Young naivete

Last night we had a new friend over for dinner. She is someone I met who is young (22) and a lesbian and that’s a bit all I need to know because I want nothing more than to be the old lesbians who have the house young lesbians hang out at. It’s pretty much my top life goal.

She was nice and it was the amount of awkward you’d expect. She nanny’s a 2.5 year old boy so wasn’t shocked by Gus’ antics at dinner and we enjoyed a few beers while Lesley put Gus to bed. It was there that it got more awkward.

As we were talking she mentioned wanting to have a baby. She wanted to have one soon because she is working to be a professional musician and the way that works it would make more sense for her to have a baby at a young age. She talked about what that would be like for her and how she really just wanted a girl so would likely have an abortion if she found out the fetus was a boy. She really wanted a donor who was a person of color but now that she will only have a girl she is rethinking that because she really just did not, under any circumstance, want a white boy.

These are the things she casually told me while my white son was feet away.

It was shocking and on the other hand not. I was a young lesbian feminist with a shaved head once too. I am sure that I said things along those lines at 22. I hope to whatever higher power might exist that I did not say them to parents but honestly, I might have. I replied by telling her that yes, it is complex. That I worry about raising a good man but I believe good men exist so I have faith that I can raise one. I told her that I came to peace with the fact that I thought two lesbians raising a boy was important work. I told her that boy vs. girl you have struggles either way – you worry about your child being a rapist or getting raped. Nothing about raising a child is easy.

This young woman was so young and so misguided. She also told me how the boy she nanny’s must be developmentally delayed because he is 2.5 and not yet potty trained. How he still nurses and that’s what is holding him back. Whole lot of NOPE NOPE NOPE on both of those. She’s so young. We were all better parents before we were parents.

In the end she is welcome back at my house. She doesn’t mean harm. But she does serve as a great reminder about why we waited so long to become parents. What being “ready” really looks like and how fortunate we were to have that time. There is so much about parenting and loving this boy that I would have never enjoyed at 22 – here’s hoping she waits until she can get the same joy out of her experience.

My perfect little white boy. 

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Posted on March 31, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I once read something online along the lines of: If you don’t want to punch your younger self in the face, you aren’t growing.

    As for raising (two!) white currently-identified-as male children, I feel the importance of making them aware of their privilege and eradicating the toxic masculinity that festers in society. White boys do not come out as “white boys”, they come out as “white blobs” and its those of us who take the job of raising these blobs very seriously that are going to make sure the next generation of white men are empowering to all those who are less fortunate than them which is, sadly, everyone. I can’t change everyone else in the same intimate way, but I can change MINE, and I think that’s something my younger (more enthusiastic to forcefully change everyone) self would have scoffed at, and I would have punched her politely in the face.

    And that’s just as important as raising my daughters to be fearless and loud and independent, and raising ALL my white kids to be socially conscious and to use their voices to lift up others.

    It’s about raising good children, especially those who society has already given a head start.

    Also, I, too, feel the need to be the older, married lesbian with a gaggle of young, queer individuals in my house. Life goals, for sure. 🙂

    • I love that idea about if you don’t want to punch your younger self in the face. It’s so completely true. There are so many complex responsibilities with raising kids of any race and gender and all anyone can do is their best. I know I can raise a good white son. I really believe it and part of it is because I am surrounded by other moms, physically and virtually, who are doing the work with me.

  2. I suspect that someday, she’ll play that conversation over in her head and cringe.

  3. This makes me think about this concept I learned about “owning your people.” You know, as progressive/”woke” white folx, sometimes we want to distance ourselves from the shitty/racist/clueless/whatever white people but you know what? they’re ours. We share history and culture and all the racist institutional stuff and besides, nothing will change if we just make a special ‘down white people only’ club because then those shitty people are still out there, perpetuating the crap.
    Similarly, I actually think this idea of only wanting to raise a not-white and/or not-male person is actually saying I DON’T want to do the work of trying to make change in the world. Because there will be white boys in the world, right? I’d rather have at least a few of them be raised by parents who are helping them to become feminist, anti-racist guys who are doing the hard work of making a more just culture.

    Also, yes to older dykes with lots of baby queers. #lifegoals

  4. So young and so misguided, but so full of the energy of youth and the ability to get by on little to no sleep.

    I hope that we can have enough of an influence on our perfect little white boys to help raise them to want to be patriarchy smashers. I worry that it won’t be enough though – after all, my parents tried to raise a good little Catholic lady, and I see how (not) far they got with that. Also, articles similar to this:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/parents-peers-children/

    I do still think we can have enough of an influence to make a difference, despite whatever indications might point to the contrary. I believe relationship is key, as is modeling and living our values. And if we’re successful, and others are successful, it might be enough to make an actual difference in our society.

    Of course, then I look at who our president is, and it takes all I have in me not to curl up in a ball and say, “fuck it” – but it’s always darkest before the dawn, right?

  5. Oh geeze. It’s women like you raising white boys who give me hope, honestly.

  6. Allllll of this. Your post, this thread. It’s everything.

  7. There’s a decent paper called “Bra shopping and Baseball” and it is all about how some same sex couples wanted the opposite sex child specifically because they felt they did not socialize to the “norms” of their own gender well and thus worry about having a child who may want to socialize to those norms. Sorry for the minor tangent, that conversation you recorded made me want to share this- the transition to parenthood has so many factors I’d never thought about previously.

  8. In the words of a Nobel prize poet,

    “I was so much older then.
    I’m younger than that now. “

  9. 1) you guys are amazing.
    2) I hope she waits. I was 27 when I got pregnant on my own as a nanny. The family I worked for did not want me to come back to them after I had my baby. She doesn’t seem mature enough to raise a human on her own yet.
    3) I was NOT like that as a nanny. I promise. We don’t all have these preconceived ideas and judge the shit out of our nanny families. I assumed the parents I worked for knew what they were doing (unless they asked me for help with an issue) and knew their kids better than I ever would. I absorbed how different families worked and developed my own sense of how I wanted to parent, such as sleep training ain’t for me since it broke my heart and put me on edge when it wasn’t even my kid.
    4) I wish I were a young lesbian who could come hang out with you all. I had mostly straight families and a few gay couples to learn about adult life from.

  10. I can almost guarantee i have said a handful of that “dumb shit”,. which, when i was 22-29 i probably believed too! I think the LadyKing is on point. I would have punched younger Sammie right in the kisser. Now Sammie read that and went, “YIKES!” after every sentence! And similar to what Andie said, best thing you could have done was tell her, “that;’s cool that you feel that way, but this is what it really is when you actually have kids!”
    There is thing i learned after having my kids. It’s not so much anymore about what i find important or not important. It’s about giving my kids THEIR BEST CHANCE, and sometimes those things are contradictory. I didn’t really want a daughter. I would have settled for a pride of super tough lion cubs. But i have a daughter, and i do EVERYTHING in my power to makes sure that she has everything that will keep her safe, smart, healthy. Hopefully shell come back. Seems like even as a nanny, she may have a few things to learn.

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