I’ve written at length in the past about my struggles with relating to friends who are in different stages of life that I’ve not experienced. Specifically, I spoke about it in regards to babies. I’ve heard people say that being the relative to a baby is the best of both worlds because you can enjoy the good stuff that comes with kids, but then give the child back to his/her parents when you’re ready to get back to your life.
My older brother and his wife gave me this opportunity when they became new parents in October. Today I had the experience of going with them to a very crowded local festival and was given the honor of pushing around my niece’s stroller. Immediately I noticed a few things change in my awareness: 1. I felt that any ‘game’ I may have with the opposite sex went right out the window, 2. My focus went from myself and those around me to the experience that Nyla (my niece) was having, and 3. Pushing a big stroller around a people and dog-filled park is not an easy task (and furthermore, this particular neighborhood could really use some new sidewalks that are not disheveled and cause this baby’s experience to be like an off-roading 4-wheeler).
While this was only a tiny window into the world of my friends with babies, it was a good experience to get a glimpse of how these everyday experiences really are changed when there’s a baby in the equation. Whether it was where we sat so as not to be in the sun, when to leave because the baby was getting tired, or where the literal path of least resistance would be to move baby Nyla from one side of the festival to the other, it was all a helpful and unexpected baby step (pun unintended) into the world of my mother and father friends.
Thanks to my brother and his wife for even trusting me with the life of their child in this crowd, but I’m sure they were just pleased to have a couple hours with another set of hands! I’m glad to have had this impromptu experiment into parenthood, but am even more glad to be home alone, with cat and computer, and no baby.