I admit it: there’s not a maternal bone in my body.
It’s a fact I made peace with a long time ago, after years of hiding it and wondering at the missing link in my genetic makeup.
And it’s a good thing, too. Because the way my life turned out, having kids wasn’t in the cards.
In fact, until recently I never found babies the least bit appealing. It’s a sentiment they retaliated against by always screaming from the nearest plane or restaurant seat — or from my arms the minute I picked them up.
I was uneasy with their squirming limbs and urgent needs, unmoved by their unfocused gazes and gummy grins in all that patchy red skin.
“Wow; what soft hair!” or “Look at those tiny fingernails!” was the best I could do at feigning delight when coos of “Ohhh” and “Awww” signaled the arrival of a baby in our midst. “He (or she) is really beautiful for a baby,” I’d say, if I got carried away.
I never much liked young children, either (note to TV commercial casting agents), though I made occasional exceptions and recognized their importance to the species’ survival.
And no, I don’t think I’d feel different if they were mine, I’d tell friends. Give me a puppy or a kitten any day.
Why my nurturing instinct should only kick in with four-legged creatures is a mystery to me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up without young siblings, neighbors or family friends or because I never once babysat.
Or maybe there are people like me who are just meant to be dog moms.
For as long as I can remember, I melted at the sight of animals and found their antics cute rather than cloying.