Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Return to the mother ship


Hello, my lovely internets. I have missed you.

The semester is finished at last — only a few delinquents left to submit late grades for — and I am looking forward to catching up with my blog writing and reading. The end of the semester, with its inevitable headaches, long nights, and assorted flusterations, was also when Sugar’s job sent her overseas again while the Bean simultaneously began having another growth spurt and begin teething for his molars. Being extra, extremely, omg hungry while it really, really hurts to eat is, it turns out, a pretty wretched combination.

The moment my grades were in, we piled into a borrowed car and headed north. The thing about living with a baby but without a car is that you never know how a car ride will go, since so much time passes between them. Let’s just say that I now know more about the Westfield mall, in Orange, Connecticut, than I ever expected to. Thank God, he slept after that, at least a little.

All that driving was worth it, though, to be here, on the campus of our shared alma mater. (You’re totally shocked at which school it is, am I right? Not predictable At All, that one.) I really do love this place and its people. I love seeing old friends, but I also love that the other alums I meet for the first time are almost always kindred spirits. It’s beautiful, and I feel so glad that I broke the (rarely kept) taboo on dating within the dorm (“house booty is bad booty”), since this way we get to go to twice as many reunions. That’s not the only reason I married her, of course, but it didn’t hurt….

[lest you think I’ve gone entirely soft and sweet, I will report that I have already seen walking on campus one fellow alum I would gleefully push off the dock. Sisterly feeling is not always positive. She was pushing a stroller, which annoys me, my own stroller notwithstanding. Yes, I know that’s hypocritical, and no, I don’t care.]

It turns out it’s also a very pleasant place to bring a baby. Plenty of grass to gambol on and wood chips to chew, a range of acceptable breakfast food in the dining hall, easily charmed students to smile at. It occurs to me that we’d better see if my father will take him to his reunions sometimes — which I have extremely fond childhood memories of — just so he doesn’t think boys can’t go to college.

My parents, who have three advanced degrees between them, claimed to others when I was a child that their only firm educational goal for me was to graduate from high school. It’s an open question how much truth was in that declaration; I was such a nerdy kid that it must have been obvious early that they were unlikely to me to push me to go to college, and it’s transparently evident now that my father wishes I had gone to med school. (and I wish he’d said as much at the time; I was such a pleaser I would probably have done it and have some money now. I still think I’d basically enjoy a medical education — it’s just that I don’t especially want to be a doctor.).

Still, I agree in principle with the idea of high school as non-negotiable, everything else up for discussion. The economic benefits to a college degree are significant, but we certainly know smart, successful, happy people without them. I hope that if the Bean doesn’t turn out like Sugar and me in that respect, that we will celebrate and appreciate what he does love to do.

…and now he is up from his nap, ready to show us what he loves to do today.

16 thoughts on “Return to the mother ship

  1. Hi Bionic,

    Lovely to hear from you. I have been wondering how you’ve been doing.

    Q. and I are very conscious that we don’t want to drive E. away from the idea of university and from a love of learning, given that we are academics. I would hate for his teenage rebellion stage to become “I hate school”. We certainly would like him to do something else after high school, but it doesn’t have to come with a degree.

    Glad you are having a great reunion. More pics of the Bean, please! (There are pics of E. on a public visibility on my blog- I’ll be locking the posts sometime this week.)

  2. Oh my old stomping grounds – that area of CT, sadly not your alma mater. Even when you do drive kids frequently you never can be quite sure what to expect. Happy all went well. Looking forward to your wit and cynicism in the coming posts!

  3. So glad to hear that your reunion went well (aside from quality time at the mall)! We are heading up to mine in early June and I am so looking forward to it, except that all of my friends’ kids are like 7 years old. But oh well. Funny how we all try to set expectations for our children that are not onerous but yet still encourage them to do good anyway. But in my family, if I wasn’t going to college, well… I was out!

  4. [intoning]..and you’ll shall love your child so much that even unto malls you shall go, yay, verily, unto the very ends of the earth, and by that I mean Ikea, and those places with the coloured balls the kids dive into..

    I looked at the Smith site, and now I’m having a yearning for further further education. It’s so pretty, I feel that alone would make me more intelligent.

