I scared my mother recently.
I told her, “I want to have a baby, and I want to put it in a papoose, and I want to hike with my baby and Rocky, all the way up Wudang Mountain.”
Wudang Mountain is in China. And Rocky is my dog. He’s a Chinese breed, so it all makes perfect sense to me.
Not so for Mom. She could find no man in the picture, and this bothered her very much.
I don’t get it. She was always the one preaching the way of the independent woman…how I shouldn’t settle down till I was ready, how I should be strong and have a career and never let a man dictate how I lived my life.
I guess she didn’t realize how seriously I would take that advice. Not just what she was saying, but what she was doing. Or not doing. She never lived by her own words—not during her teenage years, not when she was in college in the ‘60s (if that particular set of circumstances couldn’t inspire someone, then what could?), and not while I was growing up. Only in the past 10 years has she gotten a divorce, a hobby, a circle of friends she sees regularly, a whole life of her own. And she will never, ever be without a man.
I never wanted that to be me. I swore it wouldn’t be me. And my mother swore that sooner or later, no matter how hard I tried, I would turn into her. Which, ironically, was the exact opposite of what she said I should do.
So what exactly was her point? Rage, rage against the eventual loss of your will, your way, and your ability to be just you—for according to the natural order, you are doomed to become the “other half” no matter what you do…?
Was that what she meant? Because if it was, she should have known better than to lay that particular mantra on someone as stubborn as me. I’ve never liked people telling me what I can and can’t do.
Recently I’ve begun a casual but calculated search for a baby daddy. I have three candidates, all of whom I’ve known for a while. One’s an ex from 12 years ago, one’s a guy who I’ve never slept with but feel confident would have an excellent gene pool, and one is a dear friend/former lover who displays excellent house-husband potential. Not only have I told them they’re under consideration, but I’ve discussed the logistical side of things with them.
- I would permit my baby daddy to impregnate me the normal way—in other words, yes, he could tap this ass six ways from Sunday, and hopefully do it well.
- I would be fine with my baby daddy having a girlfriend, as long as she was fine with him having conceived a child with another woman.
- It would be nice if the baby daddy lived within a mile or so of me—or at least in the same town—so that he could hang out with the baby, once it arrived.
- We could share custody, if he wanted.
- In that case, I would hope he would do his part to pay for the upbringing of the baby. Though obviously I’m willing to be somewhat flexible about this, depending on the candidate and the other skills they bring to the table.
- He would have to be okay with me taking the baby on extended trips sometimes. (When it’s grown enough to enjoy such a journey, of course.) I’m thinking Hawaii, I’m thinking Spain, I’m thinking Wudang Mountain…
If you’re wondering how the potential baby daddies have reacted to my preliminary inquiries, well…they’re terrified. I mean, they’ve heard some crazy ideas from me over the years, but this one’s too much. It disrupts the natural order. (Don’t I know it.)
Here’s where I usually give them a time frame.
“Not soon,” I tell them. “But, you know, maybe in a couple years. I want Rocky to be young enough to make the trip up Wudang Mountain. So start thinking about it.”
I know there are a lot of good reasons that this idea freaks people out. I’m sure that many of you readers agree with my mom.
“A child needs a father. Present in the house. To do, you know, DAD STUFF.”
And here’s my response: If a father is willingly present, and puts in his 50%, and changes diapers, and helps with the driving to school and soccer practice, and makes lunches sometimes, and cleans up dinner dishes on occasion, then…awesome.
But if a father is just there to complete the natural order of things, and to ensure that after you’ve had your fun, you turn into your mother and your mother’s mother before her, then I don’t really see the point.
Now, I’m not saying I’m definitely going to go through with this. I have some time to figure it out yet.
I’m just saying I’d rather hike Wudang Mountain with my baby and my dog, than not hike Wudang Mountain at all because some guy is jetting around on business trips, having “work dinners” till 1AM, sizing up his PA for a potential meaningless fling, and letting little wifey me hold down the fort back home.