5 years ago

My father wanted a boy when I came along.  That is probably not true, but that's how I've always felt. While I was growing up, he would regularly take me out in the backyard and try to teach me some sort of father-son thing, like baseball(at least until he beaned me) or how to hunt for snakes(check), or fishing(except for the killing and cleaning).  Then my brother came along, and he was actually good at the boy stuff, being a boy and all.

I don't remember my mother trying to do any bonding; she spent most of my childhood with her nose stuck in a book.  I definitely get my introversion from my mom!  I wasn't ever allowed in the kitchen, and after I broke three needles, my sewing machine privileges were revoked.  Whenever I had questions about the various "mysteries" of life, she would tell me to "look it up"*.  This was before the internet, for those younger readers, when we had encyclopedias and dictionaries and read by candlelight. We also had to walk to school through 6 feet of snow.  Uphill. 

My point is that I wasn't really raised as a "traditional" girl at the time.  I didn't have a pink room or fluffy curtains. Most of what I did have were hand-me-downs, so I had to take what I got.  I had Barbies for awhile, until I decided to curl their hair and learned that plastic melts when it comes into contact with a curling iron.  I had a Mrs. Beasley doll, until I decided to extract the tape recorder from her belly. I had a Baby Alive, until...you get the point.  I did have a crush on Donny Osmond, but back then, who the hell didn't?  I thought that "Puppy Love" song was about dogs.  Don't judge!

Girls were supposed to want certain things at the time. They were supposed to want to learn to sew and cook, get married, and raise a perfect family.   Girls were supposed to be interested in playing with dolls, looking pretty, and most important, keeping their mouths shut in the presence of boys. Boys didn't like women who spoke their minds, girls were told. Just sit there and look at the boy in front of you with rapt adoration while trying to stick your chest out to make your boobs look bigger! 

Nobody told me that I was supposed to act dumb around boys, of course.  It was one of those things that a girl is just supposed to know.  When a girl doesn't have a date for the dance, of course she starts to wonder why.  She starts to look around.  I saw that all of my girlfriends, when they were around boys, would start to get giggly and vapid. By watching my friends, I figured out that I needed to shut my mouth and just try to look pretty if I ever wanted to date. 

I did want to get married and have a family.  I didn't actually care about this until I was in college and I wanted to spend my Saturdays somewhere other than my dorm room.  Then I  went through the same routine as every other woman, thinking that I had to pretend to be something I wasn't so that guys would like me. Finally, I just said "Screw this!  I'm just going to live alone and have lots of cats!"  I decided that I was just fine as I was, no matter how many cats I owned.  And that's when I met my husband, who didn't mind cats at all.

So here I am.   I have an aversion to the color pink and fluffy curtains.  I can actually throw a football correctly.  I can bait a hook. I can throw a punch, even though I know that it will hurt a lot.  I don't know how to sew, and my cooking skills are negligible(in contrast to my fire starting skills).  But I do have a husband and a son who love me, and that's really the only tradition that counts in my book.

*Can somebody please tell me how you are supposed to look up a word that you can't spell in the first place?

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