White children in general are raised to be Columbus, to “discover” the world anew and then to manipulate and order the universe to their own liking. If we take away the colonizing impulse in living this way, I think it would be amazing to have the luxury of raising black children who also view the world as a space of their own making, a space to be explored, a space to build anew. A space where occasionally, simply because you live there, you can opt to walk in the middle of the street instead of being confined to the sidewalk, much as you might sling your leg across the arm of a chair in your own home, because it is home. But for so many black children, these kinds of frivolous choices will get you killed or locked up. For black children, finding disciplinary methods that instill a healthy sense of fear in a world that is exceptionally violent toward them is a hard balance to find.
It is hard. I know. It is so. damn. hard. Have hope, sweet friend. Dream and wish and pray for outcomes. But know that your baby is your baby and IS WORTHY OF ALL THE LOVE IN THE UNIVERSE no matter what. Even if the prayers you beg the Heavens for seem unanswered, even if the news turns for the worse, even if they Never…they are just who they were meant to be. And you are their mama just the same. Celebrate if celebration is called for. Jump for joy when they exceed Expectation and make dust of odds, but do not despair if those days do not come. Because Worth is Worth regardless of milestones.
But I think that while how she feels is not ideal, it’s not quite so paradoxical, because I would never assume that behind every good parent is an uncomplicated stream of boundless joy and enthusiasm. We’re flesh and blood here, people. She assumes that being a good parent must come with rampant excitement about the job at all times. It doesn’t. She assumes that being a good parent comes with wanting to be a parent your whole life, and it doesn’t. In part, I believe that even having this problem is a result of the extraordinarily unrealistic expectations put on women that not only should all women aspire to motherhood, but that all who do should feel deeply completed by the experience. If we did not expect this of women, we might not have such a weird secret shame spiral in some women when they discover they don’t feel “on message.” There might be more room for women to explore their feelings about parenting without feeling it’s an inevitable choice they have to love. Hey, motherhood/parenting IS a lot of wonderful, life-affirming things, but it’s not your entire identity. And believe me, there will be times you want to call in sick. The important thing is doing it anyway at those times. Trudging through.
“I don’t know. What’s it like being a straight Christian?” I asked him. “I mean, how is your relationship to God or Jesus informed by your straightness?”
He didn’t know how to answer that question.
Few straight people do, I’m finding.
But that doesn’t stop them from asking about my gay-Christian experience. It’s a point of fascination for most of them. I am a paradox, it seems. I am the contradiction of an untold number of sermons and messages preached from pulpits all across the land. I am not supposed to exist, the gay Christian.