My first Son was born 2 months after I closed my Café.
It was the prudent thing to do, stop throwing good money after bad…the country had changed so much, after 9-11. “Foreign Food” was now, somehow, unpatriotic. Especially French Food.(They didn’t support our Imperial Adventures)
I tried to “keep things going”…scaling back, moving back into the Mobile Kitchen…but it just wasn’t working. Not after having a Gourmet Restaurant.
Mom and stepdad tried to watch the baby, after his Momma’s leave ended(one month)…Many times, I had him with me, in the trailer/kitchen…Then a position opened…being the nursing aide for my Great Grandma, who was living with my Mom. I was free to stay home with the kid…and be on call 24/7 for Nanny….and for my Mom….and for the Farm.
When he was 2, a (it turns out) Crazy, Right Wing…former single mom…with oodles of cash, and delusions of management skills…sought me out, and hired me to run her little café.
It was 2 years(almost) of disaster, punctuated by Gourmet Victories…I shone, when I wasn’t fighting with management, over integrity and quality, and the drunk other chef, who for some reason, was not subject to my lead(I was “Kitchen Manager”, which in other parts of the world, translates as “Chef de Cuisine”).
I quit twice, due to Bosslady’s crazy. I saw the inevitable sinking of that ship….and wanted no part of her hard headed,headlong encounter with Iceberg.
I was blamed for the Café’s demise, of course.
This Good Upstanding, Rich Republican Woman had no qualms about lying through her teeth, when it suited her purpose.
Thus began my Retreat.
I held a few more jobs…more than 40 miles away, mostly….
This coincided with my Legs finally disintegrating…and gasoline making it’s rapid climb.
It was harder and harder…and much more Painful…every day…to do the Job I had done for so long, and the pay didn’t cover the gas, let alone make my rime spent worthwhile.(simple cost/benefit analysis)
My wife, and I decided that…well…someone needed to stay home with the kid….and her job, at the school, both made more $$$, and was certainly more stable than foodservice. This was the early middle of the Bush Darkness, after all. The local economy had already entered near Depression.
I entered partial Retirement. I kept a weekend cooking job…until I couldn’t do even those 2 nights per week. Nanny had died(RIP), so that source of income was gone(RIP). I had debts from the Café…creditors calling all the time, who wouldn’t take eggs or green beans…
Not only was I so very Painful all the time, but there were no jobs, any more…out here, in the Wilderness.
I tried the supermarket…Produce manager…for a month…could not do the work(akin to hauling hay)…and my integrity took a blow, as there was Nothing I could do to improve on the shitty fruits and vegetables on offer, there.
At about this time, we were pregnant with my second Son…We decided, screw it! I would be Momma.
I raised those boys. I changed diapers, the whole bit. All the Housewifely Duties were mine.
It was very educational…on many levels.
Gender Roles…the way our civilization treats,1 Mommas,2 Children,3 Husbands who don’t work, but instead take care of the kids. And 4, Cripples.
I applied for Disability, when my Doctor told me to.
( that odyssey is covered elsewhere)
The distrust, the derision…the snickering, and the default opinions of all the hypermasculine drunkards, doing their rooster dance…I was considered Effete…Lazy(do the work, before you pass judgment. Housewifery is woefully underpaid) …this period was, sadly, a low point in my life. My psychology took a major blow, and I receded into Hermithood…agoraphobia, panic attacks, a sense of worthlessness, over my failed business, and my inability to earn bacon…and my increasing immobility, and Pain.
I have learned, first hand, how little our Civilisation cares for the weak, the sick, the Female, the worker, and…most of all… the Children…especially once their Born, and are actually Persons.
On Mother’s Day, this is what I think about…this whole morass of issues, all tied together…whose symbol is Mom….everything Mom stands for.
Nurture. Nature. Caring. Helping.
Our utter Failure in this area of Human Life, I lay at the feet of the Right Wing of American Politics…how heartless they have made us.
The recent War on Women, is just a belated effort by Democrats, to call attention(for self serving electoral reasons) to an actual War that has been going on, quite one sidedly, for a Generation….or more.(like, the whole History of “Civilisation”?)
All of the Mother’s Purview. Health and Welfare, and caring for one another. Compassion. Love.
These have been given No, Zero, “Market Value”….they are Worthless Things. All of the lip flapping doesn’t hide this horrible fact.
The Underlying Hatred of Humanity is ignored…but it is there.
I have seen it. Felt it.
This is the Civilisation we have allowed to be constructed.
Is this, really, the sort of Civilisation we want?
Do the economists, myopically buried in their ledgers, masturbating to hypothetical Randian, Freidmanite Fantasies….do they really deserve such power over our daily lives?
Are Selfishness and Greed our Highest Virtues?
Must Everything have a pricetag?
And the Politicians! On the one side, cowards, refusing to stand up to this onslaught…or, if they’re Blue Dogs, saying they Care, while doing the opposite.
On the other side…Hatred of Life, while carrying a flag, and pretending to be “Pro Life”. Is this posturing for Avarice still fooling so many?
Is this the best we can do?
Go ask your Mom…