The foreman, the teacher, the child and maid-
All of their tales had been trite and well-grayed.
The lot had been cast and, to my great fear,
My chance to compete was suddenly here.
My previous speech had too been pedantic.
As the crowd approaches I am growing frantic.
I agreed to the battle, the wager is fat.
My son is in arms, my purse is quite flat.
If I lose it will mean a whole weekâs wage,
I swallow my breath and approach the stage.
At least the competition is appealingly pale.
Here, dear reader, is the bulk of my tale:
It may seem a lie, but I am seventeen,
And though younger mothers there have been,
My age is a source of shock and surprise
To those who hold judgment on young mothersâ lives.
âWhere are your horns and your crack-cocaine?
For a teen mother, youâre awfully plain.â
âDearest me, Iâd neâer have guessed,
itâs snowing outside, your son is warm dressed.â
Iâd like to question, whenâs the magic line
When becoming a parent is socially fine?
Twenty, Thirty, Forty-Two?
Perhaps only old folks may care for the new.
Take, for example, a recent ill talk:
My baby and I are out for a walk.
Another mother with stroller in tow
Waves to us, for a chat I slow.
âHow old is yours?â the banter begins;
âSeven months? Oh great theyâll be friends.
They may even be in the same kinder class.
Heâll be the gent, sheâll be the lass.â
Our encounter continues, we traverse to the pool.
This is when she discovers I am in high school.
âYouâre way too young to have that baby,
Damn those schools with their âabstinence onlyâ.â
The thought never occurs that my child is wanted.
Her quick assumption: my mind must be stunted.
I do not argue, Itâd be a waste of my time,
I would so love to change her paradigm.
But, as women grow older they grow more self-assured
That theirs are the only sound theories to be heard.
Plus her young child has begun to whine;
I turn to play with the boy who is mine.
The next thing I hear is saddest in rank,
As she asks her young infant, âDo you want a spank?
You need to shut up while mommy is talking.
Why havenât you even begun to start walking?"
I reach for my son and hold him near
And vow to respect him forever, the dear.
That day I learned from Life, the sage,
Some very important things about age.
This impatient mother who would chastise me
And yet berate her young woman-to-be
Is blinded by age and by prejudice, too.
So the end of my tale is a challenge to you-
Age doesnât make you less or more,
Whether youâre ninety or under four.
Give every person the utmost respect-
For their spirit, their body and their intellect.