Thursday, October 31, 2013

Unexpected Thoughts and Panda Bears

There was a time in my life that every talk show, single-girl comedy, post-30 woman seemed to be very concerned about the biological clock.  I'm not very good with clocks.  I've broken 3 with over-enthusiastic snooze buttoning.  I constantly run late, and I never know if I'm springing forward or falling back.  Naturally, I assumed that whatever life clock I was given was probably just not keeping good time.

I love babies.  Love them.  The baby head smell.  The tiny hands and feet.  The snuggling.  

I love toddlers.  The silly games.  The mixed-up vocabulary.  The squeal-giggles.

I love kids.  I even love my junior high kids, weird though they may be.

And I'm great with kids.  All of them.  I love that kids tend to love me.

I also love that all of those children go home at some point.  They're precious, but they're loud.  And I'm sort of selfish and set in my ways.  I was not one of those girls who grew up, planning my wedding and thinking of kids' names.  I assumed, one day, that I would get a job, get a husband, get some kids because that's what just seemed to happen.  But for a dozen different reasons, I never moved past the "get a job" step.

And it's been okay.  Sure, there are moments, watching my friends and their beautiful babies that I feel a little lonely, a bit empty, and I wonder if I'm missing out.  Then, right on cue, someone throws a fit or bites their sister or gets diarrhea, and I take myself home, grateful for the peace and quiet of a carseat-less drive.  

Tonight, I stopped by Target to grab a bag of  "just-in-case" Halloween candy and some shampoo.  As I stood, deciding between Starburst or Snickers, I looked up just in time to see the world's cutest panda bear, staring at me from the grocery cart near the Twizzlers.  She had golden curls and green eyes and her panda bear ears were ever-so-slightly askew.  As I passed by, she grinned a big grin and waved a tiny wave.

It was like a karate chop to the ovaries.

I've never been big on this holiday -- not even as a kid myself.  Face paint and masks freaked me out because I was never sure who was under them, and my indecisive behavior created an entire month of anxiety and arguments with my mom.  So, if there was ever a time for my biological clock to spring forward, I didn't think it would be on Halloween.

Yet there I was, 10 minutes later, browsing for a new conditioner and wondering how bad panda bear diarrhea could really be.

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