Monday, November 2, 2009

The Heaviness of Having

I have had enough life experience, enough travel experience, enough intimate experience to understand how deeply privileged my life is. Although I grew up in the home of a single mom who struggled (and I remember needing to contribute my newspaper route earnings to keep the heat on), I am also well aware that my family had a net - a net mom never activated, but a net that kept our dreams intact and our family expectations high.

I also remember being at the grocery store with my mom one evening when I had babies who were small and mom's company was a treat.  I was complaining about something or other - perhaps student loans - perhaps the slow pace of moving from student life to professional life - but it was some sort of 'complaint' a daughter might share with her mom. I was complaining as I was mindlessly loading my grocery cart with milk, ice cream, cream cheese, bagels, bread, good coffee (never Folger's for me), brown rice, tofu, fresh fruit and vegetables....My mom stopped me. She said, "look at what you are doing." I looked into my cart. I remembered eating oatmeal for dinner with her. I remembered the many many times she bounced checks for groceries, or insisted that EVEN if we couldn't afford standing rib roast for the holiday we were having it! I swallowed and looked at her. Mom. Sage. Straight Talker. Hard Worker. Victor.

DAMN I MISS HER. She'd tire of my intellectualizing about this - but she'd also kick my butt into action instead of all the head talk.

The heaviness of having is haunting me. And, it's stretching me. I have commited my life to recognizing and acting on my privilege. The privilege of my color. The privilege of my class. I've been married twice - both times to doctors. My husband is the son of a Lutheran pastor. Both of us have had the privilege of upward mobility. Our color, his gender, our education all add to our privilege. I get this. I wear it every single day. I live it every single day.

Have you seen this?
Are you suprised? I am - even when I put in my income from being a public school teacher (notoriously underpaid - plug for fairer pay for public school teachers!).

Heavy with Having - I'm thinking about access to clean water today. I'm thinking about food today. I'm thinking about access to medicine today. Here, there, and everywhere.


Julie said...

'but she'd also kick my butt into action instead of all the head talk.' You are the most 'action' person that I have ever met. Your mom would be extremely proud of you.

Mindy and Baldwin said...

Wow, the global richness calculator is crazy. Thanks for posting that.