It's almost midnight on Sunday. It's finally dark out. And Cam and I are lying in bed, fighting off sleep, discussing our deep-seeded fears and apprehensions about parenting. You know, just some light pillow talk.
“I just really want to make sure I'm around for the little things,” Cam says quietly, referring to his new career and its accompanying demands.
“You will be,” I assure him with a kiss on the forehead, “You're going to be the best dad ever.”
“And you're going to be a mom ” I can hear the smile on his face even though I can't see it.
I just bust up laughing. I know exactly what he means. Brace yourselves, because I'm going to say one of those things I'm probably not supposed to say (you may have noticed I do that a lot) but I've never particularly wanted kids. I've never been the, “Awww, look at the baby,” girl. I played with dolls, sure, but I was more concerned with becoming the first female president. Or a marine biologist. Or a New York Times bestselling novelist. In the back of my head, I guess I pictured myself with children eventually. But in a matter-of-fact way, not a burning-desire way.
But then I met Cam. And that far-off-maybe-someday kid became an okay-this-will-definitely-be-my-reality-soon kid. Because Cameron Wiemerslage was put on this Earth for one thing and that's to be a dad. I knew it within five minutes of our very first date. He wears tacky dad clothes (well, not nine years ago, but now certainly), he makes corny dad jokes. He can fix just about anything and assemble IKEA furniture in 10 minutes or less. He crochets handmade scarves for Christmas. He bakes obscenely delicious chocolate chip cookies. The guy is a one-man episode of The Waltons.
Let's face it, I'm never going to be able to compete with that. June Cleaver couldn't compete with that. But there are, believe it or not, some things that Cam isn't very good at. Please refer to the following list of ways I'm not going to be a totally hopeless mother:
I Can Cook Like Really Cook
And I don't mean following a recipe or opening a box of mac 'n cheese. I can tell you when onions are done caramelizing just by the sound they make in the pan. I know without tasting whether a dish needs more salt or more acid or a pinch more sugar. Jambalaya, coq au vin, a passable pad Thai you name it, I can make it. Which probably means my kid is going to want nothing but chicken nuggets for 12 years
I Have a Black Belt in Bedtime Stories
Okay, so I don't make the silly voices like Cam does (please explain, btw, why every bad guy is Australian?), but I never have to be persuaded to read out loud or otherwise. As soon as the baby can make out sounds which is around next week, I believe he will become intimately acquainted with Ms. Frizzle and Reepicheep and Neville Longbottom and Madeline. And as an added bonus, I can also recite the release dates and original casts of any corresponding movie adaptations. You're welcome, tiny human.
I'm a Citizen of the World
This is a three-parter. No. 1: I firmly believe like my parents did that travel is the best education. I was so scared and outside my comfort zone on our family trip to Puerto Rico as a teen, but let me ask you have you and your mom jumped into the pitch-black ocean with all your clothes on to swim with bioluminescent microorganisms? Which brings me to No. 2: I'm great with maps and have a natural sense of direction, something that cannot be said for his father. My kid will thank me when we walk out of Gare du Nord and don't have to ask directions to the Louvre. And No. 3: I have a natural knack for languages. I can insult your mother in at least four and that's just off the top of my head. (Insider Tip: The more tequila you drink, the more impressive my language skills get).
I Will Never Stop Fighting
To quote myself during Cam and I's late night chat, “Some poor school board president is going to wish I was never born.” I may not be the most touchy-feely person ever, but mark my words, my kid will have the absolute best crash-test-rated car seat from Consumer Reports. They will go to the best NAEYC-accredited preschool I can find. I will stage sit-ins and write letters and demonstrate at the Capitol if it means a few more books, a little more funding or better opportunities for my child. Yep, I'm going to be that mom. You can hate me, just get out of my way.
So, there you go. I'm sorry I don't know how to knit. I'm sorry I'm not going to make individual, handmade Valentine's Day cards for my child's classmates. That's his dad's department. But if they want to check out the world's largest ball of tinfoil or organize a protest rally at their school, I've got their back. Co-parenting for the win.