Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blood, Sweat and Tears

First, the tears. So, they actually made me cry today. I thought that cynical me would find it all to be a boring, rote replay of all the sensitivity training I have done before. But, they got to me through my son. We did the White Privilege exercise with the list of Peggy McIntosh's white privileges. We circled those that applied to us, and then all stood up. We got to sit down as they counted down from 50, once they said the number we had circled. (My number was 31, by the way).

So, after I sat down, I watched all the Black women standing waiting for the countdown to get to single digits. I've done this before, and have come to terms with the fact that Dyke Two will always stand until very close to zero. I know this, and have worked through this. Obviously, I love her with everything in me. it pains me to know what she experiences. But, we have discussed this, and have created a truly mutual, equal partnership that is based in respect, love and honesty despite the fact that I will never stand with her through every single obstacle or incident.

But, today it struck me that Bigfella also will always stand longer than I will. My son, who grew inside me for nine months, who bounced on my cervix and bladder, and kicked my ribs, who shared my blood and nutrients as he grew, who I spent 23 long and arduous hours laboring to separate from my body, who I bring to my breast multiple times a day, will face a world I do not know. (I "knew" this before getting pregnant with a bi-racial child, but today I not only knew this in my head, but also in my heart).

I would gladly give up everything I have for Bigfella. For the first time in my life, there is somebody whose comfort, safety and success is more important to me than my own. (i am a very competitive person, so I have always wanted to be the one who was more successful). When he is hungry, he eats, whether I need to pee, or eat, or sleep. When he sheds tears, both my eyes and my breasts water in solidarity. If he needed one of my organs, I would give it to him without question. If there were any way to take his pain as my own, I would do it without hesitation. But, there is no way I can take this away from him, or experience it instead of him. In fact, I will be sending him out each day to face a world whose dangers and obstacles are invisible to me.

I thank G-d that my wife shares more than a birthday with my son, though I wish that this shared oppression were one that neither of them had to bear.

Next, the sweat: It is hotter than a closed up car on a summer day in the training room. Seriously, apparently the air conditioning doesn't work too well in the building. I leave each day sticky and smelly. And, the breastfeeding hormones only make it worse.

Finally, the blood: We had more blood in the diaper today. I thought I was being really careful, but apparently not. I think it was the goat cheese, even though I have read that goat's milk consumption by mama is usually OK for cow's milk sensitive breastfed babes. He also had eczema and a prickly looking diaper rash.

Tonight's assignment: What does being a girl mean to you? A woman? (for you heterozygous folks: what does being a boy mean to you? A man?) For the folks who don't fit neatly into the binary definitions of gender, well, apparently there is no assignment for you. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I am so not looking forward to this discussion. I hope the instructor will be including transgender and intersex issues. I so don't think they should be lumped into sexual orientation. I'm not writing anything, at least not tonight. There have already been plenty of discussions on so many parenting blogs about this issue.


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