along for the ride
I take my son along with me whenever possible. My reasons are 1/2 necessity + 1/2 defiance. I am not staying home because I don't have a sitter. Yoga is necessary for self care, so it that women's mixer at that boutique, or that jazz series in Pilsen, you get the idea.
I went into motherhood knowing I would be single. I made that decision at 20 because it hadn't occurred to me people would expect me to stop being myself. It never occurred to me that I would not be able to keep doing the things i loved or find new things to love. The truth of the matter is, it is much more difficult than I expected.
I often feel like we are invading spaces: snacks, activities, iPad in tow. Finding corners that can be colonized. Giving him the run down of what is "adult juice" and what is safe to drink. Navigating the uncomfortable adults bestowing strained smiles in my direction. Why are kids such a strange sight?
My son and I have an understanding. We do things for him and we do things for me. Relationships are two way streets, sometimes you have to walk on the other persons side. He also understands that I do not get a babysitter for things that are not 21+ or contain mature content, who can afford that?. I think it is important for him to see me taking care of myself and going about adult life with other adults.
This 'along for the ride' attitude has also had some unintended consequences:
1. It has strengthened our relationship. He often asks, "what are we doing?" and I give him the weekly breakdown our point him to out wall calendar.
2. I am much less stressed because I am not 'missing out'. I love to be out experiences art and culture. It doesn't even make sense to me that kids are often excluded. They will learn to adapt to the environments they are in.
3. He has expressed feeling included and "cool". I didn't realize how much he enjoys just coming along, gently resting his head on my shoulder on the CTA. Giving his breakdown of the nights event.
4. It normalizes marginalized people for him. Based on the events I enjoy he sees a wide range of people. Black female business owners, local musicians, skateboarding yogi blerds, queer black men in heels all in spaces that affirm them and their identity. He has very quickly picked up on the diversity of person-hood and presentation. I can see him shedding what he absorbed about what people "should" or "shouldn't" look like.
Spending those post events moments with him has made me appreciate our relationship on a different level. One day, his journey will not be so closely tied to mine and I hope when that time comes he thinks of inviting me along for his adventures.
A pie chart of how the activities have broken down this summer because why not. "Our Activities" are things that we both really want to attend, like the bike ride pictured to the left or family movie night.