Somebody's Baby

Since Mother's Day, I have been wanting to write some meaningful bit about motherhood: the weight of it, the change it brings in you as a person, all that stuff. But for the life of me, I can't so much see what change motherhood has made in me, as what is has done to everyone else.

At the risk of sounding dumb, it only recently occurred to me that every single person is BORN. Born eventfully (or not) to some parent(s) who look(s) on him/her as a personal miracle. Excepting tragic circumstances, everybody arrives with love. Even Britney Spears' unplanned second baby will arrive with love...if not proper infant safety and parents with good taste. And those who don't have love, well, those are the people who do the bad stuff in this world.

But, naively, I believe that most of us arrive here in love. Motherlove and Fatherlove, the kind of feeling that forgives almost any trangression, will do almost anything to ensure the happiness and safety of a child. Hopeless and tireless and, yes, stupid love. Most of us in the world have someone who feels that way about us. Shortly after we'd had our babies, my no-nonsense friend Christie and I were talking about the Iraq war and she said, "We didn't push these babies out of us so they could go kill each other." Which is not a statement about the Iraq War, but about war in general. Every person who dies is somebody's baby. Can't we, as mothers and fathers, agree that it is a bad idea?

And every person who lives is somebody's baby. Even you, the wicked, wicked person who cut me off in traffic and then FLIPPED ME OFF yesterday. Someone feels about you the way I do about Lu. I am not sure who, but someone must love you. And the homeless people who live under the bridge near our house: sad, polite people whose bad luck and worse choices have let them wander away. Do their mothers know? When I think of Lu living under a bridge, I wonder what will have happened to me. How could she have gotten so far away from us that she doesn't have somewhere safe to be? I want to call the mothers of these people, commend them on their children's good manners and demand that they rescue their babies.

I know it's not that simple. But motherhood has changed the world for me. Even in the worst traffic, motherhood casts a tender light on humanity. If I imagine that someone loves you like I love Lu, then I am less inclined to give you the bird.