I have seen Dirty Dancing maybe one million times. Seriously. One of my first conscious memories ever was of watching Patrick Swayze gyrating on our gigantic box-shaped television screen in the living room of our tiny double wide trailer in the middle of a peanut field. I'm pretty sure it was before I could talk. You see, my mother loved Patrick Swayze. Every woman in the late eighties loved Patrick Swayze, but I'm pretty sure my mother thought she was going to find him and marry him. I remember watching DD with my teenage niece April who would spend the weekend with us, possibly just to watch DD in rotation, because that's how we rolled at our house! Dirty Dancing. 24/7. (Yes, she was my niece because I was born an Aunt and am now a Great-Aunt, it's a long story for another blog!)
My mother never really censored me - and I'm grateful for this although I don't believe all children should grow up like this. It worked for us. Her idea of censoring me was asking me to go to the kitchen during the hot pottery scene in Ghost, where I preceded to watch from the hidden corner. When it was over, I was allowed to come back in and we'd watch together, you know, like every mother and four year old do. These were special times.
When Johnny says "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," I knew at that young age that I wanted a love like that. A man who would defy expectations and the father's law for the woman he loved. I would force my cousins to catch me in the air and spin me around, my arms open elegantly. Just like Baby, I could fly! From Dirty Dancing, I learned how to cha cha cha, that this is my dance space and that is yours, to never look down, and how to call my lover boy, (a scene I would recreate alone in my bedroom up until I was much too old to discuss). As I've gotten older, the allure of Dirty Dancing has never lost its touch. I can still watch it on repeat.
I always wanted that kind of passionate love shared by Johnny and Baby. Jon and I don't take to too many staged camp recitals these days, but we dance often in our apartment. Please do not let his shy demeanor fool you, he has moves and is quite a dancer! What I never thought I'd want is to get married and have a baby. After sitting through numerous therapy sessions, I think all along I yearned to get married and have the traditional American family. Mother, Father, One Girl, One Boy. Baby was in the corner, but I tried to fool myself out of this growing up. I wasn't raised in a traditional family, but by a single mother. I rejoiced in school when teachers reminded us that families came in all different shapes and sizes. For a long time, I convinced myself that no one really had a "father" because God the Heavenly Father was actually our true father and the dads on the playground were actually stand ins. Does this make any sense? I was a weird kid. I blame it on HBO.
Anyway, the idea of having a baby never crossed my mind. I didn't play with baby dolls or barbies. Obviously, I was too busy watching DD, but I remember my Aunt Joyce snickering that I'd change my mind. I'd shout "ew" and run off to memorize my index of dog breeds - we've already established I was weird! The idea of being a mother was not appealing. That is, until I went to Hibachi with my high school boyfriend. I was innocently sitting there, minding my own business, waiting for the onion volcano, when a five year old stranger sat next to me. The catch was that she kind of looked like me. She had dark brown eyes and bangs. We started talking about The Little Mermaid. I imagined that the three of us were a family. That was the moment I was bitten by the bug and Baby was officially out of the corner of my mind.
When I met Jon, I knew immediately that I wanted to have his child. He was this special creature and I spent hours thinking about what he was like as a baby and how I wanted one. Y'all, women are creepy! A friend told me recently that she was around my age when her ovaries began aching when she caught sight of a child. I get it. Women who are meant to be mothers, and not all women are, but those who are begin feeling this yearning. I think about it. I dream about it. I roll my eyes at all the cutesy baby photos on facebook, pretend to vomit, and then secretly cry on the inside because I want one. It is crazy to think my best friend for life has two and countless others whom I graduated with also have multiples!
With all that is our life, we don't know that we can have children. If cancer wasn't a part of our life, we certainly wouldn't think about it happening for another good five years. But since that is not our life, I worry that we may miss our chance or may have already missed our chance. I know I'm certifiable when I sit around wishing I had accidentally gotten pregnant at 18 when we first met and equally crazy when I try to convince myself having a dog is the same thing. Please don't tell my Harper Grace, but I know deep down it's not. I'm not afraid of adoption, but I would like to at least try for our own. A doctor told me not to give up on the idea, so that provided a great big bright light of hope. Our future is so uncertain. Sometimes I think I'm crazy for wanting to bring a child into this. But then I think of all the love my mother gave me and how I want to pass that down. I think about how I want to watch Dirty Dancing with a toddler and share in that special moment. I think about what it would feel like to have a baby growing inside me. I do not think about child birth because that just looks terrible, but I think about the moment right after when you hold them for the first time. I think about what the fusion of me and Jon would look like in the flesh. How it would be a beautiful representation of our love and all that we mean to each other. How it would certainly wear glasses and be ticklish and creative in some way. How it would be the smartest, cutest, bestest baby that ever lived and nobody better tell me otherwise. And how I would get angry like my mama did if that baby ever got their feelings hurt. How I would try to refrain from pulling out the shotgun and screaming "Nobody puts my Baby in the corner," but I make no guarantees, because after all, I love that baby more than life itself and - I am my mother's daughter.
So, who knows? Who knows what's to become of us? I do feel that I am a mother inside and I will put my faith in God, or strive to do so, and allow that to come out in the way it is meant to. Here's a little poem I wrote about these feelings:
Fly from this earth like a bird to the stars
To the moon, past the sun, why even to mars!
Limits are set for us each to break down
And for a child as bright as you those dreams will abound.
My baby, I pray each night to my God
That we'll be blessed with your spirit as you ripen my bod.
For a father, you couldn't ask for one sweeter or kinder
And a devoted mother in me, I promise you'll find her.
A mama and papa to watch as you grow
A blessing you'd be, Oh! what love you would know.