When my sister called to tell me she was pregnant nine months ago, I had a little bit of a crisis. Not because I feel like I should be having kids, but because I realized I am actually old enough to HAVE kids without people assuming I was once a tragic, knocked-up teenager. When I got off the phone with my sister, I realized that even if I had waited until I was in my 20s, I could have a 7-year-old child right now, which is crazy. For proof, I offer this: It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday as I type this and I am still in the pajamas I put on Saturday night. Today my meals have consisted of a frozen Totino’s pizza and a cookie-dipped Drumstick. I should not be allowed to be in charge of another person’s life, is what I am saying, since I am apparently on board with giving myself adult-onset diabetes and looking like an “after” shot on the Faces of Meth website as I sit on the pulled-out sofa bed watching X Files DVDs for seven hours straight. That last sentence was a gift to the Internet: Try reading that without immediately feeling better about your life choices. Even you, Paris Hilton.
Even after meeting my nephew two weeks ago and witnessing my sister and her husband display their awesome parenting skills, it still seems surreal that my sister and I are old enough to be doing this. It feels like just yesterday that I stole her diary, saw an unsavory entry about how she suspected I was reading it, and then proceeded to scrawl, “I DO NOT READ YOUR DIARY YOU JERK!” with a marker across her accusations.
Nobody was surprised I did not grow up to be a genius.
And speaking of surprises, I was shocked at my response to holding the little dude. I was prepared to love him because, duh, he’s my nephew, but I was not prepared to tear up when he scrunched up his little face because his tummy hurt. Or to tear up thinking about him going off to his first day of school. That’s right. The kid is two weeks old and I am worrying about an event a good five years away. That I will probably not even witness. WHO AM I. And then when I saw him wrapped up in the neon blanket I crocheted for him I almost died:
I did tear up one other time on the trip, but that was because we went to this burger place where you can order a cheeseburger with doughnuts for buns:
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it was totally worth having to explain the track marks on my arms from mainlining Pepto Bismol for three days after this meal. I did take that night as an opportunity to explain to little Joshua about gas pains, and about how if he’s scrunching his face up to cry because of a little milk indigestion he had better toughen up because there is a whole host of delicious foods out there in the world just waiting to give him diarrhea.
I think my sister might be glad I live 1,200 miles away.