Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you've got, say "Oh, my gosh," and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It's not a question of choice.
Before you get your political hackles up- and I like those hackles; they're fine hackles, I have a set myself- I should clarify that I'm not talking about choice as we ordinarily use the word. Not Choice as in Pro-. I'm talking about post-choice, the embodied baby, the done deal, the child trailing clouds of glory, etcetera. And, of course, because I see said hackles rising again, I know there are plenty of people with done deals who are smart and brave enough to recognize that they need to thrust parenthood upon someone else, someone with more resources. I'm not talking about those people or taking them to task. If I'm taking anyone to task, and apparently I am, it's those people who have the material resources (and then some; if you can afford a penthouse, more than one signed and numbered Edward Weston photo, and a Mies Van der Rohe chaise, you can afford a child, yes?); who are grown-up; who are in splendid, chiseled, glowing, shockingly handsome health; and who are in all ways suited not to be let off the hook.
I'm talking about Martin. Obviously, Martin. Because as his eleven-year-old daughter slept the sleep of the spent and brokenhearted in the next room, in a strange bed, Martin sat next to me on the couch and said, "I'm just not cut out to be someone's parent. I never was," neatly lifting himself off the hook, without so much as a wrinkle in his English custom-tailored shirt.
Do you have a favorite passage from a book that inspires you to be a better writer? I'd love for you to share! :-)