With my lover still asleep in his bed, looking every bit like the young boy he must’ve been before the loss of innocence and the magnificent man I watch him become every single day, I’ve wondered what it must entail to mother a man. Here, I don’t mean the man whom I, as a woman, have adopted as my selfish project titled I Can Change Him, then forgiving him—and myself—for failing. (Although, in all those tomes of my failed histories, I shall never regret the tales of the child-like charm of every Peter Pan I’ve cradled on my chest or lost track of in a sporting goods store.) What I mean is this: What skills, what generosities and wisdoms, what graces and forgiveness must it take to raise a son? What deities must a woman summon to bring up a man who causes the least amount of destruction in the world while contributing to humanity’s betterment?
As the old iconoclast Bill wrote: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” Thanks for that, Bill; and although I don’t mean to sound all New Agey ‘n’ shit, but in my opinion, from the first survivor sperm in my womb—it’s all predetermined; not just through destiny, but genes. Why else would I be treading the world and running an obstacle course between my lovers’ beds in search of the best suitable companion? Because when it comes to my potential baby-papas, my vagina is Darwinian. Which explains why it hasn’t procreated as of yet; for I have only recently graduated from the mean school of my 20s during which I’ve slaved to get over my own terrible patterns (ironically, but not surprisingly, originating from my own mama and papa), just so I can start choosing better-suitable Peter Pans, and their sperm.
Here is the circumstance that I, as a parent, can control for the sake of my yet-to-be-born child: Education through schooling and travel. As someone who has studied men for years—and someone who has pursuit her own non-interrupted education between the ages of six and 26—I shall be the first to admit to being a complete snob when it comes to my lovers’ educational background. Sure, they may be naturally intelligent (which brings me back to my vagina’s Darwinian choice-making). But my lack of tolerance for their poor grammar, for instance (for which a smiley face is never a fair compensation, by the way), comes from a non-negotiable belief that, in this day and age, a college education—is a basic must. If mama and papa have failed a man in that category, it then becomes his own responsibility to fix that gap. So, as a mother of a future great man, I shall work my bloody hardest to grant my child the education that he deserves and that equips him with enough skill to “achieve greatness” (in case the whole “born into it” plan doesn’t work out). As for the worldliness, no man can accomplish his style or confidence without the exposure to other cultures. But right around here, I’m starting to feel preachy, for these are basic truths, right? You’d think so! Yet, the tomes of my dating failures do reveal a disappointing number of men of narrow minds and uneducated pasts. (Good job, V.)
Finally, I must sing an ode to the most important quality of man: Self-esteem. The other night, the fiercest woman I know said:
“Insecurity is the ugliest feature of humans.” Bingo, my gorgeous Amazon!
Oh, how hard is the work of self-examination for the sake of achieving one’s own esteem! I’d know: I clock-in for it daily! However, I believe that no human will bring violence onto another—or onto himself—if he has learned to be enough; learned to be sufficient. In that, a parent is fully accountable to lead by example. As my lovers are rarely allowed to witness the moments of my self-doubt, thusly my son will never be made privy to my lesser self. That way, I can only hope—I can only pray—that with my very being, I shall inspire him to be a man of esteem and grace who never loses the grasp of his self-worth, never gets in his own way and walks in tow with his potential.
Hence, it all comes back to the mother, I’m afraid. (I’m starting to sound like my shrink here.) What I owe my unborn son (and my son-like lovers, for that matter) is my own life, well lived, in pursuit of self-exploration, professional success and prosperity. I owe him a parent of unshakeable ethics, of tested and reaffirmed grace, and of never-ending work of self-esteem. I owe him—to be my own enough, for his and my sake. Hence, now, while I wait for his arrival, is the time for my stubborn pursuit of my calling; for I believe all dreams must be tried out—and some must be accomplished—prior to his birth. To my Shiva, I vow to be well-established in my artistic career (or at least well on the way to it) before I begin taking my basal body temperature. I shall do my work—now!—so that I never resent my son’s success or project my failures onto his destiny; because life will put him through enough of a wringer without needing my two cents.