I had a new experience recently. For the first time in my life I found myself in a situation where I actually give a shit about a baby.
Okay, so I realize that sounds bad, but I don't mean it like I'd watch a baby wander into traffic and not get up to help because I was just really into the sandwich I was eating at the time. I'm not a monster. It's just that i'm not interested in babies outside of ones that are actually related to me, unless they are actively doing something amazing like break-dancing, or they are involved in some sort of adorable hijinks involving the family dog.
Even though a lot of people won't admit it, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that feeling either. It seems to be an unspoken rule that new parenthood is just one of those things that we all tolerate people oversharing about on Facebook. When presented with people's babies, either digitally or in real life we l make the appropriate noises, click 'like' or whatever and then get on with our day continuing to give exactly the same amount of a crap about that person's baby as we did before. Which is 0.
I'm at that age where a lot of my friends are getting married and some of them are starting to have children, so my social media is particularly ripe with pregnant people, pictures of babies and other such nonsense. Now, I don't begrudge people for sharing their baby pictures and living under the delusion that anyone cares that Jr. looked particularly cute sleeping today versus when he was sleeping yesterday; I'm going to be a goddamn nightmare when I have kids. I mean, I've got an entire website to fawn over my future children with, so arguably my offspring will be a worse offender of spamming people's newsfeeds than the babies we're all pointedly not caring about now.
Despite my general disinterest in other people's babies, when one of my oldest friends and her husband had their first baby just a few days ago, I discovered that I actually care about his existence. Not in the fake way that most of us usually pretend to be interested in babies but legitimately. Like, I want to meet him and I want to get him a tiny baby present and whatever other stuff you do with a baby. Hold him up like Simba maybe.
When she first told me she and her husband were going to have a baby the conversation went like this:
Her: *texts photo of ultrasound* "Hello Uncle Matt"
Me: First of all, Congratulations. Second of all. I will pay you one million dollars to name that baby Volcano-Halfpipe.
Her: Well what if it's a girl?
Me: Last time I checked Volcano Halfpipe is a unisex name. You will have the most epic of babies.
Her: OMG, that is the best baby name I've ever heard and I will for sure name my baby Volcano Halfpipe*
*response paraphrased, but that's totally what she said. For real.
As you can see, we have a special kind of relationship where she can text me with enormous life changing news for her new family and I can immediately insist she name the baby something preposterous. And by preposterous I mean f*#%ing awesome.
The appropriate incubation period later, she sent me the following:
It's good to see she has at least embraced Volcano Halfpipe as the baby's name, or at the very least accepts the fact that I will call him this for the entire rest of his life regardless of her opinion on the matter.
In my mind that baby is the most metal baby on the planet. I want that baby to do a kickflip off a ramp while jumping over a bunch of other babies and shooting a lazer gun as an explosion goes off in the background.
It's a really weird to think that someone I've known since we were basically kids now has an entire person that they made and are going to teach to be a human. It's even weirder that opposed to the general apathy I have towards other people having babies, I'm 100% thrilled for her and her husband, and am really excited about him.
I don't know what it is that has stirred this change for me. I kind of feel like the Grinch when his heart grows three sizes and smashes that x-ray machine. At first I thought maybe it was just a by-product of the fact that I'm maturing and my values are becoming more adult and complex. I considered that I may be at the point in my life where I am starting to become a mature person with a grown up outlook on life.
Then I remembered that I spent two and a half hours yesterday drawing a cartoon of an anthropomorphic head of lettuce gingerly dipping it's butt-cheeks into a bowl of water, so clearly I've not undergone any personal growth since the fourth grade.
However, I do think part of the reason is that as I get to the point where having kids starts to appear on the horizon in my own life, it's resonating with me in a way it never has before. Sure with Emily going to vet school it's still at least several years off, but the concept is a lot more real than it ever has been. Its a lot less foreign of a concept than it has ever been before.
Ultimately though, I think I'm just getting sentimental over the fact that it seems like I was just getting dropped off at an amusement park by my parents to hang out with my friend and her new boyfriend who she wanted me to meet for the first time and now they are married and created an entirely new human being. I love them both dearly, and although the extent of my interaction so far with their new son has been a picture sent to me via text I already love him too.
Welcome to the world young Volcano Halfpipe. May you shred harder than any other baby and may you grow up to be an unmitigated badass in all things.