What’s killing me the most is the photos: not just bodies crammed onto bridges or flatbeds trucks, or sprawled along the roadside with nothing more than a backpack or a wadded up jacket for a pillow, but the kids– the babies— tied to their parents with cords if they’re old enough to walk, or scrunched into knotted scarves if they’re not.
Our kid (who was born this past spring) has 5 different baby carriers at this point: the Tula with the cute floral print that we keep in the car, the black Ergo 360 “Omni” with lumbar support for when we mean business, the mesh-and-therefore-breathable LilleBaby that stays at my mom’s house for days when she’s babysitting, and a set of his-and-her K’tans (gray for me, black for my husband) that happened by accident as a result of my futile quest to find a soft carrier that actually fit. Because God forbid any baby born to a white, upper middle class, city-dwelling, Uppa-baby-stroller-owning family doesn’t have both a structured carrier and a soft one.
So when I look at the photos of the Central American asylum seekers making their way north, repeating– if I may– the same damn journey made by our illustrious (and more importantly white) Pilgrim forebears 398 years ago, my heart just aches. But so does my back. Because of all these babies and their poor parents without Tulas and K’Tans and Ergo 360s.
Yesterday I accidentally locked my keys in the car. I had a subway token, however, and it was only 8:00am, so I could’ve easily taken the baby downtown, met my husband at his office, gotten his key, dropped the baby off at my parents’ and still gotten to campus in time to start teaching my Tuesday/Thursday classes, but in addition to locking the key in the car, I had also locked the Uppa Baby, the Tula, and the Omni 360 (a mistake resulting from Halloween margaritas), leaving myself with only the K’Tan and my rather rambunctious sidekick, who is now tipping the scales at 20 pounds.
If you’re familiar with the parlance of baby paraphernalia, you’ll know that this is the new mom equivalent of the apocalypse. If you’re not, imagine trying to squash a pair of drooling and spontaneously combustible barbells into a soft gray sack that provides roughly the same lumbar support as a velour hair scrunchie.
There was NO WAY that I was going to attempt taking mass transit downtown without the requisite accoutrements. So I did what any rational white, upper middle class, city-dwelling, Uppa-baby-stroller-owning mom would do: I called my husband, and called my mom, and left them to sort it out while I, trapped at home, changed the kiddo into the “I ❤ Abuela” onesie that my mom brought back from a recent trip to Spain so that she’d be too bowled over by cuteness to mind bailing me out at 8:00am.
I relay this story because I like to think of myself as adventurous, and resourceful, and even fairly intrepid in the right circumstances, but if I couldn’t even handle a trip downtown without a proper baby carrier, how the hell could I trek through THREE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES with just a scarf to hold our baby to my back?
And yet, I would. I know I would. Because I’m a parent now, and like every other decent parent around the globe, I would do WHATEVER I had to do to keep my kid safe, whether that meant tying them to my back with a scarf and trekking north or crowding into the hold of a ship and sailing west. There is no difference. None whatsoever. And if you think there is, you’ve been duped.
(Also you might want to re-think celebrating Thanksgiving later this month.)
PS: Yes, this is my first blog post in a while, since before kiddo was born to be exact. This will also be my last at this site, as I’ve decided to start a new blog with a title slightly more befitting my new status as…. a mom. If you’d like the link, send me a message and I’ll make sure you get it (I expect to “go live” sometime over the next few weeks). In order to maintain my family’s privacy (now that we’ve got a kid and all…) I’ll be attempting to blog anonymously.
And yes, for those of you who I don’t know in the “real world” or on Facebook, I had a baby 🙂 Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and cheered me on over the past decade. Now, go vote please.