Not every woman loves babies, but I do. I always have. Whenever my mom was pregnant, I (and my siblings) would get so excited. It happened a lot (six times!) and although I remember feeling disappointed that every subsequent sibling turned out to be a boy, that disappointment was short-lived and paled in comparison to the love I felt for my new brother.

For as long as I can remember, caring for kids has been part of my life. Of course, I’ve had some very happy times when I wasn’t taking care of kids, but the happiest times – the times when I have literally woken myself up from being half-asleep, laughing about something funny and wonderful that happened that day – have always been when I’m with kids.

Besides being a major caregiver in my own home growing up, I started babysitting at age 12. I always developed a deep, real, and lasting love for the kids I took care of for any real length of time. There are kids out there I took care of for years, who don’t even remember me, yet I still look at the pictures their parents post as they get older and I feel the love. I babysat all through my teenage years, spent 18-22 trying to love on and hold my own siblings together as the family was ripped apart again and again in custody battles, and then I went on to nanny for years after I graduated college. Then I taught high school and loved the hell out of those kids. Then I nannied again. I loved being a nanny. I loved teaching. I think kids are interesting, curious, and fucking funny. They drive me nuts too, but I can’t live without them.

With all of these kids, no matter how much I loved them, I had to give them back. They weren’t mine. I’ve felt a lot of heartache over the years making peace with that at different times. And while I know I will watch my own kids grow up and eventually find me weird and gross, and I’ll have to watch them join the IDF and go adventure off to do their own things, I – a writer, a lover of words, a person who is paid to find ways to say things – don’t have a way to say exactly how happy I am to finally have the chance to love a couple of little people that I never have to give back to someone else. It brings me so much joy that I’ve been laying in bed crying the whole time I’ve been writing this. I can’t breathe. I’ve got a tissue stuck up my nose. Even if I die, even if they die, even Hunter Biden sells the nuclear codes for $20 bucks for crack and we all end up in that playground scene from the Terminator II tomorrow, these kids will be mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, MINE.

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