I think I may have been 4 or 5 years old. I have this vivid memory of stuffing this tiny pillow into my snap-together-at-the-waist footy pajamas, so that I looked pregnant. I ran and declared to my mom....I'M HAVING A BABY!!!!! ....much to her shock and surprise. I'm sure she probably laughed hysterically on the inside, as all of us mom's would have done, but I also feel sure that she was perplexed as to why I wanted to "play" pregnant. Keep in mind, this was only the FIRST time I did this. I played pregnant more than I care to count. And of course, once each baby was born (although there is no memory of the birthing process), I cared for them endlessly with all the baby doll clothes and accessories a little girl could imagine. I absolutely loved the baby bottles where the "milk" would disappear as you fed the baby. I wanted things to be as real as possible.
As I got a little older, I wasn't so much focused on the pregnant part anymore, but all that energy went into newborns and babies. Every time someone from church brought their new baby, there was no way my mom was going to stop me from inching my way over and doing everything in my power to communicate telepathically to the new mom that I was dying to hold her little treasure. Sometimes they would, with me sitting close by their side of course and that would put me in heaven. The smell of that tiny head, the soft, velvety skin that had the tiniest of lanugo left on it was like baby perfume. I couldn't get enough.
That led me to befriending one of the sweetest, kindest African American woman you could ever meet at the daycare that I spent in after school and summer care. She was not a tiny woman and that meant that her bosom where she used to hug me tight, was the place where all her love overflowed, and I loved it. Her name was Gwen, and I will never forget her. I will also never forget how she honed in on my love of babies and would sneak me into the baby room where she was the caretaker, and allowed me to rock babies, one by one until they fell asleep. I was probably 10 years old. Keep in mind this was in the early 80's and daycare laws were pretty lax, as you can see. I would rock and she would sing....and I can still hear her voice all these years later as clear as if I were rocking right beside her.....
Come morning I'll walk by the river.
I'll rest 'neath the ever green tree.
I'll carry my cross through the midnight.
Come morning there's glory for me.