Sunday, August 29, 2010

Things I want my kids to know about me (Part 1)

My mom was 35 when she had me, and 38 when she had my brother.  And when I was a kid that just seemed so flippin ancient.  Now, as I quickly approach my 37th birthday, I realize how young my mom was.  But I can never know her as she was at that time because I was too young to remember.  And the person she is at age 72 is certainly not who she was almost 37 years ago.

So I began thinking what I would like my kids to know about me as I was raising them.  What I enjoyed.  What gave me pleasure.  What I thought about.   My blogging will, of course, give them a huge insight into me, but I thought it might be a good idea to jot down some things in a more organized way so they don't have to read all of my blogs since I hope they do have a life.

1.  Why I didn't take their dad's name
I married at 24 years old, which I now think of as being entirely too young.  I hope my kids wait until they are 27+ to marry.  I just think I didn't even begin to get my head screwed on properly until I was edging nearer to 30.

I wanted to get married but I HATED the idea that once I married D I would forever be thought of as part of a "we."  I think this bothered me so much because I hadn't yet established "me."  I also thought a lot about my mother, who married at age 33 in 1971 and changed her name.  She had many, many years of establishing herself as by one name only to change it to another.  I guess I feared no one would know me anymore (as I don't know lots of Facebook people who don't follow directions and use their MAIDEN names).  And so D and I discussed it, and I decided not to change it.  Because calling myself Carrie L just sounded foreign.  And weird.  And it still does when I say it inside my head.  (When N's school or doctor calls and refers to me as Mrs. L, I sometimes ignore them until they've said it multiple times.  I'm like, "Who the eff are they asking for?")

For awhile it prickled me whenever someone erroneously called me Mrs. L, and it REALLY bothered D whenever he was referred to as Mr. V, but now that we're approaching 13 years of marital togetherness, I don't think either of us much care what we're called.  And there have been occasions when, due to my sassy mouth, I think D has been quite happy that no one could "place" me with him.

2. I like picking apples
Tonight at Mamaw's, I picked apples out of the tree in her backyard, with D holding the ladder, and N occasionally braving the steps to grab a couple off the branches, and G running after the ones that fell as I picked and pulled at branches to get at the best ones.

And I realized how much I thoroughly enjoy picking apples.  Or picking strawberries.  Or picking green beans.  Or doing most anything related to tending to plants, gardening, or harvesting.

3. And I like to write and remember
After a recent letter to the editor I wrote was published in the local paper, N asked, "Mommy, why do you write?"  And I tried to explain it in a way she would understand, but she kinda zoned out.  But it made me think about writing and why I do it.

I've written stuff, reflections, diaries, whatever you want to call it, since I was about 10 years old.  I have a huge plastic bin in the basement packed with journals.  In high school and college, I wrote really poor poetry.  And now I blog.

I have zero imagination so short stories are not my thing.  I am best at writing what I head, my heart.  And hopefully using what is there with maybe a dash of common sense to make a point.  At this point, I've been doing it for 25+ years, so it's a habit.   But it kinda goes hand-in-hand with keeping my name....I write because that is inherent to who I makes me feel like Carrie to write.

4. The hair or lack thereof
My hair doesn't grow long.  Ever.  It grows immensely thick.  Like a helmet.  For many, many years I tried to grow my hair out, but it always looked terrible.  At some point, I accepted that some women are just born to wear their hair short, and I am one of them.

Given my lack of girly curves and my inability to wear cosmetics due to sensitive skin, I sometimes look boyish.  But that is ok.  Because very short hair, in addition to being super easy to care for (and I am extremely lazy when it comes to personal appearance), is also kind of edgy and suggests a certain amount of confidence.  Confidence to not hide behind one's hair.  Confidence to subvert the notion of what is feminine.  And I like that feeling of boldness.


Kelsey said...

I have one of those bins too!

I'm sure your children will love this someday.

Keri said...

You're really smart to write down these specific things about yourself. I so often wish my own mom had kept a journal when we were young. Her memory is terrible, too, so often when I ask her questions, she can't even recall the answers herself.

As for the name changing, I completely understand why some women don't do it. Changing mine was the right thing to do for me, but I do still have times when I feel "nameless." I can't say that I've ever fully identified with the name "Keri B," but "Keri L" isn't me anymore, either.

I know a couple who both took both last names and hyphenated them, so they're "Jane Doe-Smith" and "John Doe-Smith." Maybe that's the way to go?