So, i think i’m encountering some extremely disturbing male relative of a “maternal instinct” lately. Tonight i spent Christmas Eve with my father’s side of the family, which is populated with five separate children aged 3-5 (by contrast, i was the only child of the family for over a decade before the next oldest cousin came along). While all of my cousins are usually fun to run and throw around, tonight i was a bit partial to my cousin Audrey. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that she’s the only blonde in our family, or because she’s the least baby-shaped of all the young kids, or because she has a personality (rather than the black & white shy/happy most children have), or anything else, but i find myself absolutely delighted whenever she decides that i’m worthy of her attention. After ignoring me for about three hours tonight, she decided that she absolutely needed to sit next to me and watch Winnie-the-Pooh for an hour, during the course of which i wasn’t allowed to get up or even move to the other side of the chair. Afterwards i was allowed to fetch myself some dessert if and only if i’d share it with her.
Now, obviously my rampant & irrational fear of herpes doesn’t come into play when sharing my fork with a four year old, but i still very rarely share anything with my cousins because i don’t want to get sick. I’m very healthy on my own, but generally my immune system falls like a house of cards in the wind whenever i introduce it to germs from some other person. Despite all of that, i sat on the couch with Audrey with the two of us alternately feeding ourselves and each other until my pile of dessert had disappeared. At some point my father captured the moment on 35mm film to be frozen forever, but i hardly noticed him doing it because i was more concerned with spooning up some strawberry sauce for Audrey.
My whole family thought that the whole affair was simply adorable (and very considerate of me), but really i didn’t have the urge to do anything else but sit there the whole time. Perhaps i was just sick of chasing everyone around the room and giving them piggy back rides, but i think it went beyond that. Audrey wanted to sit there with me, and only me, and she rested her head on my shoulder and idly toyed with the curly wisps of my hair, and it made me feel more special than any performance or audition or hits on my page ever will.