he will tell you that we (my sister and I) “abused” them by locking them up in the dirty clothes closet. I hope he’s kidding, I think he is. They went in there willingly after all. Who wouldn’t want to close the door and be in a rocket ready to take off to outer space??
I married when I was 20. Anita was 9 or 10. I think she was as much in love with my ex as I was at the time. I think she practiced her flirting on him. I guess the ages of 10 and also of 20 are stages of changes. I was becoming an adult, a married woman. She was coming into her own transition of life.
That’s the hard part of looking back. Sometimes you wonder how things changed so quickly. But they don’t change quickly. They change slowly. Hour by hour and minute by minute, until suddenly you are somewhere else and the relationship is different. Not in a bad way. But just different.