I’ve said that parenting has the lowest barrier to entry of any profession.
I’ve said that I’m sick of baby pictures.
Et maintenant, je m’accuse.
Today I got my favorite kind of email—news of a family coming into being. Nobody’s pregnant. Well, millions of people are pregnant. But a pregnant person isn’t relevant to this story, which is a good thing. Pregnancy news is nice, but like babies, pregnancies proceed unremarkably. The best part is the mother’s face as she learns that one can be pleased about nausea—a sign that all is well in there, in the dark, unreachable recesses above her bladder. Mostly it’s a drag to feel guilty drinking coffee in front of her.
Today’s news and baby picture made me cry, a little. This family is being born across 7,000 miles. You picture the moment: this is his name. Here is his picture. This is your son. I haven’t lived this moment myself, so I can’t imagine what it feels like to be that family. My family got started by cell division. This family by covalent bonding. This is your son.
This family had to audition. How does one put into words “I want to be a parent because” when scared shitless about hearing “yes?” How can one say “I can do this,” searching for something to prove a talent for family? This is his name. Here is his picture. This is my brother. Do you see that I call him every week? This is her name. Here is her picture. This is my niece. Do you see that she loves me? These are our names. Here is our home. Here is where our child will sleep.
And all I needed to become a parent was a car seat.
To everyone who lived this moment, seen his picture, inhaled her sweet scent amid the institutional smells of a government office, hospital, or airplane, congratulations. It’s been a long journey, and you made it. You’ve earned your moment on Facebook and more.
The bad news is, from tomorrow on, you’re as screwed as the rest of us, and your child as unremarkable. Which, if you think about it, is remarkable in itself.