“Yuh need yuh own pickney fi pull pon yuh frocktail.”

-The Great Prophet Auntie Jackie

 

There was a time when I didn’t want to be a mother. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree and trying to make sense of my life, I looked around and people I went to high school with started to have kids. In my mind, they were ruining their young, carefree lives by saddling themselves down with tiny humans who needed them for everything, and maybe were only a part of their lives because other people plant this seed in everyone’s mind, especially women’s minds-that having children is just something you do. No questions asked. I was fighting against that idea.

 

“Why should I have kids? They’re too expensive. What if my man doesn’t help me? I just want to have fun, and do my own thing!”

That was me every time my family asked about it, especially my Auntie Jackie. I would go to her house some weekends, and the fellowship needle somehow always landed on children. When I would rebuke the idea of having my own children, satisfied just watching my nieces and nephews or my friend’s kids, she would say, “Yuh need yuh own pickney fi pull pon yuh frocktail,” or “You need your own child to pull on the hem of your dress.” I staunchly disagreed with her, and would just laugh it off. I was fiercely determined to be the well-dressed, always tipsy aunt.

 

Auntie Jackie’s proclamation came to life tonight when a very sleepy Levi followed me all around the house pulling on my dress. I washed the dishes with his fists full of my dress. I put away his high-chair with him on the end of my dress. He only let go to close the hall closet door with me inside. I scanned Tidal for some jazz tunes while he had one arm wrapped around my right leg-the fingers of his left hand were full of the cheap, yet lovely dress I bought at Marshall’s. By the time I had a moment to take a shower, I was wondering how the dress hadn’t burst into flames, or started crying, or just disappeared from exhaustion.

As taxing as it can be for a small person to hang onto you for the better part of an evening, there is something edifying in knowing that someone in the world exists who purely wants to be with you, to have your attention, and to give you theirs.

 

I will take it.