I remember once a long time ago I was up for 18+ hours moving crap from one apartment unit to two doors down. My then-roommate and I had had our ceiling cave in from all the recent downpour. There were few moments during that day-and-a-half stretch where I stopped to think. I was always moving, moving, moving. Hauling, hauling, hauling. I recall little of what my then-roommate did but that doesn't mean that she did nothing. I remember making sure everyone was comfortable, making sure that everything was taken care of, everything was put back in place in the new unit as it was in the old one (they were cookie-cutter apartments; one looking exactly like the last).
I remember making sure that everyone had enough to eat.
I've always made sure that everyone is comfortable.
I also remember never wondering when it'd be over. I was just moving, moving, moving. My head would turn but it would be hours before I felt the impact of the wind on my face. Hours before feeling dizzy from the dance of Lifting Heavy Shit, transitioning to Where Did That Go Before?, finishing with a triple-dose of Whatever Happened To My ____?
After the ordeal was over I was carried up to my room. Told to rest. My new room looked exactly like the old one and was arranged as such. Bed in the corner, closet in the opposite wall. Nobody asked me if I was comfortable, if I needed anything, but I remember being content at the very most.
After the ordeal was over I remember cooking breakfast for two. I don't remember if it was scrambled eggs or cereal. I just remember saying that I was tired, and hearing a response that – for better or worse – still echoes in my brain:
“You're going to be a helluva mother someday.”
That was almost six years ago. Every now and again I think back to that quote with pride. I think back to those words that came from kindness and I feel foolish for being offended. At the time I didn't understand how someone could view me solely as a baby-making machine, producing little people and running (or waddling) around making sure everyone was fed and comfortable and taken care of. I had no maternal instinct at 21. You say you fell down? It ain't the end of the world. You want a candy bar instead of a lollipop? Fuck off.
Needless to say I feel different now, but only by about 80%. It's still in my instincts to react in the ways mentioned above, but I feel more of a need to protect. Keep safe from physical and emotional dangers. Project my prospects and hopes and dreams in the young 'uns for whom I see so much potential, not to mention that I see them everyday. I can't exactly tell them that if they don't do x-y-z they'll end up like me because I think I'm a damn good role model. I'd like to think that, in the event of procreating mini C-Maths, that they'd be just as creative and thoughtful and passionate as I'd ever hoped myself to turn out with every shred of my being. All the while being well-looked after, advocated for, and comfortable.
. . . Or maybe I'm just losing my edge.