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Future, Not Perfect, part 1

To my conceived-of, but never conceived child,

I have always imagined you a girl. Genea is the name I would have given you. You are not so present in my thoughts these days, but years ago, I did dream you, imagined the life I would give to you: bearing you, nursing you, swaddling you, rocking you, cradling you into the night, and for all of your days.

These are the stories I may have told you of your ancestors. But first I will begin with how you came not to be. That story begins even before I was born.

Mary Daly describes Goddess as “Be-ing”, a verb, not a static state.[i] While you exist solely in my imagination, having never come fully into your own being-ness, you are nevertheless part of Goddess, as am I.

To choose to be a parent, as a lesbian or gay person, is a very active choice.

There is no happenstance (unless you also sleep with someone of the opposite sex).

Choices, perceived and real.

How many heterosexual people (other than those who struggle with infertility) choose to be parents? Make the effort, intend for this child or that? How many follow along in society’s or their parents’ or peers’ expectations and bring forth life, unsought, unbidden, but cherished nevertheless.

They, they, are swept along in the tide of continuity, in the linking of their thoughts and vitalities from one generation to the next, stretching back, reaching forward … into infinity. They do not question it. There is no question to ask; the unasked question’s answer is provided.

[Oaks let their acorns fall where they may, knowing but not caring about the next sprout, or caring deeply, but not knowing.]

© Barbara C. Daughter, 19 October 2011

Barbara, and her twin, Robert, at 11 1/2 weeks old


Genea, I begin at the story of my birth: When my Mother was pregnant with me (over 60 years ago), the doctor knew she was pregnant with twins but didn't tell her because he “didn't want to upset the mother”. When I ask Mama (as she prefers to be called) to tell me more about this, she wonders about her memory, and seems to excuse him: “Dr. McDonough was just a family doctor, not an obstetrician or pediatrician. I think he knew - [that she was pregnant with twins, but he didn’t tell me, because] - he told me I was the nervous type.”[ii] He didn't tell my Father either, because Dad would have just told her. But my Dad did know before my Mama; she was “knocked out” when she gave birth. Earlier, the doctor had sent my Dad off to work, “it’ll be a while,” and finally called him to tell him the news. Around midnight, he returned, to find his wife “in the ward” while their babies slept in incubators in the nursery. We had been whisked off, since babies were kept separate from their mothers in those days. My Dad insisted that he and my Mama wanted to see and hold us, so the staff relented, and wheeled her in her bed into the hallway, and brought us from the nursery, so we could all be together.

My parents had decided if they had a boy, to name him after my Father: Robert William. If they had a girl, she'd be Barbara Jean (my middle name after my Mother's maid-of-honor who had recently died). Well, lo & behold, about a month early, there were two of us! So, my Dad told my Mama that she needed to get some “credit” too. Her name is Dorothy Carol, but she has always gone by “Carol”. Thus, I was named “Barbara Carol.” Darling Genea, you know I have had no children, but special cats have shared their lives with me. One of them had my name as her middle name. Brigid, the one I called my “Kitty-Girl”, I held especially close to my heart.

Check back next week for more ...

[1] In order to differentiate between poetry, conversation, prayer and academic portions, I have used different fonts.

[i] Mary Daly, Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), xii. [ii] (Dorothy) Carol Boette, phone conversation, October 15, 2011.


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