You may have noticed some outrage on my page these days. And those are only the public messages, not the private ones. Some people are seriously pissed at me for writing posts that do not laud childbearing.
To which I say, why? Why is it so important that we revere pregnancy and procreation?
I’m convinced that most American parents didn’t realize how much work raising a kid was when they decided to have one.
If they did, we’d have a negative birthrate.
Having a child changes your life irrevocably, in that you will have at least eighteen years with no life. A good parent prioritizes their child’s needs, especially during infancy. They endure a constant state of deprivation: sleep deprivation, cleanliness deprivation, time deprivation, and quiet deprivation.
My mother was blonde when I was a little girl – courtesy of Clairol. She had been white-blonde as a child, but her hair darkened as she aged. I don’t know whether she was dirty blonde or chestnut, though, underneath her cheap, brassy dye. Everyone assumed blonde was her natural color, however, since she was always surrounded by a horde of screaming towheaded children. We were the perfect camouflage for her unnatural hair.
I hated her dye job. I harangued her about being a natural brunette incessantly. She ignored me. I swore I would never, ever color my own hair, even though my own locks were brown by Junior High.
The first time I ever heard the n-word, I was in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was nine, walking with my mother and stepfather. Two kids ran past. One called the other a word I’d never heard growing up in Washington, D.C., despite having classmates and friends of multiple races.
My mother pressed her lips into a thin line, then said, “I hate that word.”
Today, we salute the Veterans of the United States of America. Your service and sacrifice are and were extraordinary. A personal thank you to my father, my brother, my ex-stepbrother, my neighbors, and a whole slew of ex-boyfriends.
But thanks most of all to my grandfather, who was part of the greatest generation. In case you haven’t seen it, this is a little of his story.
I didn’t see my father’s parents much when I was growing up. They lived in Colorado, then Hawaii, then Colorado again. I sent them letters when I was young, and perhaps they visited us once every year. When Big Brother hit high school, they flew him out to Hawaii for several weeks in the summer. The next year Future Doctor Sister got to go, and finally it was my turn… Click to keep reading.
Andy’s parents called once before we left to get our flight information. Sunny asked Andy if there was anything we wanted to eat. He told her no, anything was fine. Which it was – FOR HIM. Andy can – and will – eat anything from animal brains (inaccurately, but oh-so innocently labeled “sweetbreads”) to Rocky Mountain Oysters (bulls’ balls). Continue reading Thanksgiving with Jay (#97)
My Southern grandmother drilled old-fashioned etiquette into my mother’s head. My mother drilled that same etiquette into mine. Which is weird, really. My mother turned her back on much of her upbringing when she became a liberated woman. She reclaimed her maiden name. She mortified my grandmother by embracing their Cherokee heritage and getting suntans so dark my racist grandmother would insist – in the most DIRE tones — that “her daughter was turning black.” My mother discarded “Mrs.,” bras, hats, gloves, and the idea that all ladies should be competent with a stove or a vacuum. Continue reading No Thank You (#65)
I didn’t see my father’s parents much when I was growing up. They lived in Colorado, then Hawaii, then Colorado again. I sent them letters when I was young, and perhaps they visited us once every year. When Big Brother hit high school, they flew him out to Hawaii for several weeks in the summer. The next year Future Doctor Sister got to go, and finally it was my turn. Continue reading Granddad’s Gift (#51)