Not long ago, my stepdaughter called us and left a few concerning messages via voicemail and text. I knew, immediately, what was up.

Suddenly, many of the bloggers I follow are pregnant, too (ok, maybe not so “suddenly” in the cases of some – if not pregnant, then newly delivered). Suddenly, I’m thinking about small children again – I’m used to thinking about young people in terms of my students (who are definitely NOT children, although they might act like it sometimes). My sister works with young kids, so her focus is a bit different, as does my stepdaughter. Shifting gears feels a little strange and I’m not used to suddenly thinking about babies, youngsters, those drooly little critters that I shout at to get off my lawn. I’m excited for Crystal, and for anyone else who is (happily) pregnant, and I have to say, I’m impressed at the optimism about the world that that shows.

I, on the other hand, am not optimistic about the world. I can’t say that if I were 25 again, faced with the prospect of raising a child now, I would be willing to take it on. We live in a world right now (and for the coming future, it would seem) where it’s really, really hard to justify bringing another person along for the ride in this particular hell bound handcart. Just the idea of sending a child off to school now is enough to frighten me to silence.

Maybe fortunately for the human race, I’m past all that childbearing nonsense. But I’m happy that Crystal is pregnant, since she’s happy about it, and I am looking forward to being a grandma. I want to be called “Granny,” I think – if it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth, it’s just fine for me. I’m thinking about what I can do to be a positive part of this particular baby’s life, and one of the things I’m doing is writing it (we don’t know the sex yet) via an email I’ve set up for this purpose. I plan to send emails to the baby throughout his/her life, with text message pictures like the one above, or photos, or whatever. I hope to do this throughout her/his life, and then when 18 rolls around, give her/him the email account address and sign in information. Google, you’d best keep Gmail around for a while.

This has caused me to think about the different ways we can consider audience – I’ve had to think about this almostperson in a number of ways: she’s/he’s a new person, who hasn’t finished cooking yet; she’s/he’s a grown adult at the time she reads the emails…I’m making a lot of assumptions about my audience, too – will Crystal want to read the emails? They will be about her, to a certain extent, as I want to write about time I spent with her when she was young. How much attention should I pay to her as a possible audience? But the assumptions I’m making about my audience are focused largely on the real audience: the baby. What kind of relationship will we have when I turn over access to the email account? What will they be interested in? Will they care about all these little bits and pieces I’m putting together for them?

Maybe I’m more optimistic than I thought.

*The title of this post comes from a suggestion from a student as to what the new baby should call me.