The nursery isn’t my gift

September 14, 2016


Once they grow up, we long to hold a little baby again, or do we?

I just wanted to hold a baby. I wanted to snuggle my face into its chubby neck and smell baby powder and lotion. My two boys are giant teenagers and in no way resemble anything I could hold or rock to sleep on the front porch and actually, these days, I'd fit in their arms better than they in mine.

Since none of our friends have babies and the children next door are old enough to talk your head clean off and won't sit still longer than a New York minute, I came up with a great plan.

Armed with the secret weapon of eye-batting, I managed to talk my husband into volunteering with me in the church nursery. One hour each Sunday, we'd be able to play with all the roly-poly babies, then hand them back to their grateful parents. We'd been there-- done that, and were more than glad to help the next wave of sleep deprived young couples.

We didn't know these days, you can't just show up at the nursery and tell them because you haven't lost or killed your own children, you're qualified to help. Now, before you step foot into "God's Little Garden," there are fourteen forms to complete, requiring a list of relatives, recent diseases, political and theological leanings as well as fingerprints and background checks that extend to a reference from your first grade substitute music teacher. After we were approved (in spite of my husband's cousin Vinny), we were ready for snuggle action.

Assigned to the older baby and toddler room, I instantly bonded with the cutest girl, dressed in a fluffy green dress. She had white ruffled socks and tiny black patent shoes, which were appropriate, because it was a few weeks yet until Easter. A green bow was snuggled in her curls and she beamed at me with huge blue eyes.

"Oh, you precious darlin'!" I scooped her up and headed toward the rocking chair, but this babe had other plans. She didn't want to be rocked, walked or patted. She didn't want to play, swing or sing. She wanted to kick her seasonally appropriate shoes into my gut and scream. Not a "missing my mommy" whimper, but more of a "practicing to be a hormonal squealing teenage girl" kind of holler that would have scared the beard off Jesus.

My husband found a dream of a round faced little boy, who stretched out his chubby arms to be held, then proceeded to barf about four gallons onto my husband's shirt and tie. This made the other babies cry, which was a convenient ruckus since my husband may or may not have said a non-church approved word at that moment.

To distract them, we passed out animal crackers, which somehow transformed into gobs of pasty goo that the tykes smeared not only on themselves, but in each other's hair, onto the rug and all the toys.

"Our boys never acted like this" "Something must be wrong with these kids." "What if they're all coming down with something?" "I can't take off from work next week, you know."

The hour long nursery incarceration ended with every baby in the room needing a fresh diaper. So as not to be tacky, I'll just say, if it's not your own baby, it's EPA approved toxic waste.

"How did we ever do this?" "What kind of diet are these kids on?" "I think I'm going to cry or throw up myself." "Promise me you're too old to ever have another baby again." "Don't talk about how old I am." "What? I can't hear you over all the screaming."

We never made it back to the nursery because we discovered it wasn't our "gift." We also went home and had a discussion with our boys on yet another serious danger of giving us grandchildren too early. And for the first time in a long time, I was satisfied with the sweetness of my teenager's necks.

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