Jul 31, 2008
Kansas Sunflower Power
As recent guests at a surprise house warming party, I was again reminded how funny it is to visually circle the faces of the Kansas prairie caricatures normally represented at functions I attend. The only bad part of our circle is the usual lone pallid color (I know, I know!). How many beards, how many straw hats, how many denim overalls do I spot? Who farms or grows their own food, who lives off the grid, and who built their own house? Who is Mennonite, Unitarian, or atheist? Who thinks the world is running on environmental crisis mode with the bloody end very near (everybody!)? Who is hippy, who is socially conservative? Who drinks way too much, brews their own beer, who abstains? Who votes against the republicans, votes anything but the two main parties because they are so far left, and who is borderline communist? Who is worldly, who is a hermit? Who runs with their mouth, who never speaks? Who's truck is dirtiest and who never drives? Who paints, sculpts, writes, or makes music and who is a scientist? Whatever the type or characteristic, almost all are welcome. Even the rare few in make up and clean shiny shoes. Especially if you are youthful. Seems the leading earth shakers in our town won't be around much longer. Oh, and the house that we warmly celebrated was, of course, a home spun straw-bale house in the midst of prairie, no electricity, and dirt floors. As one party goer put it poetically in the middle of the house tour: "ewwwwww.".
What I love about social gatherings these days is watching my boys playing & running with the big kids. They could care less about babies and new wiggly walkers, but will follow a friendly fast moving kid. Once they're comfortable, which comes more readily in this current life stage, they are off while mama and papa allow other people to take care of them. What a break for us. Freedom! Yeah, I'm one of those pesky mamas who will let you carry and run after my child as he reaches for unmentionables all night long.
No, that's not my kids I'm looking at.
How will my Ethiopian triplets fit into this Kansas microcosm as they age? How do I fit in? Oh, I have (almost) let go the high school notion of fitting in and now I worry most of all about fitting in myself. I mean me inside me. The most important thing is to have the confidence to be your best self wherever yourself may be and allow others the room to do the same. Corny, isn't it? Even if sometimes you don't feel like talking, or maybe you feel like saying stupid (but harmless) things really loud. Who cares. Like the time my brother and I were in Seattle with my mom and he got so hotly embarrassed when my mom decided to drag what looked like a mini shopping cart behind her as we walked the streets. I said, Big Brother, who cares, nobody here will ever see us again. F 'em. Of course when I returned east, a notable professor asks me, didn't I see you in Seattle? One of my greatest hopes for my sons is that they will always be comfortable with who and what they are, even if they are not always comfortable where they are.