I’ve just returned from a 2 week stint in South Africa – looking after my gorgeous nephew/godson, (5) and his equally gorgeous sister, (18 months) while their parents were away. I love them deeply and I’m more than a little melancholy I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. Which is funny, because I never wanted children of my own.
As a single, career-minded woman, I was happy to be the godmother/aunt/interested adult…as long as I could hand them back to their parents and go back to my own (semi-interesting) life. Of course that all changed when the Tadpole (a.k.a. aforesaid nephew) was born, but I still had the luxury of hot-footing it back to corporate life and champagne-ville when it suited me. I quite enjoyed playing the role of not-so-wicked godmother!
Having learnt the entire theme song to Paw Patrol last week, along with reaching the dizzy heights of supercool stardom in Slugterra, I have also been reflecting on my role as an aunt and godparent. Parent– being the operative word. It’s not something you prepare for. But damn…you need to be prepared. For the questions, the challenges and the absolute clarity of a 5 year old. For the high energy, instant requirements of a little 18 month old soul who is seeing things for the first time and demanding everything!
Which got me thinking. In my other life, falling madly in love with The Belgian has also brought children into my life. They are not mine, but they are the most gorgeous boys. Two of them. When we first met, I was.. a single, career-minded woman happy to be the interested adult. As long as I could hot-foot it back to corporate life and champagne-ville. Of course that changed when The Belgian proposed. Suddenly, I faced the prospect of being a step-mother. I wasn’t prepared. I felt…wicked. In every sense of the word.
I hadn’t had kids of my own. How would I know what to do when they came home with bruised knees. Wicked! There are loads of Brady-bunch type books on the market. You know, the blended family, step-parenting-for-dummies publications that are totally – and I mean totally – geared towards those people who a) have been married before and b) are bringing their kids together. Eh? What about me? I simply could not relate. I wasn’t sure whether ‘stepmom’ was something I actually wanted. Even more wicked! Yes, I am a single, career girl by choice. My career is still important to me, regardless of whether I do the school run or not. Wicked-er! And yes, of course I have never had kids so will probably not know how to parent. Oh so, super-Wicked!
Nevertheless..I’m not half bad with small people, and despite my own misgivings, I will probably make a semi-cool parent. So far, I have presided over the funeral of the pet gerbil, given big hugs when disappointment strikes and taught the boys to love jelly and bacon. I am prepared to take on someone else’s most precious possessions, along with their birth mother’s foibles. I am prepared to hug them, love them and make sure they are well-fed and watered. I am there to tuck them in and cuddle them when they can’t speak to mom or dad. More importantly I am happy to spend my spare time, teaching them things they might not otherwise learn. Getting them to make a perfect champagne-cocktail however, might be some way off!