Red, White and Pink?

I don’t usually blog about what’s going on in the news. I like to stick to things that effect me personally and Blue Ivy, Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber don’t impact my day to day operations. Today, when I found out that the Susan G Komen Foundation, an organization that once stood courageously in the fight for women’s health issues, had succumbed to the bullying of right wing idiots who believe that what a woman does with her body should be decided by legislation, my heart sank. Planned Parenthood grant recipients received phone calls from Komen informing them that they would no longer be providing funds because of the abortions the clinics provide to women across America. Funding used by the clinics to provide breast cancer screening, Paps smears that detect cervical cancer, and birth control to women who choose to practice safe sex and not need abortion service would be terminated and annual grants would no longer be issued by one women’s health organization to another, all at the behest of a male-centered government.

I am by no means a feminist, nor do I advocate abortion, premarital or teenage sex, or risky sexual behavior. What I do support is a woman’s right to choose what is best for own body, family, and future. Planned Parenthood provides more than just abortion services. They offer a shoulder to cry on (I know from personal experience), services to women without health insurance (I know from personal experience), and education when ignorance about reproductive health runs rampant (I know from personal experience). With locations in impoverished communities and a sliding scale, Planned Parenthood provides access to services women may not receive adequate care and it pains me that the Komen Foundation refused to stand up for the women they claim to support. By backing down from the fight for women, they’ve shown cowardice and are not worthy of my support, nor should they be supported in the grand scale that changes city lights to pink, NFL players’ gear to a girly shame, and city streets to accommodate walkers for three days. How can the public support a breast cancer awareness organization which will allow close-minded politicians to force them to withdraw support from an organization that provides breast-screening services. Shame on you, SGK Foundation. This October, I won’t be wearing pink.

A Letter to a Woman I Haven’t Met Yet

Dear Future Mother-in-law,

I wasn’t too fond of my last one, so let’s get some things out the way right here and right now. The last time I got married, I expected to have to deal with HER for the rest of my (or her) life. Unfortunately, I still do, because of my daughter, but it’s in a much more diminished capacity since the divorce was finalized (May 18, 2010 – thank you, Jesus). I’m not getting married a third time, so since you’re gonna be stuck with me, we may as well make this thing work.

I already have a mother. I was raised by her and although we don’t always get along, she is mine. I don’t need another and you’ll never replace or even compare to her. I’ll never be your daughter because I’m hers. Our relationship will never equal the one I have with my mother, but I don’t want it to and you shouldn’t either. Yes, we can go shopping together. Sure, I’ll meet you for lunch. Of course that spa appointment is still on. But I want my mother to be the one holding my hand if your son happens to knock me up and I go into labor in Target. I’m not saying we can’t share precious moments because I want to have a relationship with you, but when I think of the most important times in my life, the person who’s always been by my side is my mommy. She’s got 31 1/2 years of being my mother under her belt.

I love your son. At some point during the course of our marriage, I will despise every fiber of his being. Hopefully, those times will be minimal and fleeting, but what this means to you is mind your business!!! We’re not competing for his love, there are things I can do that you can’t because it would not only be disgusting and incestuous, but illegal in almost all 50 states. I can’t be the one who held him all night when he was four and had a fever that wouldn’t break; that was your job. I have the job of taking care of him now. The way I love my mom is the way he loves you, but please don’t make him choose sides. The first time he chooses yours is the day he’ll be packing his stuff and moving back into your house. He and I are a team, it’s ok for you to retire. Don’t worry though, I’m pretty sure you’ve already made it to the Hall of Fame and I’ll make sure that’s never forgotten.

You’ve never known me as a child. I was grown when we met, so although you’ve known your son since birth, you don’t have a right to talk to me like I’m a kid. I respect you for raising a man wonderful enough for me to vow to spend the rest of my life with. Respect me because he thinks I’m wonderful enough to spend the rest of his life with. I appreciate all the wisdom that comes with your experiences, but please don’t be offended if I don’t accept your unsolicited advice…my friends don’t, and neither should you.

I know we haven’t met yet…and since this letter is to an imaginary future mother-in-law, I haven’t met your son yet, either. But what I do know is that I already had mother-in-law beef, and I’m just not willing to do that nonsense again. You’ll get Mother’s Day gifts from me, we’ll spend alternating holidays with you, and nothing but the best nursing home will do when you start calling me his ex-girlfriend’s name…you know, the one you had to console on my wedding day when she couldn’t compose herself (oh, wait that happened already – can’t happen again, can it?) So, Future Mother-in-law, as long as you know where we stand, I think it might be time to go looking for your son.

