I would be lax if I neglected to identify and acknowledge the other side of this reproductive coin, and so, I’d like to share a secret:
In a small, brightly lit, yet out-of-the-way corner of my inner self, I quietly nurture the idea of having a daughter. When no one is looking and I don’t have to worry about appearances, I imagine laying my hands on a fat, round belly (visible only from profile or head-on, mind you, because It will be a perfect pregnancy with no additional fat….) containing a teeny, tiny girl with dark eyes and hair patiently waiting for her grand entrance.
When she does arrive, we are two peas in a pod, and I know, each time she looks up at me in wonderment, that it is my duty to be a better person and to cultivate and nurture that astonishment, against all ravings of my inner cynic. From the top of her perfect head, I breathe in that flushed, baby scent and am calmed, eager to give away my smiles, easier than ever in the past. She is me, in microcosm, but with a chance at being effortlessly joyful and unburdened.
For her, I skip and thrill, and leave aside storm clouds and doom. My hands shake no more in anxiety, for they must be steady to contain her own tiny and reaching paws. I sing, off-key, tiny little love songs into her sleeping ears, so that, even in dreamland, she knows my hopes and love.
I imagine her, a babe-in-arms and then in front and then in backpack. I see her in my own mother’s arms, something I share to say: “Look, we made it.” She sits, with feet swinging behind an ancient Martin as my father teaches her tiny fingers to bang out “G-L-O-R-I-A”, re-animating a musical sense that skipped me entirely. I see her off to kindergarten, and then to her first dance, and then college, secretly pleased that I look so good “at my age”.
She’s a little pipedream I have, in quiet moments. When no one is looking.