Language is a funny thing.
I think it’s funniest when it’s not intended to be funny.
I don’t think puns are funny, really. Clever isn’t really very funny.
But language is funny.
If I said something like, “Whose baby this gonna be?” I’d know the answer immediately.
I could say, “Why, this baby gonna be our baby…that’s whose baby this baby gonna be. This baby gonna be our baby for a long, long time.”
If I said, “Who’s this baby gonna be?”….well, that would be a much harder question to answer.
Actually, that would be an impossible question to answer.
You can’t predict the future. You can nudge, you can aim, you think you can direct…you can keep safe and warm, fed…supply them with the things they need to the best of your ability…but you can’t really predict how things are going to turn out.
If I was one of those “pusher dads”, I might say “this baby is going to be one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen! Without question, that is this baby’s path from here on out.”
You might question that…might mention that “um, this baby is a little girl…a ‘little’ girl…maybe you should rethin…..”
“DON’T QUESTION MY JUDGEMENT!!!! THIS BABY IS A WINNER!!! IF I SAY SHE WILL BE A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE BY THE TIME SHE ENTERS PUBERTY, WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION MEEEEEEEE!!!!”
That would be pretty crazy. That would be full-on nuts.
Now earlier I mentioned that a baby is kind of a blank slate…ready for us to “write on” and influence, ready for us to mold into what we think the child should be.
This morning, I’m thinking that’s not really true.
Even though her language skills are kind of insufficient at this point in the game, this little Sparrow is her own person.
She’s no blank slate.
She fills up the space like any baby can…but she fills it up with “Sparrowness” like no other Sparrow on earth.
She’s her own little person.
I guess that a parents job is to shepherd as much as possible…to keep that child away from danger, to encourage, to support and allow to grow.
The “allowing” part isn’t really accurate…they’re going to grow whether we “allow” it or not…but maybe what I mean is that we need to figure out how to take a step back and let them make it on their own.
Let go of the bicycle seat so we can hand them the car keys.
It would be easier to be a “Svengali Shepherd”…a junior OZ, almighty and powerful, hiding behind the curtain and pulling all the strings.
( Maybe that’s what all parents really are now that I re-read that sentence…maybe we really do try and control what we can? We’re just nervous…no harm intended, usually…right?)
I could handle being almighty and powerful…but that’s not the way I roll.
I guess that when someone asks, if they ever did, “Who’s this baby gonna be..” the answer would have to be that this baby already is.
This baby already “is”.
There will be changes galore…the metaphorical GPS will have a chance to yell out, “RECALCULATING!! RECALCULATING!!!” many times over the course of Sparrow’s life…but the becoming part happened somewhere a long time before we had a chance to meet her for the first time in the delivery room.
It’s not my job to answer the question, “Who’s this baby gonna be?”
Maybe somewhere up in Heaven, my parents are looking down at me…and asking the question, 53 years into my life….”WHO’S THIS BABY GONNA BE?!!!”
Well….well….um…you know…really….I “IS”, TOO.