It was time for the pro-choice pitch. My heart was racing.
This was the most careful and yet stressful framing of the argument yet. Not on a panel, not to the press, not in a debate club, and not at a protest. It was my first discussion of the issue with my 9-year-old son.
Now this is a kid who is uber sensitive to animals and toddlers. He fucking LOVES them. He gets upset when bad things happen to cartoon babies. Or Beaker from The Muppets? Hell no, he won't even go anywhere near those violent, felt-abusing films. And good on him. I do love that about him. So the pitch had to be careful.
It came up because I had a magazine article opened in the bathroom with a photo of Cecile Richards and the headline, "The War On Women." Through the closed door I hear:
"The war on women?! Where's that??" Like it's a foreign military intervention.
I am alone. My husband is out. It's up to me. I prep myself: No knee-jerking, no emotional over-playing of my hand. Just the facts, ma'am. Or some of them. Because this is serious business -- this will determine his gut reaction for the next ten years. No one is a fan of abortion, so please don't send me any emails about how I'm going to hell. I had an agenda and I admit it. So piss off.
Whenever you have to boil down a political view to a 3rd grader, it really makes you clear about what you believe. This has happened to me several times. ("Well, yes, honey, those guys voting for that tax-cut really just care more that they keep their money than that they help poor children and their moms who can't get health care." Or "I guess they don't want to support school funds because they are done with school themselves... Yeah I know it's selfish, sweetie, but that's who they are.") Suddenly the world is black and white if only for a few blissful moments.
So I plunge in: You see, sweetie, sometimes women get pregnant when they don't want to -- they take this medicine to not get pregnant and it doesn't always work or maybe they forgot to take it. (Yeesh -- keep it simple, woman! You don't want to have to explain getting carried away by sex!) And maybe they are too poor or too old or too young or too sick or just don't want kids. But there are these people who are politicians who want to say that the women have to have the baby instead of having an operation to take out a little bunch of cells that will become a baby if they leave them in the mommy's tummy. (Forgive the anatomy lesson atrocity -- "tummy"?? That's for another day.)
And here's what my little feminist 9-year-old son replied:
Yaw!!! Bam!!!! Pro-choice in the house!!!
I swear to god I didn't feed him that line. He has never heard me talk about this issue. It just naturally came out of living with 2 feminists (Daddy included) for 9 years. How do ya like them apples?! In ya face, Santorum!
Two years ago during the Winter Olympics, we were watching the ice dancing, and out of the blue, my son (at the time 7) who has grown up with gay cousins and my gay best friend, turned to us and said (with the incredulous intonation of a 15 year old girl asking, Why you would wear that?), "Why is it always a boy and a girl?" And after a brief recovery period of elation, I quickly improvised an answer: "Yeah you're right, that is stupid. Maybe it's because one has to be big enough to lift the other?" (I didn't want to do anything but encourage his natural instinct.) "But when you're older, hon, there's this movie called Blades of Glory...."
Again. Bam! Pro-gay in the house!
Living in New York, Occupy Wall Street is all around us. There have been many a comment from him about how it all seems unfair, the whole economic situation. Just simple little statements. But often. That's my boy!
And from all of these experiences, as a feminist, pro-gay, liberal, bleeding heart pinko, commie mom, I am proud to look around, toss my superhero cape over my shoulders, smirk and say "Well, it looks as if my work here's done."
I know I know...'til he rebels and joins the Young Republicans in high school. But for the moment, let me fucking smirk.
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