“Oh my goodness I’m so happy for you!”, I tried to muster as much saccharine happiness as I could when I heard the news. Sometimes I feel guilty for having to pretend that I’m sharing in someone’s joy when I’m really actually pretty heated, but this time I don’t even feel bad. I just acted happy because bewilderment doesn’t travel across phone lines very well.
See, I love babies and the hype surrounding them just as much as the next person. Of course I do get irked when people talk about babies and baby showers ad nauseum, but I really don’t have a problem with people bringing them into the world responsibly.
If KC (initials being used) was telling me that she was expecting a baby for herself, then I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash and my happiness would have been genuine. This was not the case though, she was calling me that she’d just found out that she was going to be a grandmother. She’s 26 years old!! And she’s going to be a GRANDMOTHER. If you want the details, she had her first child at 12 years old and now her son is 14 years old and about to reproduce.
Ok, accidents happen. I get that. But KC told me that she encouraged her son and his girlfriend to start having babies. She doesn’t want them to be old by the time their kids graduate from high school…she wants them to enjoy their lives the way she is beginning to enjoy hers. She just got her GED about a year ago, and won’t go to college because she’s ballin working as a dancer–yes that type. According to her, life is fabulous…she’s young, she’s done raising kids, and now she can go buckwild. She’s done her job, and got it done early, after all, once a kid reprouces, he’s no longer considered a kid. Now she has no financial obligations to her son, she can go out and do whatever her heart desires.
My heart bleeds when I hear this because I’m watching her now and I see her doing things that most teenagers who had a chance to experience a “regular” adolesence wouldn’t do. The relationships she’s had with men have been stunted because in the years that she’s been raising her 6 (yes six, count em, six–none of them with the same daddy) kids, she hasn’t gotten to see what it’s really like to be grown or have positive interactions with adults.
I can understand and respect the notion that parents should have children at an age young enough to be able to enjoy them. But to tell your 13-year old to begin reproducing is insane in my book. At that age, you’re still figuring life out and are still learning from your own parents, so you’re in no place to be one. I’m glad that KC’s life has been pretty devoid of harsh times, but that doesn’t mean that her grandkids’ lives will be the same. It’s so scary to me that we’re just about the same age and she’s got me beat by two generations. The closest I come to raising a child is raising my dog (who is a hellion by the way), and I suck at that sometimes, so I can’t imagine being responsible for another human being.
“They’re so damn cute though” is the reaction I get when answer the questions surrounding my reluctance to have a child right now and what I heard when I told KC that I’m concerned about her son being responsible for another human life. I know babies are cute, and they have been since the beginning of time. Just because it’s cute doesn’t mean I need one. Lamborghinis are cute, and I don’t have any of those. Baby tigers are cute, and I most definitely don’t have one of those.
People, please understand that babies are real human beings. Yes, they’re oh so cute, but they will grow up. These aren’t just little dolls that you can trade or put down at will. You can’t just leave them in the toy chest and pick them up later. That little person will become a full-fledged adult one day, and will carry with him/herself a set of values. If you’re not old enough to even have your own values figured out, you really have no place trying to instill some in another person. There’s a lot more involved in this child rearing thing than making sure the child looks cute at all times, but I’m not going to preach here.
I used to think that the joke “mom at age 15, grandmama at age 30, great grandma by 45…” was just an exaggeration to get people to laugh. Sadly, I am mistaken. Kids, please enjoy being kids, there’ no rush for you to be grown.