But, yeah, spoiler alert.
The expectant mom—I’ll call her New Zealand—was sixteen, African-American, expecting a boy in February. AK and I had some conversations about the challenges of raising a black male in a country that sometimes thinks black males are going to mug them. We decided we’d be honored to give it a try, and we’d seek out help when necessary.
We let ourselves daydream a little. Something surged up in me that I’ve been pushing down hard for a long time. I imagined our little guy in playgroups with our friends’ kids, getting spoiled by our parents. I imagined telling him about his birthmom, who’d found a good home for him so she could go to college. I imagined not buying any stupid sports-themed baby clothes, but happily accepting any hand-me-down sports-themed baby clothes, as my idealism (already eroded by the past three years) crumbled with the reality of parenthood.
|But I can totally get behind dressing our future child like an adorable elephant.|
I’ve learned to grieve very efficiently. Sometimes I think this is a useful skill. Sometimes—while I’m in the throes of self-pity—I feel like a creature who exists solely to lose things, like one of those animals who has evolved for one very specific purpose. Like that insect that eats fishes’ tongues and then wedges its body into their mouths to act as the new tongue. But hopefully less disgusting.
|Actual nature: somewhat less cute than a baby dressed as an elephant.|
The good part is that AK and I were pretty much on the same page throughout our little New Zealand trip, and we shared some giddiness, hopefully not for the last time. We felt readier than we’d ever been before. But while learning experiences are nice, babies are even nicer. So if you know anyone who has an extra one on the way, you know where to find us.