I was thinking about you tonight as I gave the baby a bath. She squirted me with her rubber duck and babbled an incoherent phrase, and my mind went to you because even though you don’t exist yet, you will soon enough and you will be as big a part of me as this girl who I am a willing slave to.
Some of you will be easy. You will commandeer my fingers and trick me into believing that I am wholly responsible for you. You will be neat and clean and minty and we’ll get along well because you’ll never ask me to help you move, but even if you did I’d be there at 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning with the truck.
Some of you will be hard. You will seem like a good friend when I first think of you, but then I will invite you for coffee and learn that you are completely cracked-out and that when I went to the bathroom you took my wallet from my bag. You will seem like a good, lost soul though and I will become patient with you and keep you around against my better judgment. I’ll eventually publish you in a misguided effort to pawn you off on someone else.
Some of you will be serious and intense. I will develop a crush on you and want to be around you all the time and drink you in because it is with you that real change will be made in the world. I’ll grapple with you and try to impress you, only to spit out ideas that merely hint at your hugeness. You will make me wear a black beret and shirk off tomfoolery and just focus for once on something that has depth and meaning. You’ll take me to rallies and motivate me to say things that triumph Truth and Dignity.
But then I’ll cheat on you with your twin brother: words that are funny. I’ll meet you funny words on the sly and admire my ability to recognize you in nearly everything that’s ever happened to me. I’ll be ashamed to admit that you were there at every funeral I’ve ever been to. Don’t you have any sense of decency at all? Couldn’t you have just realized your place? If you weren’t so likable you’d be a menace.
Some of you will get really popular. Everyone will like you because they know you too. I will briefly become popular by association. I’ll be your date when you get elected prom king. The only thing is, I won’t be elected prom queen. Someone else with poofier sleeves and fifty pounds less girth than me will get that distinction. But I’ll still be proud of you because I know you’ll be leaving with me. I gave you strength and resonance and taught you how to wax on and wax off.
Some of you will not be as popular but you’ll be OK with it because you are secure in who you are. Your grace and eloquence are inherent, and you will take stock in your depth. You will love me for me, laugh at my inside jokes, and allow me to cry and vomit you all out in a messy but necessary way. You are patient and delicious and your soul is old.
Some of you will be a mess of the hotness variety. You will look like you applied mascara and drank a blue Slurpee while participating in a rodeo. People will humor you because you mean well but they are all really wishing you’d just go away and leave them alone and stop raving that the moon is made of rubber bands and that Cap’N Crunch is the lovechild of Thomas Jefferson and Zsa Zsa Gabor. I’ll bring you home, sober you up, and take you out for breakfast the next morning and tell you to get your act together for goodness sake.
Some of you will be long. Some of you will be short. I will regret saying some of you. I will be proud of myself when I say others.
I will love you all. You all will be important. You will help me continue creating a world that makes sense to me. You will grow up with my own fleshandblood child and help me be a better parent to her. You will complete the story I’ve already started writing.
And one day when I’m gone and one or two people are trying to pin down just who I was, they’ll call you up and invite you for coffee. You’ll both laugh and talk and cry and think, and in some way I’ll know of your meeting and be happy.