On single motherhood — why?
If any of you are wondering why I wrote that I was sad that my baby would not have a daddy:
The baby has a father, yes. To call him “daddy”, however, would be a sad misnomer. I have been fooling myself that I am okay about this, but today I am very, very sad for this soul in my womb. My parents are both dead, and my child will never know the joy of saying Dada or having a magical Grandma.
Why? Was I abandoned? Well, yes and no. As a proud and newly humbled young woman I will be honest. Here is a brief transcript. I kicked the baby’s father out one night after one teaspoonful too much of disrespect and being taken for granted. I told him after the fact, about a week later, that I was with child.
The phone rings one morning quite unexpectedly.
Jordan: “I was in your your neighborhood, Janice, and was wondering if you’d meet me at noon at Starbucks to talk about, um, er….your child (hello? MAJOR lack of acceptance for 50% of the responsibilty? BIO 101: Sperm meets egg. HIIIII!!!!! Let’s make a baby! NOT egg meets egg. Hi Jordan. Wake up and smell the fucking cat food!)”
Janice: “Sure! See you then.”
Smiling, the misguided moi puts on her prettiest pink dress and matching lipstick, sprays herself with Chanel, and heads out into the noonday sun with a happy heart.
We meet at Starbucks. He does not offer to pay for my coffee. This I never noticed nor cared about, this little quirk of his, but just like the niggling and giant fact that he did not call his own mother on Mother’s Day, it is seemingly insignificant yet all-telling. A veritable red flag that mine eyes were blinded to by the sheer idiocy of…love? I, the Queen of self-delusion, remain ever the optimist. We sit near the window, he with his and me with my venti decaf Sumatra w/soy, half ice.
Jordan: “So, you are really pregnant and you are sure it’s mine?”
Janice: (MAJORLY showing at only two months enough to warrant comments in clinic that it must be twins) “Well, honey, I was in a coma for the first half of the year and you are the only guy I have slept with in 2008…..”
Jordan looks me directly in the eyes — the straightforward blue-eyed gaze of the angels that won me over the first night we met as I was taking out the trash at 2 am — and calmly, without feeling, says,
“Well, if you do not kill it right away I will never speak to you again. I want nothing to do with you if you keep it. Too much baggage.”
I nearly choke on my iced venti decaf Sumatra soy half ice and stand up, resisting the urge to deck him in public (damn, those missed golden opportunities) or slap him concisely across his handsome stubbled boy/man face. Straightening out my pink sundress over the bulge of tummy and hiding my reddening cheeks behind my Mary Kate-sized sunglasses, I say my piece. One tear falls with a big plop onto the wooden stool, and my pride is shattered.
“I. Am. Very. Sorry… you feel that way, mon petit amande. In that case, I wish you the best. Have a nice life. I am not killing OUR baby. You will be hearing from me re: child support. Buh-bye!”
I nearly run out the door, blinded by the noonday sun, walkingfastwalkinganywherefastanywherebuthere away away away no one can see me cry no one can see me cry GODDAMN YOU MOTHERFUCKER I LOVED YOU I GAVE YOU EVERYTHING! I watch all the people, each independently revolving in their private bubble/universe, trudging in the thick summer air down Third Ave, heat rippling in urban mirage up from the concrete. I realize the world is still turning.
This moment is frozen in time as if a giant Polaroid — sepia shots only — was lowered from Heaven by the hand of a God with a sick sense of humor and screenplay. I know I will never regret my decision. I keep walkingwalkingwalking fasterfaster now, fighting hot tears and feeling itchy.
Run, rabbit, run. Into the 99 cent store i, bunny girl, run. Mindlessly, furiously, I bury myself in the sadly cheerful aisles of dusty crap that suddenly seem very necessary. Bizarre close-out fridge magnets, froggy pencil toppers with googly eyes, generic baby toys, Puerto Rican flag-adorned lighters, no-brand oven cleaner…the mundane soothes me and i buy a bottle of pink Baby Mistolin to clean the nursery.
I will be okay. I have a big heart that will be the death of me, and I harbor no hatred — for my sake, and that of my unborn child.
The baby is due on Valentine’s Day 2009, ironically. I am fighting not to cry with every tick of the clock and replacing grief with joy through my art, my friends, my faith in God, and my love. I will bake gingerbread men this holiday season with my sisters and girlfriends and we will be laughing and decorating the tree, the scent of Frasier fir and baking cookies reminding us that There. Is. More. To. Life. Than this.
Hannah Francesca Grace. Daniel James. William Maxwell…whatever your name shall come to be… I love you.
I have always, and will always love you. No one will ever harm you as long as Mommy lives.
And maybe, someday, Daddy will come home.
And if he does not, which seems the most likely end to this game of Life — with too few tiny plastic people in the little plastic car — you will only know the most beautiful things about him, and that he loved you.
So very, very much.
Even if it is a lie. It is.
When your stuffing is falling out and you are full of holes and scars, it is only then that you become Real. I am Real.
(a la the Velveteen Rabbit – my hero)