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I have to confess. I have a weakness. What is it? Cannolis? Calzones? Writing? Vanilla ice cream? Root beer? Well... yes to all of those. But my biggest weakness is for babies!!!
Yes, I love babies. I love seeing them. I love watching them enjoy themselves. I love listening to them talk. I just love them. Period.
Let me go back through my life. Right now, I am a confirmed 62-year-old bachelor. I have never married. Yes, I have dated much, but nothing has ever happened. As of right now, nothing will ever happen. My time has come and gone. Even if a nice lady came into my life today, we could never start a family because that age range would not allow me to see a baby grow into a young adult. By the time the said individual was ready to start college, I'd probably be underground looking up at the flowers.
To me, babies are the wonders of life. They are just tiny people who are just getting an introduction to a world that we adults have messed up to some degree. They are our hopes for a new and better tomorrow. They are to be our successors. That is how I see them.
Me? I am so fascinated by them. I first see their parents, people who really love these little ones, do everything they can to help them. Some people are the seed sharers, but I would not consider them to be real parents. I see some women who just have babies so that they can call themselves mothers instead of Moms. I see guys who just implant their demon seeds just so that they can call themselves fathers instead of Dads. A real Mom and Dad loves and nurtures their baby. They don't treat the newborn as a status symbol like a new Mercedes Benz. A baby is far more valuable than a whole country full of Mercedes Benz vehicles.
Did you ever look at the very cute face of a baby, especially a newborn? It is the face of innocence. They have no idea yet of what is right or wrong. They have no clue as to what life is about. Most of the time, they are scared. They are sometimes frightened. They are trying to communicate, but they can only cry and reach. Most of all, they want to love and be loved. The psychologists describe that first need above all others is the need to be loved. They will closely align themselves with the first person who holds and cuddles them. It is called imprinting. It has been shown that puppies will cuddle up to a stuffed animal if the stuffed animal is always there to give them warmth and non-threatening comfort. Perhaps, this is why adult birds are very defensive of their young ones but will give them up if there is human contact with their seedlings. They must know that baby birds will stay close to the comforting warm human contact and abandon the mother.
While I am happy to see babies, the one thing that bothers me is what I constantly see in the news. Babies, in some cases, are usually the victim of violence, violence that just can't be made up. I can't even count the number of times that I've read or heard where babies were stabbed to death or shot or whatever. The other day, I read a story where a mother was run over by a speeding car that went out of control. The baby barely survived the vehicular attack but died an hour or two after her Mom. Hard to accept things like this. It honestly hurts me deep within even though they are not my children.
What most adults forget is that we all started out as babies. We were once that cute as we started our first breath. We were once as innocent as a newborn. Where did we go wrong? I can think of people like Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Ghengis Khan and many other people of their ilk who are the recipients of the title of Horrible Humans. It is hard to believe that they, too, were once innocent babies until they also took a wrong turn in life. Bad behavior is learned behavior. We were not born with it. For some reason, some babies are taught the wrong behavior as these individuals were.
When I see a baby, it just melts my heart. I would love to pick them up and give them a hug, but I don't due to the accusations that go on in today's world. So, I will just wave at them and shake a parent's hand. I listen to them. I remember my youngest grandniece trying to talk with me with her baby babble. At one point, I smiled and she smiled back at me. Somehow, I managed to communicate that I loved her. My precious one is my oldest niece. I had bonded with her right away and tried to keep my bond strong with her after my sister, her Mom, died. Even though I am not her parent, I will always consider her to be my baby girl. She is that valuable to me.
I remember one Christmas that I really enjoyed. It was a real family Christmas that I will never forget. It wasn't for what was under the tree. It was for what was around the tree. It was my family that I enjoyed the most that Christmas. Daddy came up the stairs that Christmas Eve to wake up my brother, sister and me to see what Santa brought us. I was in high school at the time and my sister and brother were 7 years and 9 years younger than I was respectively. Our Mom and Dad sat on a sofa nearby. Dad put his arm around Mom as they sat on the sofa to watch the three of us open up our presents. After a while, I saw the tape recorder I always wanted. I had an idea. I put a cassette into my recorder, sat my brother and sister on my lap, and pretended that we were making a radio station much like we heard on our radio every day. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my parents and how happy they were. They saw the happiness on their babies' faces.
I have a nickname for babies. I like to call them Munchkins that could be described as the little people from the L. Frank Baum story called The Wizard of Oz or they could be named after the sweet little doughnut treats from Dunk-n-Donuts. Either way, I like them.
In closing, if you are a parent, especially a parent of a baby, enjoy them. Treasure them. Keep them close to your heart. In time, they will no longer be the baby that you brought into the world or even if you adopted them as babies. They will be taking care of you one day just like you took care of them.
When I think of this, I think of a song by the late Harry Chapin called Cat's in the Cradle. In the song, the man who was very busy in his son's childhood saw how time had flown and, now his son has taken on the type of life his Dad had.
I've long since retired, my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job's a hassle and kids have the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, Dad
It's been sure nice talking to you"
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
Parents, take care and love your babies. You were lucky enough to have a baby and hopefully. a spouse. Things could have gone the other way. Life could have dealt you a bad hand and you could have been just like me. You have what I can never have. Count your blessings and love your child.