"Nah-uh, don't you DARE pass me that baby! Baby makin' is contaigous! You ain't gonna get ME caught up....." -Johnny Harris
This summer has been quite short and sweet. After a week off, I taught summer school for five weeks which essentially sucked up my entire summer break (what was I thinking?!?!?!?!). Now I finally have some free time to spend with my family. Normally, I would be talking about my parents, my Nana and my brother in Denver- or my sister, brother-in-law and their kids in Durham-OR my boys here in Atlanta. No, not this time, not in the slightest way. The family I'm referring to is MY family, the one I helped create- as opposed to the one I was born into (it was all Michelle's fault I SWEAR!). It's a weird feeling to actually use that term and NOT refer to the people I grew up with. As a young buck in college, and I believe I speak for most of my friends, that notion was waaaaaaay in left field, tucked in the farthest reaches of whatever mental faculties we had at the time. We were the epitome of bachelordom and lived it to the fullest extent everyday- and LOVED IT. The very thought of starting a family in college could instantly send any one of us on a drinking/food binge just to purge our brains of that idea- and other friends would join in just in case the "family juice" accidently spilled on them. I can't tell you how many times the Dragon and I have sat in the car memorin'1 about the good ole days of high school and psychologizin'2 about how good it felt to be young (those are new words ya'll- start using them and see how soon they get around. I even have definitions).
1. memoring- The act of reminiscing about past activities and accomplishments
2. psychologizing- The act of finding a psychological rationale for an action or behavior
Webster's here I come!!
Even walking across the stage on graduation day couldn't slap us into reality. We didn't have time for a family, WHAT?!?!- we were too busy "finding ourselves", i.e. working low paying jobs, travelling, dating cute women and playing in bands for no money. That's what I called livin'!!! All that began to change when Billy just HAD to go and get a girl pregnant. That's alright, we thought to ourselves, we still have our nuetron cetalon deflector shields up- we can hold out another twenty, thirty years! No problem. Soon after little Jordan was born though, I got the one phone call that would shake my eternally youthful foundation in its entirety. See, I was making ice cream then (gelato for you bourgeois types), still in denial about my impending adulthood and it was my sister who shattered my peaceful juvenile-like existence. I'd like to think she was a lot like me, you know, because she wasn't ready to grow up either- or so I thought. For example, she was the one who coined the term babydult3 to describe her own love of young adult life. She wasn't ready to give that up for anything- and who could blame her? Boy was I wrong. So she called me at work, something she rarely if ever did and announced that she was p-p-pregnant. My little sister, was calling to tell me, her big brother, that she was having a baby, due in eight months. As heavy as that idea was at the time, I realized then, right at that moment that she was braver than I could ever have been at 22. I promptly told the store manager Dominic that I needed my break a little early and took a full hour to eat my small lunch and contemplate the new dynamic to my cosmos. Luckily he was understanding....
3. babydult- Referring to a person of "adult" age , typically 18-21 years, but not yet fully ready to accept adult responsibilities.
If I hadn't been working that day, I would have rushed to the nearest bar because I felt some juice fall from the phone onto my arm during that conversation. Dom would have gladly joined me in support, he was Scottish after all and loved a good drink every now and then- but we never got the chance. Oddly enough, it might have helped us both. He got some juice on him too.
Slowly, the reality of growing up began to sink in and shatter that armor of Adultesque Irresponsibility that I held so dear. In the years following that event, EVERYONE around me was calling to say that they were having babies, Kareema, Aaron, my sister again, Kareema again, Billy again, PJ, Quan and even Dominic, who just happened to be an innocent bystander that day!
All of this should have been the hint that that my time was coming.....
......and when I saw that "plus" sign pop up on the EPT, I knew that it had come and it came hard and fast.....
When it came time to call my sister and tell her the news, I had a strange feeling of euphoria. It was my turn to shock her into an hour long lunch break. HA HA HA!!!!!
"Hey Moo! Whatcha doin'?"
"Sitting with the kids. What's up?"
"I've got something to tell you...."
"WHAT?!?!?!?! Get the fuck outta here!"
"Get the fuck outta here!!!!!!"
This may sound like a strange reaction, but had I not gotten family juice on me that day in '99, I could have spent the next twenty years of my life without kids- and few of the people around me would have been surprised, especially my sister. Now that the dynamic of MY cosmos has changed, I'm loving it a lot more than I ever thought I would. Changing the diapers, the feedings, talking to the baby and having her "talk" back- (well she tries at least), reading her stories or Time magazine, playing her the trumpet- (well I try at least), watching her sleep, it's all a beautiful experience. It's not the fearful, nightmarish experience we all feared back in the day. Who knew? I've accepted it as my part of the cycle of life and I am doing it to the fullest. One day, Naimah's friends will be having kids, getting married, spilling their family juices on each other. Then eventually she'll call me with some news that will reshape the dynamic of my cosmos once again.
"Hey Dad, how are you?"
"I'm good baby, what's going on?"
"Well, I've got something to tell you. You're gonna be a grandpa, I'm pregnant."
"Really! That's great. Congratulations, now where'd I put my gun."