Friday, January 25, 2013

A Funny Thing My Grandmother Said To Me

Now that I've told you about my grandmother's funeral and a little bit - a very little bit - about her life, let's travel even farther back in time ... no, wait ... this post is about something she said before she died (probably obvious), but after I ate all her tums. Okay, it's in the past. (I'm sure the Germans have a tense for this occasion.)

One of the last times I visited with my grandmother, she told me to "Always have a boyfriend on the side." When I told my mother that Grandma M said this, her reaction was "Why didn't she ever say that to me?!?" No idea.

Was my grandmother just telling me to live life and throw away societal norms and give in to my passions? No, not at all. This fact may shock you, but being a ventriloquist on the radio was not exactly a lucrative gig. I know, your mind: it is blown. My grandmother was a secretary throughout my mom's childhood. Given the fact that she was blind, this job garnered her a mention in an article. She wasn't, however, a proud feminist showing that women can have it all. No, she was a woman trying to keep food on the table and a roof over her family's heads.  Instead of thinking that skills and education were the way out of this predicament - after all, she had both courtesy of the Lighthouse for the Blind - she believed the answer was to have another man to fall back on and help provide. If something happened to your husband? Make sure someone was there to step in. My grandmother didn't want my mother to go to college or wear pants and when I transferred colleges and broke up with my boyfriend, whom my grandmother liked, I think she was concerned for my future.

My grandmother during her secretary days.

Unlike my grandmother, I am a feminist. I want my girls to have both education and skills.  When people talk about the Good Old Days when women were women and men were men, I'm not sure what they are talking about. Most women have always had to work, although in the days of cottage industries, not all needed to go far. We do our daughters a disservice not to prepare them for the real world.

Am I saying a women can't have a life goal of motherhood and staying home to care for their children? No. I have always wanted to be a mother and H and I made plans, so that I could be at home the majority of Q and Z's babyhoods.  If something was to happen, however, I have the skills to find work and, more importantly, a belief that I can take care of my family. I think that we need to make sure that our daughters are prepared for all possible problems and that none of them need or believe they need "a boyfriend on the side" to handle it.

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