Suddenly In Need of a Baby


The impulse hit me like remembering something you forgot when you’re already on the highway. Suddenly I wanted children.  Not just wanted, I thought I needed a baby, like you need your own pillow when you go far away, else when you arrive, you can’t get comfortable, desiring to rest your head on more than a memory of something you forgot.

Inside me was an open space, a sort of  man-womb that wanted filling.  It was actually a spiritual void at the core of my existence, though I did not picture the deity in a diaper.  I thought I needed an actual baby.  Thus, looking into the future, fearing loneliness should I arrive in old age without offspring, I longed to be a parent as if a child were an insurance policy that would pay off when all my friends died.
I imagined parenthood romantically, like a virgin in the grip of desire, with no first-hand knowledge of the price to be paid or the pain to be accepted.  Instead of a unique newborn human, of course I saw a miniature of myself, but innocent, whom I would love without limit, and  who would love me back.
I was thirty-eight years old.  I’d been single except for an early, two year marriage that functionally ended in a Sears parking lot in Annapolis, Maryland.  She threw my shoes at me and drove off back to Pittsburg.  Hitchhiking south, I met a new girl.  Romance was my drug of choice.  I was addicted to the soaring hope that always accompanied a new potential partner-for-life.  In practice, I could not make love without that hope.  I had tried it once with a working girl, and I was a no-show between the sheets.  Which I suppose speaks in my favor, but does not mitigate the pain I have caused over the years, falling in love, then finding my hope dissipated, romance waning due to the passage of time.

Deciding to be a father, I wondered if among the ladies with whom I had shared a hypodermic injection of hope might be one who would give me another shot, this time skipping the romance to avoid the overdose.  If we formed an alliance for procreation, and stuck to raising a baby, maybe it would work.  It was an idea that led me to the greatest adventure of my life.

The spiritual void at the core of my existence was filled because God wears a diaper.  Actual babies are immortal.  They — we — never lose that eternal connection.  We see ourselves in the depths of an infant’s eyes.  All we are, that will never die, is there.