Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It takes all kinds... of families

As long as I live I don't think I'll ever forget those first days when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I have never felt so many conflicting emotions so intensely in my life. All at once I felt jubilant, scared, overwhelmed, hopeful, and confused. I was 28 and working as a teacher. I knew that I always wanted to be a mother.. but I like most women had always pictured a husband coming along with the baby package. My feelings about becoming a single mother vacillated between becoming giddy about all the mommy things I would finally be doing to genuine concern about whether I would be able to raise a child the way a child deserved to be raised. I would lay awake thinking about how much different my son's life would be from the way that I grew up. My parents met in college and married shortly after. My dad was preacher and we were raised in a rather strict household.

However despite my concerns about what my son's life would be like I knew that I would never accept him becoming a 'statistic'. I knew then that I would do everything in my power to make certain that he went to a good school, valued education and got exposure to many aspects of life. I fully rejected the single-mother-victim mentality. I would not accept that because he was a Black male born to single mother that that meant a death sentence for him. I even managed to stay home with him for most of his first two years of life.

Since becoming the head of my little single parent family I have gravitated towards learning about other unconventional family structures. I started watching 'Big Love' and devoured Rebecca Walker's "One Big Happy Family" . A book that is a beautiful group of essays about different kinds of families. I really embraced the idea that families come in all shapes and sizes and that my little family of two was no less than anyone elses! And then the other day I watched a trailer for Rosie O'donnell's new documentary entitled, 'A family is a family is a family'. The film is about families with same sex parents, mixed heritage parents and single parents. I can't wait to see it.

And so I feel very excited about the future society that my son will inherit. I believe that it will be a future where people will be more accepting of people's differences and see those differences as assets.

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