Here I sit, on the eve of our baby shower, and it dawned on me. Tomorrow, at the shower, our baby’s gender will be revealed.
Today is the last day of my life that my child is just a human being. Not a baby boy or girl. Just a little person with a galaxy of wonder waiting inside of it to burst forth.
It hasn’t been difficult waiting to find out what combination of chromosomes my child possesses, to be honest. I’ve been satisfied feeling its little thumps and rolls inside of my stomach, wondering if it likes the song I’m listening to or if it hates what I’m eating, at the moment. I smile throughout my day doting on what its smile will be like and how much deeper I’ll love my husband the first time he holds our Squish.
My love hasn’t known a gender, up to this point. It hasn’t been accompanied by tiny, lacy headbands or little side-parted or mohawked hair. It’s just been our little person by whom we’ll do our best. The reason my dogs won’t leave my side. The reason I pee clear because of all the damned water I drink. The reason I, for some terrible reason, enjoy bananas and drive a little slower than I did before.
I hope that, no matter its gender, it plays with Ninja Turtles and has painted toes, if it’s so inclined. I hope that it doesn’t hear me when I ask it to not play in the black dirt and that it laughs infectiously when its face is licked clean by a velvet-lipped, aging, slobbery dog.
It just so happens that our baby shower falls on both the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and grandparents’ day. Two things that, although may seem like polar opposites, remind me of the importance of my child just being a human.
On 9/11/2001, my world was rocked. Every person who was alive and able to remember that day does so with all the grainy details that cannot be forgotten. My child will only know about this day through pictures, videos, written accounts, history books and our own experience. I won’t recount the horrible details of the day here but I want my Squish to know how very important it is to be a human…a good human.
There are responsibilities that come along with just being a person. So before we and our society impart other expectations and responsibilities onto it that may or may not be associated with gender, I want to write this down and I want Squish to understand.
The burden is on you to be kind. It will always be your responsibility to love, not to be the decider as to whether the recipient is worthy. It will be a conscious and continuous decision you make every day to be a positive force for yourself and someone else. You will be accountable for nurturing a thirst for wisdom that we and your teachers will root in you. From your desire to learn, it will be your job to develop tolerance, the ability to critically think and accept people and things the way they are while doing what you can to improve yourself and the way you interact and perceive your world.
I’m scared for you, also. For all the light you can shine, there will always be insidious forces in our world, I’m sure of that. That’s when I’m reminded that tomorrow is grandparents’ day.
I’m excited for you to meet the ones that are still here and I’m gathering the courage to speak without crying about the ones who are not. Your grandparents have seen some evil things as much as they’ve seen and exhibited incredible kindness. They’ve lived through some extreme times and there will never be enough time spent at the knee of a grandparent. I promise.
For all the bad things that happen, we all are here to help you through it all. Wherein your burdens lie, as do ours. For every iota of goodness that springs from your heart, we’ll be there to guide it onward. When the bad things happen, there will be the arms of the people you love and the memories of those who are gone.
While I wish that an event like our 9/11 is one you’ll never witness, if you do, you will see how important your kindness and love is. You’ll find it in others and they’ll find it in you. You’ll see why it’s so important to be a good human.
See all of the hopes I have for you, little one? You haven’t even taken your first breath of air and we aspire to so many amazing things for you. And all before we even know what your name will be.
So today I’ll just enjoy Squish’s touches and punches as my little person. I’ll go to sleep just dreaming about it being mine and daddy’s baby. Tomorrow, it’ll be our little boy or little girl.
We won’t love it any more or less than we do now. The only thing that will change is we’ll know with what color to accent its room: plum or navy.