Their bus is parked outside my house, with a big poster promoting their show, “How to Turn Distress into Success,” in its window. Unfortunately, I’m too late for that. It already played. But I do have time for “Everything is Fine Circus.”
I’m still thinking about Rebecca Walker’s Baby Love, and another quote from the article about it.
“[F]or Ms. Walker, being a stepparent or adoptive parent involves a lesser kind of love than the love for a biological child./In an interview, Ms. Walker boiled the difference down to knowing for certain that she would die for her biological child, but feeling ‘not sure I would do that for my nonbiological child.”
Indeed, it is an especially bizarre statement given that in a previous relationship, Walker’s female partner gave birth to a son whom they have raised together. Now that she has a new child, from a relationship with a man, she says about her other son, “The good thing is he has a biological mom who would die for him.” What does this say about fathers? Does their sperm do enough to create a similar connection? I doubt the two mom families I know would distinguish this way between their children.
Is parenthood some sort of bizarre cult of Romeo and Juliet?
I don’t understand how “dying for” your son, or anyone else, is a measure of your love for him. It seems like an empty, melodramatic and self-serving statement, and I hope/doubt she will ever have to live up to it.
I would die for a child of mine, but I would also die for other people’s children. So would my brother-in-law, who’s a police officer. We’ve both risked our lives for other people’s children – although obviously he’s done it more than I have. When I taught kindergarten in Jerusalem, we had to be careful about security. Once after school had ended, as we waited for parents to pick up their kids, a man parked his car on the sidewalk and ran off, right in front of the building. Given where I was, we all immediately assumed the worst. In fact, my ovaries twinged sharply in this weird way they do when I get a scare. The four kids still there all ran to the gate to get a look at the car, and I ran after them, shouting, and knew right then that I would use my body as a shield if it came down to it. I loved those children with a fierceness and I felt an anger at the threat to them like I’d never known.
The other teacher was still inside, and saw it from the window, but couldn’t get out fast enough. Thankfully, the car didn’t explode and I got the children inside, where they stood around confused as we actually threw up into the short little toilets. It turned out to be a recent Russian immigrant’s car, and as I’ve since learned, sidewalks are parking spaces in Russia (in response the fence is now a reinforced cement wall).
That’s as close as I can come to imagining having to “die for” anyone. I can’t imagine very many situations where it would be a conscious rational choice, where we had time to consider. I moved without thought to protect those kids, and I’m just a teacher, not a hero. Walker’s words seem trite to me – “Oh that son of mine, he’s to die for. And so are those shoes.” I don’t know why her description of her love has to be about trumping someone else’s. Utterly unreflective of parental love.