I do not have one picture to show you today. And I'm not sure why. I even went to town and saw Jessie and Levon. Jessie's birthday is Sunday and I took her for a little birthday shopping. We went to the World Market and she got a few small things and so did I. It's been so very, very long that I was even in a store like that and it's as if I had completely forgotten that one can indeed buy cute and functional things for the house. At first I was completely overwhelmed thinking that I should buy everything from darling cards, to shelves for plants, to roomy baskets, to pretty hooks to hang things on.
What I did buy was a new dress and a coffee mug. The dress is too sheer to wear off the property without a slip-like garment under it but it has nice pockets and it is all cotton, loose and as comfy as wearing a cloud. So there!
We had a nice lunch at a Mediterranean place and enjoyed our dolmades and falafel and so forth. Levon got chicken nuggets and french fries which probably are not authentic Mediterranean foods but he enjoyed them. He was a hoot today. When I walked into their house I said something to him- I can't remember what- and he said, "I am not even believing you."
"I'm not even believing you either," I said.
And it went from there.
I stopped by Publix on my way home to buy the ingredients for meat balls. Gibson is spending the night tomorrow and that is what he wants me to cook him. Spaghetti and meat balls. We've had chicken spaghetti twice this week already but we will gladly eat more tomorrow for our Gibson. I told him that his grandfather would have to pick him up because I'll be doing the school pick-up and babysitting for August and Levon tomorrow as Jessie is working and he was totally cool with that. "Oh, Boppy and I will probably just play Oculus," he said. So when I got home I made up the meatballs and cooked them so at least that will be done when I get home.
I went to Lily's new Publix and my check-out lady is a woman who used to work with Lily at her old Publix but she moved to this one quite awhile ago. We discussed Lily's move and how they used to work together and so forth and she asked me if I worked.
Now this lady is from India and she must be at least in her upper seventies. I have always thought of her with the hugest respect. She started out as a bagger at Publix which is a pretty physical job and her English then was adequate, but not great. Whenever I meet someone who has immigrated to our country, especially an older person, who is now making a new life in a country so alien to them and who is having to learn a new language and new customs and...well- all of it...I am awed at their bravery, their strength, their determination. To me, these are the very people we should want to live here. And this lady is such a good example of that.
I always feel a bit of guilt when I go through her line because of how she has made her place here and is surviving with her own work and intelligence, despite her age and the so-obvious difficulties, and when she asked me if I worked, my guilt tripled.
Of course, of course I "work" but it's all on my own terms, and generally within my own timeframe. If I were presented with being in a situation like hers, I really do not know how I'd survive. So I answered her as I generally do when I am asked about working which is to say that I help sometimes with grandchildren and that we have a garden and chickens and I keep busy with things like that and that is all true but it's not like I'm plowing fields or managing a flock of chickens that we depend on for meat and eggs. Looking at it all through a certain lens, my "work" is almost a hobby.
I think about this a lot and always have as I have mostly been a "stay-at-home" mom although looking back, I did generally have some little side-hustle of work going on and with four children spread out so far in age, I am not sure how I managed to do it all. But because nothing but the small part-time jobs paid anything, and they did not pay much, I have never truly felt as if what I did or what I now do, is worth a damn.
I know this isn't true but lately I've been thinking a great deal about how our society still deems women as a little less-than men. We women internalize that to a degree that is actually quite unhealthy, even in the best of circumstances. There are so many residual side-effects of this born-in-the-bone teaching and belief that we do not even think about. Do not even realize.
And speaking for myself, at least, I am absolutely a victim of this patriarchal thinking and it does not serve me at all.
I find it mind-blowing that it has taken me all of these years to see how these issues affect all women- and men! It is so much more complicated and profound than "equal pay for equal work" or any of the issues we think of as "feminist" still. It is how women perceive themselves and the work they do and what their own worth is.
Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about today.
It is certainly worth considering.
Thoughts? And please- none of us needs to hear the trite lip-service that women and mothers have been paid forever about the many glories that only women can experience. We have heard it before. We know. We know.
I also know that it is 2022 and here in America, at least, and specifically in states like Florida, we are being told once again that we do not even own our own bodies.
I am old, I am tired. And there is so much work to be done.