Everyone knows baby fever — that my-clock-is-ticking time that many women of childbearing years come down with, when just smelling that newborn scent is enough to make the hormones surge. But grandbaby fever — when that same thing happens to middle-aged women (and men) of childbearing-aged children — is also a very real thing. I just don't have it — yet, or maybe ever ... and I think that's OK!
However, at 55, many of my friends are mid-grandbaby fever. Facebook pages overflow with baby shower photos, newborn announcements or, later, chronicling of fun escapades with their next-generation little ones. Dinner conversations are no longer carried out unless replete with details of baby's first tooth, toddler's first tantrum or school-age accomplishments. Luckily, my lack of interest in being a grandparent myself at this juncture in life doesn't mean I don't enjoy a (occasional) regaling of their grandchild's latest achievements, and perhaps this is a harbinger of an interest yet to come in the near future.
Maybe part of the problem is that I never had regular baby fever to begin with. Don't get me wrong — as soon as that pink bundle of joy was placed in my arms, I was smitten. And 28 years later, truth be told, I still am. But I didn't have any of the I-WANT/NEED/MUST-HAVE-A-BABY-RIGHT-NOW feelings that constitute the feverish state that some experience who desperately want to conceive and give birth.
Or maybe it's because my daughter hasn't had her own baby fever to transfer vicariously to me. At 28, she is knee-deep in a surgical residency, not to mention single. I'm fairly certain conceiving and parenting, although I know them to be eventual hopes of hers, are not in the forefront of her mind.
Or perhaps it's because I don't FEEL like I'm “of a certain age” yet. In fact, didn't I just finish changing diapers and wrangling with car seats myself?
And I love this stage in my life I'm currently exploring, unencumbered by many of the responsibilities that come with parenting young children. Or grandparenting. The reality is that most grands these days do more than coo during occasional visits from their latest progeny, from regular babysitting to helping out financially to, on occasion, pseudo-parenting.
The bottom line is, just like when I was in my 20s and missing the urge to become a mother, I needn't let the feelings of others lead me to believe that something is wrong with me now that I'm not currently longing to knit baby booties. I have no doubt that if or when I am blessed and become a grandparent, I will embrace it with all my heart, again, just as I did with parenting. In the meantime, I would be lying if I didn't say I think there's hope for me. In fact, I've been trying on nicknames for size, just for the heck of it. Nan has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
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