My mom, who’s visiting this week, can’t understand why this is such a big deal. It’s difficult to articulate. It’s a combination of things, I guess: not wanting to be a grown up for real yet, feeling like we’re somehow making bad decisions by not following the path his brother and his wife are following, fears about how our lives will change when our friends start having babies, and that sort of nagging worry about babies for us—though we’ve pretty much decided no on that, as the clock ticks down fertility-wise, I feel like there are going to be more in-depth conversations about that, and those are conversations I am totally not ready to have.
Ugh. The whole thing just fills me with worry and confusion. I mean what the hell? How can people even be allowed to have babies, willy-nilly? People are so clumsy and stupid and babies are so small and helpless. And that was when I was just thinking about the kid in terms of Frank. Like, oh Frank’s brother is having a baby. Weird.
It wasn’t until I was out for drinks with some former colleagues last night, telling them about the impending baby, and one of them pointed out that I’d be an aunt that I really started losing it. Except that in my book, I am the opposite of an aunt. That’s what it means to not be married. That I’m not an aunt to anyone in Frank’s family, or any kind of in-law whatsoever.
I mean, aunts have responsibilities. They have to buy their nieces’ and nephews’ love, and compete with all the other aunts and uncles for their affections. I still get birthday check from one of my aunts every year. How can I be an aunt to someone else?
Again, my mom didn’t think this was a big deal. She thinks that Frank’s family is just being nice to include me, and that I should be happy rather than weirded out if anyone considers me to be an aunt to the new kid. Which, yeah, it is nice of them. They are very nice. But I guess I just always feel strange about the lack of agency for me.
I specifically didn’t get married, and yet I sort of have in-laws anyway. How does that work? I should at least be allowed to cash in on wedding gifts at that point, then. Which is a discussion for another day.
Frankly, I don’t think my mom would even be thrown for a loop if she found out that me or my brother or sister were getting married or trying to have a kid, which is just further evidence that she has no knack for flipping out about things in general.
I, however, am an expert, and am completely on board to flip out about every aspect of this baby-having process. For example, did I mention that the parents are younger than me? Yeah, okay. I know I’m going to have to grow up someday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go kicking and screaming. I never said I wasn’t a total pain in the ass. I am happy for them though, in my strange, anxious way. Mazel tov, Paul and Sarah. Please be responsible adults so Frank and I don’t have to, at least for the time being.