I’m not a “kid person.” I spent most of my life thinking kids were little aliens who could attack at any moment, and my best defense was to avoid eye contact. Any interaction I did have resulted in palm-moistening awkwardness. What can we talk about? Do you even talk? Why are you staring at me?
I was a babysitter a grand total of three times. I tell people it’s because I didn’t live around kids, which is a complete lie. Any potential employer took one look in my panicky eyes and moved on.
The day my nephew was born, I was one month into my marriage and eager to follow through on my deliberate plan to spend the next three to five years luxuriating in childless freedom.
I stood next to my sister in the delivery room, watching with horror and awe (mostly horror) as my nephew screamed his way out of her—and into my arms. See, the labor and delivery nurse took my lack of…sound…words…tears…any-emotion-whatsoever-because-I-was-frozen-with-fear…as a sign I was keen to hold that pink, gooey creature.
Later, I told my husband our plan should be extended beyond five years. We laughed and promptly frittered away several hours aimlessly wandering the aisles of Target. Little did we know we would be calling ourselves parents less than a year later.
My own experience taught me that birth is not only a physical miracle, but works some kind of voodoo brain magic I can’t explain. Don’t get me wrong—kids still scare me a little bit, especially my own when his snacks run out. But since my son came along, I feel more confident than ever that I can almost hold up my end of a conversation with a 5-year-old, calm a screaming infant or talk about trendy social media with a teenager. Emphasis on the “almost.”
Carrie Taylor is a native Texan, freelance writer and mother of one precious baby boy.