Such was the case yesterday, when I dragged home one of the neighbour's kids because he was:
A. Crying on the porch. B. Alone. C. Five-years old. D. Made eye contact.
"Which one are you?" I asked, trying to ease his muffled sobs and subsequent flow of snot, as I took him by the hand.
I didn't really care, having shooed him and his numerous siblings out of my yard on several occasions. And making small talk with anyone under the age of 60, was never my forté – but it kept me from asking the question on the tip of my tongue: "Where the fuck are your parents?".
Having spent the entire weekend in a rink parking lot, all I really wanted was a glass of wine and some peace and quiet by the fireplace. So why the hell was I toting home a small child like a discarded old chair I'd never get around to reupholstering.
"What are you doing?" asked the Little Bastard, all tucked in on the sofa watching football.
"Trying to figure out the remote so I can switch it to Treehouse." I replied.
"No. What are you doing with him?" he asked, grabbing the remote, as I steered our little neighbour toward the sofa.
"I am giving him some chocolate milk, and some love, and some Doritos, and making him cozy until his Mommy comes home." I thought to myself, tucking the other little, Little Bastard in.
"I never left you alone. Ever." I said, giving my child the motherly, yet tearful stink eye as I exited the room. "Just change the goddamned channel."
"I'm 15, and you still never leave me alone." I heard him mutter, reluctantly switching from football to some stupid kid channel.
There's a reason the mommy bird pushes the baby birds out of the nest. I think about this a great deal these days, as my only child prepares to leave the nest. Part of me is ready to watch him fly – and I promise not to milk this bird analogy to death – but part of me is afraid he'll blow a wing, or wind up face to face with the neighbour's cat.
He's ready, but am I?
Becoming a mother was like a big, weird, unexpected miracle for me, and I was determined not to screw it up. "Kids come first, at all costs" became my mantra, as I turned down party invitations, and left an otherwise lucrative career to work at home. There wouldn't be a man, or an event that would take priority over this kid.
But now what?
After our embarrassed neighbour arrived to retrieve her child, I suggested to the Little Bastard that maybe I should adopt another kid. I went so far as to call Nova Scotia's Department of Community and Child Services to see if they had any potty-trained, 5-year olds with no inclination toward hockey, lyin' around. Maybe a special needs child who couldn't speak, liked to scrub floors, and mixed the perfect Caesar.
So far, they haven't called back.
Driving the Little Bastard to school this morning, I asked him if he ever wished he had a little brother or sister, and what would he honestly think about adopting one.
He was silent for a moment, then said, "Okay Mom, do the math. You get a 5-year old now and that means you'll be, like, 90 by the time that kid is through university. And what about winter tennis in Florida, or finally being able to take off to Tuscany, like you talk about all the time?"
"And besides," he said, jumping out of the car, "you hate kids."
The Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada are "dedicated to placing retired greyhounds into loving homes". Had I not been forced to recently kick one of these yet-to-be-socialized, rescued dogs in the balls, so it would release my poodle from its jaws of death – this could have been a viable option to the 24/7 commitment of raising another child.
Maybe I'll billot a burly Moosehead, to keep the fetid hockey smell alive.
Maybe I'll look into Foster Parenting.
Maybe I don't have the patience, or the heart, to take another needy creature under my flabby wing.
Or, maybe I do.