I've been lax about writing these past several days because I have been very busy working alongside my dearest friend packing up her house, preparing endless snacks for the plethora of children running around the house, cleaning those dirty dishes produced by the plethora, and staying up late to talk, laugh, and watch super handsome David Boreanaz on Bones. (Also, staying up until 1:30 AM five days running kinda screws up my ability to write coherently; I'm not complaining for I am too busy laughing). But for right now, my friend is out on a date with her husband, all the kids are asleep, and I have silence to re-read my pondering. And today's pondering has led me to ask: why is it more socially acceptable for a man to abandon his family?
When a woman abandons her children for a life free from child rearing responsibility we tend to think that her actions are reprehensible and question if she is of sound mind. For example, Margaret Sanger (a topic of my college dissertation; I won't bother to footnote right now. If wish to question this assertion, message me and I'll be happy to furnish proof) abandoned her children to further the birth control movement. What sort of woman could be away from her four year old daughter as she lay dying from pneumonia? It seems that a woman would have to be crazy to turn her back on the fruit of her womb.
Yet the flip side of the coin reveals we are quicker to dismiss the man's shortcomings. "He couldn't handle the pressures/He wasn't ready for the challenges/He wasn't able to grow-up/He wasn't prepared." Why is it that when a man abandons his children we do not question his mental acuity. Why does not the world react with the same sort of disgust?
This hot topic issue came up today for I found myself in the neighborhood of my son's biological father; I was flash-flooded with memories from five years back. The last time I saw him I was 20 wks pregnant and he had promised to attend the 'guess your baby's gender' sonogram. Using your powers of deduction you can conclude he never showed up.
That was a horribly painful time in my life, but I have made peace with the loss of that relationship and moved on. My Kid is the greatest joy of my folly and I can't imagine life without him. I understand intellectually and rationally speaking that the path the Kid and I are on together is a far better journey than what may have been if his biological stayed around. In retrospect I can see how the biological father and I were not suited for a relationship, even though we had been wonderful friends. So why am I still angry after these years have passed?
I don't believe that I am angry at being left to raise a child on my own; I had the decision to abort, adopt out or become a single mother. I knew that raising a child alone would/is a massive responsibility. I think that I am more angered by the fact that one look at my ring-less left hand and the child on my hip, one can conclude that I am a single mother. But no one will ever look at him and wonder if he has a child.
Like Schrödinger's Cat I am both alive and dead, happy and sad, angry and peaceful. Next time I'm out driving around up here, I'll make sure to avoid those old roads. And when I get back to FL, the Kid and I will cut new paths in the Florida sand.