Oh Get A Grip!
Six sexy authors tell it like it is…
“Oh Get A Grip” is my favourite blog on the internet. The blog has six regular writers. Each week they pick a theme to write about. Each writer has their own day for posting on the theme and a guest rounds off the week on Saturday. This means that there is something new every day and that you start to see the different ways in which each author approaches the world.
Last week was one of the best weeks I’ve seen. The theme was parenthood.
“I created you perhaps two decades ago, in a fantasy story I wrote for your father. The tale was rather archly entitled “Labor of Love”. It turned on the notion that suffering through the agonies of giving birth could be another act of devoted submission, akin to enduring the whip or the cane.
When your father and I were together, I never dreamed he wanted children (or marriage for that matter). I thought our connection, intense as it was, was mostly about sex. I believed that he was still in love with his former flame, your namesake. Only later, after we’d parted (though never definitively), after I’d married someone else, did I learn how much he desired a legacy, how much he regretted being the last shoot in his family tree. I started to play with the thought of my bearing him a child. What would it be like, if we were a long term couple? What would you be like?
Intelligent, obviously. I’m smart and he’s practically a genius. Highly sexed, most likely, and probably very verbal. Aside from that, you’re hard to visualize. What would be the result of our melding our disparate genetics? Would you be tall like him, or tiny like me? Would your hair be straight or curly, black or blonde? I suppose at this point, I could choose, couldn’t I?”
The only time I was ever completely comfortable in my skin, oddly enough, was when I was pregnant. I’d never been interested in the trappings of female life I saw around me – makeup, clothes, weddings, cheer leading, babies, marriage, etc. – but being pregnant made me feel a bit normal, as if I’d somehow found a way to sneak into the side entrance to the temple of femininity, and once inside, I’d get a good enough grasp on their rituals to perform like a native. Not so. When I went to Lamaze classes and they asked people how they were feeling or what they were thinking, I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut. You know what happens when you try to force the similar polar ends of two magnets together? Yeah. It was like that.
In fact, it kind of makes me wish God had a naughty chair, to save me the effort of forcing them on to it myself.
He could just reach down and pluck them off the ground, then sit them on a metaphysical chair of total punishment until they’ve thoroughly thought about what they’ve just done. And then the beauty part! Oh the part I always long for more than any other thing.
Because the only way to get off the naughty chair is to apologise, and mean it. Little kids have to actually apologise, and mean it! Which just makes me wonder when we all lost this ability, in between all of our “well, I’m so sorry you feel that way” and “sorry if it hurt your feelings“.
There’s all of these ifs and wells and clauses to apologies, now, whereas the world of Supernanny exists in a perfect, incredible bubble of SAY SORRY OR SIT THERE FOREVER.
He began his journey to the life of the mind in Panama
A small immigrant boy with curious eyes
One straight, one crossed. Each going their own way.
Drawing was his first great love
The drawing boy hunched down close
Over the paper, and curiously eyed uncrossed unfolded, drew.
This is the inspiration of parenthood for me—the ability to let go of my expectations of what I can do and what I can’t do and to throw caution to the wind and say yes. Watching my son learn and grow and do everything with a rebel yell has made me braver. I have discovered a new appreciation for my own strength and abilities, both physically and mentally. Parenthood has made me say yes to the possibilities that once seemed impossible. Maybe that’s because I know the grim statistics about women in their 40s being able to have children and I still beat the odds—twice. I no longer believe anything is impossible.
When my beautiful brown baby girl was born, I felt as if I had written my first novel. She seemed to be the completion of a fantasy that had been gestating for years.
When her father threatened to take her away from me forever, I escaped with her and stayed in a shelter for a week. My parents invited us to live with them while I furthered my education in order to support us, so Daughter and I lived in the family home for two years.
I learned, or relearned, that stories are an essential part of everyone’s childhood. I told Daughter all the stories I could remember from her father about her royal Nigerian roots. (Her father’s ancestry has been explained in books on the history of the Niger Delta – in the culture of 1900, she would have had a social status roughly equivalent to that of Princess Anne’s daughter.) Her grandparents and aunts told her stories about our family, including my place in it. She was nurtured on stories.
Conflict within any family can be defined as a credibility gap between clashing stories.
Saturday’s Guest writer, Volponia, finished the week by sharing her experience of parenthood as an incentive to go back to work in A Note To Volponia
Being a mother had a huge influence on my writing. I hated the day-to-day of my maternal role so much that I got off my ass, went back to work and became a writer and editor for the U.S. Army. It’s not that the love for my offspring wasn’t there; it’s the satisfaction factor that was missing.
And that’s what it’s like on Oh Get A Grip. Week after week. I recommend it to you BUT BEWARE… it’s addictive.