A brief note on the state of things around me now: I have 9 friends who are either pregnant (and due soon) or have given birth in the last year. I am possibly claiming a pair of twin boys amongst them as my own. I mean I'm happy for everyone, but the twins (and their parents) make me do the happy dance just about every time I think of them. Under the guise of 'niceness' and 'being a friend', I have been slowly bribing the parents with food and baked goods for access to cute, cuddly babies when they arrive. My plan is going quite well so far. I don't even mind occasionally sharing said babies with other friends and aunties.
Speaking of babies, everyone in my family is asking about them. My grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousins...the parents have been asking for years and I ignore them as best I can. Which brings me to an odd(er) exchange I had with my mother over the last few days.
We were talking about my new sister-in-law who had gone to apply for papers/visas to come to the US to visit their family. They're a very extensive, close-knit family. Apparently, their typical Friday lunches involve a good 80-100 family members. I find this impressive, if for no other reason than the fact that that many people can get along well enough to not want to gossip, back stab and out-rumor each other. I'm also amazed that we have married into such a family. I'm not saying we're the gossiping and rumor mongering type (we kind of are), I'm just saying I find it interesting that my almost hermit family has been joined by the bonds of marriage to such a people.
Back to my conversation with my mom: her advice to the in-laws was to skip the trip and the paperwork, just stay home and avoid the hassle. After all, it would be so expensive and even if everything worked out and they got their papers and came to the US, it would be so depressing. They'd be stuck in their relative's houses during a time of economic hardship, surrounded by bad news and reminded of how bad things are every time they went out and saw all the closed shops and businesses. My mother is nothing if not an optimistic ray of sunshine. "But, what can be done? They're the kind of people who just can't get enough socializing. I mean they LOVE spending time together. It makes them so happy..."
Which got me thinking, what makes my mother happy? She has had a very difficult life and endured great sorrow, but there should be something that brings her joy. So the next day, I emailed her and asked, "I don't think I've ever asked or known, what makes you happy."
She replied, in all caps, "BABYSITTING!!! I LOVE BABYSITTING!!!"
Nice try. So I responded as the optimistic and observant daughter that I am, "That's GREAT! Older Brother will be so glad to know that once he has kids, he can bring them to you. You'll be happy, they'll be in good hands and he can go about doing the things he does..."
To say that she freaked out a bit is an understatement. "I MEANT YOUR BABIES!!! I DON'T WANT TO TAKE CARE OF HIS BABIES! STOP PRETENDING YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. WHERE ARE MY GRANDBABIES?!"
And what is there to say to this kind of mania, really? "You should really be careful what you wish for mom. Of course, it's too late now, but for future reference you should think longer before you scream to the world that you want to 'babysit!!!'"
I'm such a good daughter.