But can’t say that they wives
-Retrospect For Life, Common (pre-Kanye beats, pre-Erykah Badussy that had him in a trance, pre-crochet sweater vests…)
So I got a call a few weeks ago from an ex-boyfriend asking me to have his child. Yeah, you read that right. He wants me to have a baby with him. And please note that I said ex-boyfriend. His convincing reasons were as follows: we have a history together, we had a “good” relationship and he thinks I will be a great mother. I can’t argue with him on the last part. Oh vanity, thy name is Rum Punch. So he tells me that we should have a child, to which I thought:
Has it come to this? Did I miss a memo? Is this what’s hot in the streets? Let’s just go on ahead and make a baby? Ignore the fact that I have always envisioned myself as a wife first?Apparently it’s not just me, because a friend of mine told me that her boyfriend suggested that they forgo marriage vows and just have a baby. Her reply: “if you can commit to being a parent, then you can commit to being a husband.” Truer words, truer words…
What her boyfriend and my ex have in common is that they are knocking on 30's door (actually the ex turned 30 yesterday) and they are feeling old. But if memory serves me correctly, 30 is the new 20, so my ex has plenty of time to have kids. But maybe not in his mind, especially when he is surrounded by friends who have kids but not necessarily wives. Oh it’s hard out here for a Black man with no kids. He must feel like an outcast in his circle.
I told friends that the ex must be going through a mid life crisis. Their chorus of replies is that he’s only 30, so it can’t be…but when you take into account that the average Black man’s life expectancy is age 69, hmmm…he might be worrying about how many years he has left, about being the old dad on the playground, about leaving a legacy…And he might want to supplement his life with a child because that seems to be a lot easier and than having a wife and raising a family together.
So to see where is head is, I asked the ex, if he knows how much children cost. His response was, “no.” Well check this, and then holla at me when you’re contributing to a 401k plan and you have some money to put into a 529. Yeah, he told me that I was worrying about the wrong things. It seems like his approach (and other men out there) is: make baby, let chips fall where they may.
He seems cool with the making a baby part but detached from the raising and providing for a child part. He just wants a little mini-he, a child he can take around and show off, see when it’s convenient for him, instill lessons and values in him not necessarily on a daily basis through example but when he picks him up from baby mama’s house…he can have someone who looks like him and will carry on his name. Meanwhile I would be left with the heavy lifting of child rearing and its daily grind.
But y’all I have to admit, I almost fell into the ‘let’s just make a baby’ vortex. I read all these depressing statistics about the rise of unmarried Black women, I know my clock is starting to tick, I see cute babies being christened at my church and I get that twinge. But then I think: anyone can make a baby, that’s easy. What’s that you say, Rum Punch? I say making a baby is easy. Raising a child is hard but actually making a baby, oh that’s easy. I mean when you compare it to: meeting someone, getting to know that someone, trusting that person enough that you allow yourself to fall in love, standing before God & loved ones to commit your life with someone and then actually making a life with that person for better or for worse, through sickness and in health, well, you know the rest.
And here’s what’s not in the vows: mortgage payments, sick children, college tuition, the difficulty of aging, being faithful, making the decision to come home everyday and being accountable to someone else. That is hard. And it’s scary. But that's what I want. But unfortunately, as a generation that has had so much handed to us, a lot of us don’t want to work that hard. So now I am left with the request that I become someone’s baby mama because he trusts me enough to have his child but not enough to be his wife. And this is not ok. Well, not for me. Silly me for wanting to build a life with someone.
Mint Julep and I were lamenting that we wished someone had hipped us to the game. I wish a Black fairy godmother had appeared à la Miss One from The Wiz mixed with a little bippity boppty boo and said to me, “honey chile, you may wanna get out that 1950s time warp you living in and open your eyes. That fairytale life you wanted might not happen.” But as women, we keep holding on and pushing the dream. And I'm not ready to let go yet! My little cousin at four years old, said, “I’m a princess, and I’m going to marry a prince someday.” Yeah it was cute at the time and since I didn’t wanna bust her bubble at the tender age of four, all I could say was, “I heard that girl. When you find him, find out if he has an uncle for me. A Duke perhaps…”
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!
Author’s Note: On a lighter and somewhat related note (I did mention Miss One in the last paragraph), The Wiz is coming out on DVD! Who would y’all cast in a modern day version of the movie? My list is below! All-star cast!
Dorothy- Keke Palmer (from Akeelah and the Bee…someone told me she can sing…) or Raven Symone
Scarecrow- Chris Brown
Tin Man – Raheem Devaughn (Chocolate City Baby!)
Cowardly Lion – Reuben Studdard
Miss One – Jennifer Hudson
Evilene – Queen Latifah or Jill Scott
The Wiz – Jamie Foxx or Wayne Brady (he has that slick factor)
Glinda the Good Witch – The one and only Ms. Patti Labelle