A piece of advice from my mother that changed my life.

As many of you know, (and by “many” I mean the three of you who read this neglected blog), I’m a firefighter by profession.  About three months ago, right after the birth of my beloved daughter, I took on the role of an Uber driver to help pay for the Huggies I’ll be forced to buy for the next few years.  So far, with over 300 trips completed, I’ve enjoyed, and am enjoying the experience, not to mention the extra cash flow.

On my travels, I’ve met many interesting strangers with stories to tell, stories that border on the asinine to the inspirational, and everything in between.  Tonight, on my last trip, I had the pleasure of transporting Di Ana Pisarri on an hour long trip. Initially, we spoke of her first time using Uber after a tragedy in her family. I was only her second driver. Usually I open up a conversation on the pros and cons of Uber; it’s a conversation I initiate with many riders, as a way of breaking the ice, especially on long trips.

I didn’t know Ms Pisarri was an actor-turned-life coach, running a successful brand out of Manhattan, but by the end of the trip, she asked me to post the following, when the topic of our conversation turned to having a child:

As a child, born and raised in the inner-city, it was a common and sad occurrence to see a “baby” pushing a baby down the street in a stroller.  As a teen I attended the kind of high school, that not only had metal detectors and extra guards, but also an entire section that served as a day care, while all of the young moms struggled with the basics of algebra a floor or two above.  The dads were few and far in between.  At the time, at that age, the overall situation surrounding the ghetto wasn’t something I thought about as sad or deplorable.  It was just the norm.

For my mother, whom has always been socially ahead of her time, this wasn’t normal, or at least should not have been what is considered normal.  From a very young age she pointed out to my little brother and I the importance of an education, the importance and reward of hard work, and above all, the absolute importance of safe sex.  As embarrassed as I was at the time, it was my mother who bought me my first pack of condoms —  condoms that dried up and “died” from lack of use due to the lack of necessity.  Towards the end of our teen years, my mother was quite possibly the only mom in the projects whose sons were without children.  Her lesson worked, but only too well.

My younger brother had his first child only four years ago.  My wife and I had our first only three months ago.  I’m 39 years old, and my brother is three years younger than I.

My mother’s words worked out so well, she nearly didn’t make it to grandmother-hood.  Her words worked so well, she almost never had the granddaughter she’s been asking for since my mid-twenties, when I was already a part of the work force.

My wife and I reached a fork in the road within our marriage where she was adamant about having a child, and I was adamantly in the opposition.  No matter how well I was doing in my life as a professional, married to a professional, the thought of having children equated what I remembered from my childhood.  As fond as I was of children as a whole, and as much as I love and care and worry about my nephew, the thought of having a child myself was just an experience that was outside of my scope.  Naturally, this caused strain within my marriage.

At a loss for a solution, I called my mother and this is what she said:  “You have to give her a child.  There is nothing more in this world that a woman will love more than her children.  There is nothing more a woman deserves in this world.”

Her words were delivered with a softness, a kindness, and a wisdom that only a mother can have.  As “modern” and “liberal” and as “forward thinking” as I thought of myself to be, I totally understood from whence this so called antiquated advice stemmed.  It struck a chord within me, a chord I could only hear as the absolute truth.  With all of the stresses and the struggle of being a single mom, trying to raise honest boys in the projects of the ghetto, I thought she would see things my way, but with three, short, heartfelt sentences, I knew she wasn’t only talking about the well being of my wife, and our marriage, but of my own well being as well.

After much thought, I decided to join my wife on this journey, and our lives have changed forever.  It’s not only my wife who has discovered the greatest love this world has to offer;  it was me as well.  With all of the worry, and all of the sleepless nights, and the lessening, if not the total loss of superfluous hobbies and other selfish activities, I feel as if the advice I received saved my life by giving it a meaning that only a child can provide, and I will always be in debt to the lady who knew the right decision was to side with my wife.

I love you, mom.  And thanks.