Little did I know that broody meant something other than David Boreanaz circa 1999. I lived 25 years thinking that broody was an emotion linked to reservation, consternation, and misplaced sexual tension. Lord (and my mother) knows I was broody as a teenager, and boy could I tell you some stories. My inner 14-year-old is currently flipping her stylish yet bi-curious bob cut and saying, "God, Kathryn, why do you always bring me up like this? My life is so unfair; no one knows what I am going through. Just leave me alone."
Recently, (okay a year and a half ago) I learned that broody also means wanting to have a baby. And, maybe it is the anticipation of my niece's arrival. Or, maybe it is because so many of my social media acquaintances (and best friends) have babies. Or, maybe it is because I know that there are very few things I am naturally good at, but being a mother will be one of them. But, oh my gosh, it feels like everywhere I look a tot is holding his dad's pinky finger, a baby is asleep in her mama's arms, or a three year old is inexplicably covered in both peanut butter and pizza sauce.
And, I want it. I want it all. I know that there is more to child-rearing than adorable instagram photos and facebook updates; I am not an idiot. I know that those midnight, three a.m., and six a.m. wake-ups are going to be difficult and annoying at the time. But, I also know that it will be worth it at some point down the line.
Yesterday, my student Anna came up to be before class and said, "Teacher. I'm stuck. Help?" Her coat zipper did that thing where it unzipped from the bottom up leaving the toggle at the top and about a thousand jagged teeth below it. You know what I'm talking about. Sometimes it is just an easy zip down, but sometimes you feel like it is a shark's mouth with infinite rows of teeth. It was the latter. At what point do you give up and allow yourself to be swallowed? I mean Jonah hung out in a whale's belly for a spell; I am sure a shark's belly would be more accommodating. There might even be some sushi laying about. Okay, off track. Anyway, so together Anna and I worked through her zipper centimeter by centimeter. Finally, we were at the very end. At this point I had gone from bending, to squatting, to kneeling, to finally sitting . There was about five centimeters (about 2 inches) left. I took a deep breath and gently pulled the zipper through. As it came free, Anna threw her coat off and jumped into my arms. She said, "Wow! Thank you, Kathryn Teacher. That sure was tricky!"
And, as I type this now it doesn't seem so fantastic, but I cannot explain to you the lightness I felt after helping this child do something so simple. I held her--goofy smiling--when she does not even belong to me or anyone I love. It was just a brief moment, about which I am sure she's already forgotten, but it filled me with such happiness.
But, isn't that a part of parenting? You remember a thousand little moments as your children breeze through. They realise too late that even the mundane can be extraordinary.
I think the thing that really got me broody was playing music with my students. I have learned exactly two songs on the ukulele thus far, one of which is "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I played the introduction and then taught the chorus to my students. The lyrics are:
Home. Let me come home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
We talked about what the lyrics meant. They came up with the idea (with no help from me!) that we find home in the people and places we love. This made me so happy because it is exactly what I have been telling my family and friends for the past three years as I've ventured on this self-journey. I have people homes living in Vietnam, Canada, Korea, Florida, Texas, D.C., Boston (soon), Madison, Neenah, Antigo, Waukesha, and so many more. I have place homes in the rocky crags of Busan, white sand beaches and stone cliffs of Thailand, and gentle streams of Scuppernong Springs.
During break time, the students wanted to play my ukulele. So, I sat on a desk and the students sat in front of me. They strummed as I made the chords. In the middle of the chorus, one girl looked at me and said, "Teacher, here is home." I replied, "Yes, school is a great home." She stopped me, "No, Kathryn. Here. Now. This. You." I had to take a very long and deep breath before I said anything. I was shocked and surprised and not quite sure how to proceed. But, she just nodded and continued strumming and I made the chords.
It is in these kind of not-so-special special moments that broodiness niggles my brain. These simple exchanges between two humans who feel safe with each other make me want to share them with someone that I created or helped create. There may never be a perfect time or a perfect partner with whom I can share a little person. But, neither of those really matter because whenever this child comes into my life, I am going to love him or her with...with...with something I can't describe. I can't define it because it will be a love so pure that I couldn't possibly know it yet.