Love Forever,

Your Future Daughter-in-law

Single Mother Blues

This weekend I had big plans: DJ Jazzy Jeff spinning on Thursday, pedicure and Black Eyed Peas after-party at Enclave on Friday (STFU, I like the Black Eyed Peas), a party for a work friend on Saturday, and a road trip to a few wineries on Sunday with the girls. This weekend, I will be hanging with my four-year-old daughter because I don’t have a sitter. I’m not upset about it, because I genuinely cherish every single day I get to spend with her. We have fun when we hang out together and for the most part, she’s welcome almost everywhere I go. I get a little sad sometimes, because I realize I’m singing the Single Mother Blues, a song far too many of us know the words to – words we had to learn on center stage the night of the big show. Some of us never expected to be understudies when the star backed out at the last minute. We were supposed to be singing a different song, The Family Song. I’m not speaking for the perpetual “baby mama” who has multiple children by multiple men nor am I speaking about the single mother who was single before the baby and had no intentions of having a relationship with the child’s father. I don’t know the words to their songs, and I’m afraid I don’t even know the melody. I can only sing my blues, the Single Mother Blues.

I recently asked a friend what he does before he takes a trip out of town. His answer: Buy a ticket. Ask any single mother what we have to do before we go on vacation and of the million things we have to do, survey says “buy a ticket” would NOT be the number one answer. The one thing fathers without full custody of their children fail to understand is that by choosing to be a full-time mother, we’ve given up our freedom and they haven’t. Even with visitation on the weekend, things just aren’t the same. I will never complain about having to “watch” my own child, but I will always resent the fact that my freedom is compromised, while Cinda’s daddy can come and go as he pleases without a second thought about what to do with the baby.
He’s never been late to work because Jacinda won’t let him comb her hair. He’s never gotten two hours of sleep because he spent the night awake holding a hot baby praying that ibuprofen knocks the fever out. He’s never had to choose between school clothes for her and a new winter coat for himself. He’s never had to eat spaghetti three nights in a row because that’s all Cinda will eat. He’s never had to sacrifice his freedom on a day to day basis, the freedom to do simple things, like pee with the door closed and listen to music with bad words in it. I gave up those freedoms to be Cinda’s Mommy. I’m not mad about it, but sometimes I miss the days when I could just get up and go.

I’ve hinted at the envy I feel when I see families: man, woman, child. I had that. I purposely chose to wait until I was in a committed relationship, MARRIAGE, before I chose to become a mother. This is how I believe things should go, and while others may not mind conceiving and birthing a child out of wedlock, I do. I never wanted to be a single mother, and although I planned a pretty picnic, it rained cats and dogs. Marriage doesn’t guarantee permanence, however, I believed (and still do) that it was a lifetime commitment so when I woke up that cold day in February of 2006 and realized that I was on my own, I thought my life was over. I didn’t want to be a baby mama. I didn’t want a baby daddy. I was a wife, he was my husband and this was our family. I resent him for ruining my family, for forcing my daughter to grow up without a father – I had one and so should she. We’re so used to black families being headed by a single mother, people tend to look at me crazy as though my expectations about my family are unrealistic. Being a baby mama may be good enough for some people, but it was NEVER good enough for me and I resent the fact that not only do I have to be one, but the society expects me to be something I never wanted to be.

What I’m most resentful about though, is that Cinda’s daddy ruined my family and that sucker might go out and get himself a new one one day. I find it hilarious when people ask if we’ll ever get back together, or if I still love him. Hell I don’t know, but what I DO know is that, as crazy as it may seem to people who don’t understand, he ruined my dream of happily ever after. I’ve moved on, but a secret that most of us have is that deep down inside, we don’t want the father of our children to EVER have a family. (Yes! I’ve spilled the beans!). How dare they make it work with someone else when they couldn’t make it work with us?! Not only should they never have another family, but they should spend the rest of their lives regretting the fact that WE never worked out. Before men get all excited and say “I KNEW she wasn’t over me!!! WRONG!!!! We ARE over you. What we aren’t over is the failure of our family. No matter who’s fault the end of the relationship was, no matter how well we wish you, no matter how happy we may genuinely be when you’re happy, we’re like Miss America hoping Miss Canada trips and falls on her pageant gown and gets disqualified for posing naked for Hustler. Yeah, Canada is our neighbor to the north and although we both don’t want those damn Russians to win anything and we giggle together when she can’t remember the words to her song, I swear to GOD we’ll be damned if you take home the crown. Runner up will do. We’re allowed to win. You’re not.

My song isn’t the song of a bitter woman. As a matter of fact, contrary to what the world may think, most single mothers AREN’T bitter and filled with despair. We’ve accepted our starring roles, most of the time unexpectedly, and we get on stage and perform our asses off. Most of us are not retaliatory against the actions of our children’s father. We’re not angry. We’re not greedy. We’re not scorned. We’re not sitting at home waiting on you to fail. The media portrays us in such a negative light, it hurts me to see women complain about getting more child support, withholding visitation, and being a bitch in general. These women are acting very immaturely and out of hurt only a single mother can understand. Jacinda doesn’t get a dime from her dad, she’s seen him twice in two years, and I’m nice to her dad whenever he pops up, because that’s what’s healthy for the three of us, but I swear to teenage Jesus, if that bastard cleans his life up and has a baby with a white girl, I PROMISE you I’m gonna pinch the shit out of that kid and blame it on Jacinda.

Aside

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