As I’ve done so many times before, this morning on my way to work, I allowed myself the vulnerability to sink into the experience that is a New York City commute. It never disappoints or fails to educate. Today, it was the latter.
Okay; I consider myself highly liberated and Lord (and everyone) knows, quite unorthodox (speaking of orthodox, I wish all my Jewish friends and readers a very happy Rosh Hashanah). But as sometimes happens, I digress. Okay; my commute. I am always drawn and many times, fixated on babies and toddlers when I see them first thing in the morning. They captivate me in ways that not even the boys can J . There is something about their bright-eyed wonder that so fascinates me, that I pretend I ‘see’ what they see; I try to baby-proof my eye-sight in an attempt to refocus my in-sight. When I imagine I have been successful, it is pure magic!
So this morning, while I allowed myself to be seduced by yet another two-toothed grin, I also was drawn to the mothers; and more pointedly, their ring-less fingers. Then, I started looking around at the number of women/girls pushing strollers, carrying babies…alone. Don’t get me wrong, to assume that because they were alone this morning means they are partner-less would be ignorant (and, I admit to many flaws; but never that). But, I will boldly state this: there are very very very few women who are either engaged or married, that opt to not sport their ring(s)! So, I think we can safely have a discussion about the number of said women who make the “forever” decision in having a child; while being in what may very possibly be a temporary situation.
Again, proving that I consider myself exempt from certain ignorance, I know that ‘life (as well as shit) happens’. I am fully aware that there are those times when we consider ourselves on the course toward one reality and ‘life’ gets in our way and effectively shows us who’s the boss! I get it. But again, I am going to allow myself a certain leeway – I know that most of these young girls I see with these babies, have given little to no thought about the stability or more appropriately, the instability of not only their lives, but now, the life of those little ones! For most of them, the word “marriage” has probably never even been thought of; much less uttered!
And, here is why I am outraged; okay, more disappointed and frustrated: I am in no way saying that marriage inoculates us from what can be the eventual reality of single-parenthood; but what I am saying, is that too many of us are selling our children short by signing them up (from minute-one) on ‘leased parenting’, as opposed to ‘ownership’. Damn! At the very least, do a ‘rent-to-own’! And, if the response tries to make the argument that you are better off on your own and that your offspring is better off without him/her in its life, then, explain to me why the fuck he/she was the person you not only had sex with – but, and here’s the kicker, without a damn condom! To me the equation is a very simple one: if you are not good enough to be the father of my child, there is NO WAY you are good enough to touch me! Much less “raw”! Now, I’m back to outraged! Sigh.
People, young ladies and men – the fact that you can does not necessarily translate to “you should”. Stop allowing life to happen to you; get involved and happen to life! Make decisions. Make plans. Make love; sure. But for God’s sake, if you’re not with someone who is good enough to ‘keep’…stop making babies! This universe is already too cluttered and it is unfair to saddle Brad and Angelina with too many more of our unwanted! Value yourselves. Value your life enough to wait until you’re ready; then when you are, check in with him/her – ask if they’re ready. If the answer’s yes, the minister’s also ready.
My black young, please, change your titles from “Baby Mama/Daddy” to “Mr/Mrs”. Even with all my un-conventionalism, I admit there is something beautiful and infinitely respectful when all of you share the same last name.
“Who’s your Daddy?” is a phrase that should only be asked in the privacy of your bedroom; never to your child in the street.