My son is taking a child development class this semester and over the weekend he brought home a “Real Baby”. It is a doll the acts somewhat like a real baby. It cries to be fed, burped, changed, or held. There are sensors on the baby’s body that react to a bracelet the student wears and then the baby records how long it took to be picked up after it started to cry, how hard the student patted its back to be burped, and whether or not the head was supported correctly. It comes with a bottle which also has a sensor so the baby can read how often it is fed. There are two diapers, also with sensors, and he had to make sure he was alternating between the two when he changed the diapers. The baby coo’s, laughs, and sighs but she mainly cries.
It was my son’s weekend to stay at his dad’s house so I missed out on all the baby “fun”. But last night while the baby was here at our house, I could hear it cry a little during the night and that sweet, little, realistic cry tugged at something I have suppressed for years – the little clock ticking away at my baby making time.
The ticking is actually very faint and has slowed – somewhat like an old clock right before the battery dies – but it is still there (I am only 36 after all). It makes me wonder what I may have missed in my life by only having one child, by not getting remarried, or having a “traditional” family. I look at pregnant women and feel a little jealousy because it is likely that I will never experience that again. Then I look at my son – my sixteen year old son- and think, if I were to get married and have another child my son would be an adult and I would have a baby. I know people do it all the time but I don’t think it is really my style.
So I listen to my clock tick and feel a little tug in my belly when I hear a baby cry or laugh but instead of looking back on what might have been, I try to look forward to what could be. God willing, there will be babies in my future – grandbabies. And when that time comes – hopefully at least 6 or 7 years down the road – I will take all the extra love stored up inside and pour it out on them. In the meantime, I will enjoy my son and the blessing that he is and knowing each day with him is a gift.