Parenting with a soundtrack ...
A-L-E-X-A-N-D-E-R ... the steady beat of the soundtrack to "Hamilton" is playing through the speakers in the truck as my daughter and I drive down the back roads between towns on the way to a horse show in the hill country. We are singing along and laughing and trying to get all the words to the rap sections and giggling uncontrollably when we cant. The road seems to stretch for miles upon miles ahead of us. We both lean back in the truck seats a little deeper to get more comfortable for the trip ahead.
A short time passes and Kylie leans forward and turns the volume down a little bit and glances over at me, "Mom?" she asks with a hint of curiosity in her voice, "What was it like working as a dispatcher?"
Hmm, I sigh deeply. Responding a little to solemnly "I guess it was like riding a roller coaster I couldn't get off of. There where some times that the days would be great and we were able to save a life or solve a problem, and there were some days that I felt like the devil himself was sitting in the chair next to me narrating the calls and the responses." I glance over at her, "why do you ask?"
Well ... she has an eyebrow arched ... "you work a lot" she states matter of fact. "Yes I do," I respond to her, still unsure where this conversation is leading but curious to find out. "Well, my bible teacher says that a mothers place is to stay home and raise the kids while the husband goes out and makes all the money." She continues with a slight hint of irritation in her voice ... "That children should be raised in a two parent family with the mother staying home and keeping house ..."
- lets pause real quick, its at this moment that I felt every feminist bone in my body recoil against this woman. She doesn't know me or my daughter or how we landed in a single parent household. I work incredibly hard to allow my daughter to go to a private Christian school and have the best education.
I draw a deep breath as she draws her matter of fact statements to a close. "How does that make you feel?" I ask her softly as we continue with our journey both physically and emotionally. "Honestly Mom, I feel frustrated." Okay I nod, continue. "Well ... she doesn't really know our family or how hard you work, so I find it very short sighted of her to assume we have less because we have no male in our house."
Yall, that last statement made me take my foot of the gas and look at her. She shrugs her shoulders and looks over at me. "How does it make you feel momma?" ... I just nodded my head at her and put my foot back on the gas and kept going. "Honey, I don't think I could have said it any better." "My feelings align with yours, pretty dang close."
She nods her head, "Thank you momma for working as hard as you do," she mumbles and reaches over and pats my hand on the center console. She settles back into her seat "Can you tell me a story about your time as a dispatcher ..." she asks as the drive roles into its third hour. I laugh out loud a little bit at her curiosity about my former life as a dispatcher "Oh honey, let me tell you a story about an officer and how he tazed himself with his own tazer ... " I return with humor in my voice.
Going back to the soundtrack to Hamilton, there is a line in one of the songs "I am the one thing in life I can control, I am imitable, I am an original." This is the motto of our family, we can't control societies perception of our single parent household, but we can control how we act in response. We can control how we move forward in life, one foot in front of the other, with love and not judgement.