In two days I’m heading down to New Jersey for Johnson & Johnson’s Camp Baby.
Kind of wishing J&J had decided to plop down their headquarters somewhere with weather more akin to, oh I don’t know, Bermuda… but I suppose New Brunswick, NJ will do.
I’m most excited about meeting some of the Mommy bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know through the written word over the past year or so.
(Oh yes, dinnah at the swanky restaurant, The Frog and the Peach, and having a wine social with Ted Allen from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Top Chef” will be pretty cool, too.)
Now, I’m not going to even get into the whole PR/marketing fiasco that has erupted around Camp Baby here in the blogosphere. (Although, if one would like to read up on it, a simple Google search of – “camp baby” j&j – will do the trick.)
My whole cause for concern is this: I’m going to Camp Baby with a bunch of Mommy bloggers. And yet… I’m not a Mom.
So, this is what went down. When “we” at Pinks & Blues were invited to Camp Baby, we really were under the impression that “we” would all be going – Mom (a mom to 4, grandmother to 7, soon-to-be 9), Audrey (a mom to 3, soon-to-be 4) and me (my doggies are my babies, but I know that most people don’t consider them “kids”… for the record, though, I do.)
In fact, the original email we received regarding Camp Baby was addressed to the “Pinks & Blues Ladies” at our general P&B email address. But by the time we realized that each of us would need to be sent a separate email invite in order to register, and the invites were sent to Mom and Audrey, the event was full (we also didn’t realize that there was such a limited number of spaces).
And so it’s up to me, the married-but-childless one to represent Pinks & Blues at Camp Baby.
But before you brand me with a “C” for “Childless” a la Hester Prynne, I will tell you that I am about as close to being a Mom as someone who is not a Mom can get (follow that?).
Recently, my girl Melanie at SavvyAuntie introduced me to a word that sums me up perfectly.
I am a PANK.
Got that? I’m a Professional Auntie – No Kids.
I spend a lot of time with my 9 (soon-to-be 11) nieces and nephews. I am very, very close to them. And since I work with Audrey at Pinks & Blues (office space is currently Mom’s house), I am even lucky enough to see her three boys – my nephews – every day.
That means that every day I get to hug and kiss and tickle and chase my little nephews. I sit on the couch and read with them. I build towers and bridges out of blocks with them. I build wooden tracks and play trains with them. I make snacks for them. I hold them after their naps. I kiss their boo boos. I teach them how to be gentle with my doggies. I change their diapers. I color with them.
They know my “look” – the one that all parents have – the one that says, “Oh no you didn’t” or, better yet, “Oh no you don’t.”
As a PANK, you know what it’s like to find yourself in CVS with baby vomit down your sleeve, only to realize it’s there when you’re in line with 10 people behind you.
And let me tell you, as a PANK, you totally feel a sense of protection for your little ones. You don’t want them to ever know any sadness, hurt or pain.
When your sister points out the bully in your nephew’s preschool class, you suddenly find yourself giving some random 4-year-old the evil eye. (Or so I’ve heard. Oh no, I’ve never done anything like this. Never…)
As a PANK, you understand what your parents meant when they said, “No matter what, nothing can ever take away the amount of love I have for you.”
My nieces and nephews can be upset at me for telling them, “No.” They can glare at me, turn their backs to me, tell me they’re mad at me. Nothing will ever change the love I have in my heart for them.
As for when I’ll have two-legged kiddos of my own, I’m really not sure (Mom just loves that answer, by the way). Steve and I are still fairly newly married (just over 3 years) and between my doggies, my role as a PANK and building my business, I feel like my plate is already pretty full.
Of course, there’s always room for a little more, and when the time is right, I think we’ll know.
So although at Camp Baby I won’t be able to contribute to the conversations about up-in-the-night feedings, child-induced lack of sleep, or when to wean a breastfeeding baby, I know I will be able to hold my own when it comes to gushing about “our” little ones.
Between being a PANK and a doggy mama, there’s always something for me to gush about.
I just hope I don’t stick out too much with my Scarlet Letter.