Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just thinking on it

My grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday last November. She was born in Baltimore in 1928. She remembers when Black people couldn't sit in the White section of the train. She has told me about not being able to try on hats in stores downtown. She was almost40 years old, a college educated teacher and mother of two when Martin Luther King was killed.

When she went to the polls last November to vote, she carried pictures of my great-grandmother, my great-uncle, and other relatives who have passed on, who never got to see the day that we would be voting for a black president. She called me, near hysterics as he won, witnessing a moment that she never dreamed that she would see in her lifetime.

In a couple weeks my son will be four months old. In a few years, when he learns the name of our President, it will be Barack Obama. I am celebrating today, not just for the sole purpose that the President is Black, but that I can share this moment with my grandmother, who was born into a world where this moment was impossible, and my son, who will never know a world where a Black President lies outside of the boundaries of possibility

Monday, January 19, 2009


Disclaimer: I'm holding the baby and typing one handed so please excuse any horrible errors or misspellings

Last night, Steve and I were able to hand Logan off to his parents for a few hours so that we could go out with some friends and watch our team, the Ravens, lose miserably to the Steelers. As it always does at co-ed functions, at some point the conversation turned to issues within male-female relationships. There were four women at the table other than myself, all of whom believed in the sentiment that if a husband were making enough money and taking care of all the bills, as long as he didn't bring home any babies or diseases, he was free to sleep with whomever he wanted. Maybe I am naive, or a little idealistic, but I was disturbed by this.

Its not that I didn't realize that many women felt this way. I guess that I just associated the type of thinking with a certain type of woman, i.e., the type of woman that is working hard to score an NBA player i.e. a goldigger. I think in some way I take comfort in being "regular folks", who have chosen regular lifestyles instead of compromising themselves in so many ways to ensure an endless supply of cars and handbags. I never quite realized that the real reason why we were regular folks was because at some point we missed out on the money train and ended up with our regular hard working husbands who, because of their relative lack of financial status, must be punished to a lifetime of fidelity.

During the conversation I mostly stayed quiet, mostly because I was a little too tipsy to provide an articulate debate for my unpopular opinion. However today, as I've sobered up, the conversation has been on my mind.

Why are we as women so willing to sell ourselves short of what we deserve? When my husband and I said our wedding vows, I don't remember a financial exemption clause. Nothing that said abide by these rules, unless you make over 1 million dollars a year and then they don't matter any more. If I as your wife am giving you 100 percent of myself, and I am your wife all day everyday, then its not ok for you to in return give me 75. Furthermore, if a man can't respect me enough not to sleep with hoards of groupies, how can I expect him to respect me enough not to bring me diseases or any of the other unpleasantries of that lifestyle.

I hate to go on a tirade or get on my soap box, but I often fell that women setting the bar so low makes it impossible for it ever to be raised any higher. When I got married, I didn't do it so that I could be his "main woman", I did it so that I could be his only woman. I am not so naive as to believe that infidelity doesn't exist anyway even if you don't "allow" it, but just because it could happen, is that enough to lower your expectation so that even the standard never exists?

I guess some of it also has to do with what you find important in life. My husband works hard, 12 hour days most of the time, doing manual labor, and he is far from being a millionaire. No he can't buy me a Porsche or whisk me off to Milan. But he provides all that we need for our family. I know that at night when he lies down its next to me and I feel like I am the only woman in the world, a feeling that no amount of money can compensate for.

But I guess thats just what is important to me. Should money be an excuse for bad behavior? I'm curious as to what others think. Your comments are appreciated...