In England they call it being “broody,” the clock ticking feeling that the one thing in the world you want to hold is your own baby. It strikes women in their twenties and thirties and if not dealt with can bring on a sense of panic. But I am in my fifties, my children have left home and yet I have been having that familiar tug, that feeling like I want to pick up the babies of perfect strangers and have a little cuddle. When I see a young mother struggling with a whiny toddler and a crying baby, I want to walk over pick the baby up, put her over my shoulder and with that rocking motion we mothers know so well, calm her to sleep. At first I thought that this was some sort of game that mother nature was playing with my head, making me broody when my childbearing days are over, but then I thought again. Mother nature is not playing with me, it is I who played with mother nature and if I remember my margarine ads correctly, this doesn’t end well. I had my kids in my thirties, long after she intended me to bear offspring. On my clock I have kids in college and could be a decade away from meeting my grandchildren. On her clock, I should have already purchased the layette, hosted the shower, offered to take the baby for the weekend and just maybe visited on Grandparents Day at nursery school. You see I fooled with the timeline the universe had set out for me, yet someplace deep in my soul, deep in a very basic part of my brain the message didn’t get through.
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