I've spent the last couple of months making baby clothes. Not for my own benefit, or Doug's (for the most part; he did get a pair of shorts), but for gifts for the babies of two different people, both of whom coincidentally are having girls. I'm not particularly close to either recipient, oddly, but it's just been so long since I've been able to make girl stuff that I jumped at the chances.
Wednesday I will send out two baby presents. Both to women I dearly love but am not close to. One of the mothers has been kind of an ass to me lately, and I debated long and hard over whether I should make anything for her baby at all, but it when it came down to brass tacks, I decided to go ahead with it, because the decision says more about me than it does about her.
And what it says is this: I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that you are being born into an unstable situation because your mother thrives on drama like it is mother's milk and can't see how detrimental that will be to your childhood.
I'm sorry that your mother is an adult who is still more concerned with having fun and partying than staying in and taking care of her kids for even a little bit, and so you will be shuttled from one relative to the next probably from the time you come home from the hospital.
I'm sorry that you're being born into a family that thinks money is the only definition of success and that children will be just fine to be raised with material goods rather than love from and time with their parents.
I'm sorry you will be raised by someone who thinks that discipline is bad parenting and therefore will never guide you in how you should act, which will leave you woefully unprepared for adulthood.
I'm sorry that you're going to be the repository of all your mother's failed hopes and dreams. Been there, done that. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
I'm sorry that you're going to be raised by a mother who is obsessed with beauty and somehow fitting into a narrow notion of it she could never achieve, and so does not recognize her own innate beauty, and will probably never recognize yours, unless you're lucky enough to be stick thin and blonde.
I'm sorry that you're being born into a family whose racial attitudes are reminiscent of the Deep South of the 1950s rather than 2013, and so when you grow up you will be completely unprepared for life in the mid 21st century, and will find yourself unfit for life in any metropolitan area, where you will be rejected for valuing your own skin color over other hues.
I'm sorry that you're being born into a family who believe your genitalia should determine not just what you wear and what you like to do, but how you should think and what you should be when you grow up, which is subservient to and dependent upon men.
I'm sorry that if you grow up somehow unscathed, or minimally scathed, by these backwards and dangerous attitudes, and have the gall to make your own way in the world and define success and happiness on your own terms, you will be rejected by the people whose approval you ache for. I've seen it happen to other people, and it's nasty, but I'll be there for you if it does.
I'm sorry that I won't be able to mitigate any of this. I would like to be a calm place for you to hide when you are a child. I would like to be an example of another way of living, much as I make a poor example in some ways. I would like to be one of those people giving your mother one of her endless breaks, so you can get that baby time of being held and hearing a heartbeat. But I can't parent all the kids in the world, and I've never been close enough to your mother (nevermind that I love her deeply) to begin to place myself in that space, and I am sorriest of all for that. The good news is, I'm not infallible, and babies change people. Maybe you'll get lucky and I'll be wrong about all of the above. Your mom does have a good heart, after all. I wouldn't send off anything handmade otherwise.