Over the weekend the checkout woman at the farmer’s market asked me if JD was named after his "father," or "whoops, your husband, boyfriend?" Clearly some dude helped make him. Yep.
JD was running away from me as I dug in my purse for my wallet. “Jack, Jack, come back here. Stand still. Don’t move,” I said. He didn’t quite respond.
“Jack. Jack. Jack,” I said in a sterner voice. “Get over here.” He came over and handed me a random lemon. I handed the checkout woman the lemon. “I guess we’ll take this lemon,” I said, all flustered. “I’m gonna get a cracker, Mama,” JD said. Before I could say anything two elderly women were squealing over how cute and polite my kid was for saying, “Scuse me, please,” in a squeaky voice as he made a beeline for the free rice cakes on the coffee bar.
“So, Jack, is he named after his father, or whoops, your husband/boyfriend?" the checkout woman said. As I mentioned I was already flustered and I definitely paused before saying anything. I was just glad she didn’t say is he named after his dad or direct the question to JD: “Are you named after your Dad?” DAD. DAD. DAD. Duh, it made me think of JD's dad. We talked about naming our son, Jack William. William for someone on his side. The "D" in JD is for Domenic after my grandfather (who died when my Dad was 18). I guess, I can tell JD one day, his father and I agreed on Jack. Then I started thinking about how JD's dad liked the name Chloe or Claire for a girl and how I liked Mia. "Mia reminds me of a soccer player," he said. We both liked Dylan—but I liked Dylan (Rose) as a girl's name. "I need a Dylan," he said with a smile. We had this name convo in my bed in my very narrow bedroom in NYC. The duvet was black and puffy. There were sun spots on the bed, panic in my heart, a sinking feeling I didn't know was good or bad in my stomach—and names on my brain. Smile. Funny the things you recall—when you recall them. How you'll always recall them. Know them like your own name, wonder if they were in a dream. If the dream was in color—or stained in the past, black and white forever and ever... "I got 4 crackas, Mom. Want one?" JD said and dropped one on the floor. "Don't eat that," I said, bending down.
“Actually, Jack is named after my mom, Jacklyn,” I said. I smiled, signed my bill and left with three bags of produce and my son.
On the way home I couldn’t help but wonder how even though modern families are on the rise and commonplace, most people still assume children have a mom and a dad. Then I wondered if I should have corrected this woman and maybe told her I was a single mom and his father was not involved and perhaps she should be more sensitive to me and her other customers who she knows nothing about—except for the fact that I buy large quantities of broccoli and grapes—and am the mom who says "Don't touch those nuts!" (No, JD to my knowledge has no allergies KNOCK ON WOOD!). Some of the shoppers must be choice moms, gay, widow/widowers, foster parents, right? Of course, right, but eh, my moment of why-are-you-asking-me-about-my-kid's-dad-and-making-me-remember-him faded away. It always does. Read The New Normal: Stay At Home Dads, Gay Parents and More.
We got home and made a strawberry, grape and green apple fruit salad dressed in that fresh lemon JD made me impulse-buy and cooked up some grilled cheeses. Deeee-lish!
What about you? Do you think I should have said something? Would you have? Is it OK to ask a stranger a harmless Q about their kid's parent(s)? I’m curious how you picked out your child’s name too, so please share. This is a safe place. Pls be kind. XO