    • Srsly. I think that certainly contributed to my braininess in that era. Every time I am there I feel a wallop of smarts enter my noggin. Something about the slate roofs, perhaps? Could be the way every tree has a label with its common and botanical names….

  5. Sounds so lovely. Despite our being different class years as well, S. and I have missed all the reunions between us at your rival school two hours east. And we’ll never get to go with a baby. Next chance will be S’s 15th in ’14, so if we go, we’ll be dragging a couple of 3 year-olds! Although that will be its own kind of cute, I suppose.

    Have fun–will be demanding pics of the Bean in Smith gear, natch! 🙂

    • Are you kidding? It will be far beyond cute. You must go. I command it. The kids that age at this one seemed so thrilled at getting to stay up late and play while their parents sat around drinking wine with old friends. Quite idyllic for all concerned.

  6. IVE MISSED YOUR POSTS! Welcome back, wiitty, friend. It sounds like once again, we are in a similar teething/eating tends as you! And I cant WAIT to take Iz to my reunion in early June — also a lovely new england campus, miles of grass, and VT cows to moo at – lovin’ on small liberal arts colleages these days!

  7. Welcome back. I work with many people who went to med school but didn’t particularly desire to be doctors. They’re called radiologists.

    I kid, if any radiologists happen to read this. It’s the pathologists I meant*


    * also kidding.

    • Aha! Now we’ll see if that pathologist friend of mine — the one who said she’d comment if only I switched to wordpress — is still lurking or if she’s abandoned me entirely….

  8. I know it was probably not at the forefront of what you were thinking when you wrote this post, but it’s brought up all kinds of feelings for me about my expectations for Juju. C and I both went to state schools (Bachelor’s and Master’s), as did our parents, and I assume Juju will too. I never felt like a private college education was within reach for me because of the cost. Even with scholarships an in-state public university was a stretch financially. I worked close to full time through both degrees. But now I wonder if I’m not aiming high enough for Juju.

    The other set of feelings this brought up for me is how much of a child’s future is already decided (OK, heavily suggested) from birth. I teach children of enlisted soldiers. The parents are in their (early to mid) 20’s and there is nary a college degree to be seen. Many probably have GED’s, though I’ve never asked. Even for my really bright kids I think a 4 year public degree is a bit out of reach; their parents just don’t value education strongly enough to make that happen. A few will probably make it to college and a few of those may even graduate, but I expect the majority to follow in their parents’ footsteps. And, I guess, who am I to say that’s not good enough for them? It wouldn’t be good enough for MY kid, but they’re not my kids. It makes me sad to think about though. I have a very bright little boy this year who wants to be an engineer. But he’s missed 38 days of school this year. Unless something changes really soon there’s just no way he’ll ever become an engineer. But I guess he’ll be a good infantryman. :I

    Thanks for letting me digress here! I agree that photos of the Bean are needed, and soon.

  9. So good to hear from you. Your post makes me want to take Tadpole to my next college reunion, even though it is way too far away to do easily. Hope the Bean’s “wretched combination” improves soon–that sounds pretty miserable for everyone.

  10. I love it when you visit your ever so mysterious alma mater. It seems like it was such a classically good college experience, and that it’s a source of joy for you to be there. (Probably also it reminds me of Gaudy Night, one of my favorite books…) I also just love what you say about hoping you’ll be appreciative of the Bean’s choices, because it acknowledges that it might not be easy. My parents got to watch me do poorly in high school (sort of–Fs in some classes and As in others), not be able to get into a good college (what, you don’t like all those Fs, colleges?) and have to find my own way. I’m sure it was very anxiety provoking, knowing I was smart and wondering what the fuck would happen to me. And certainly going into the whole thing focused on your child and not on what you want for your child seems very wise. He’s a lucky fellow, even if only because you haven’t murdered him for the teething and eating and not sleeping.

  11. I will totally hand hold all three of you through post high-school educational endeavors or lack thereof. Now that I count, my folks have three advanced degrees between them and I have nothing. Well, except a job I love and a house paid for with what was to be college money.
    And cats. I have a lot of cats.

  12. Pingback: Big Phat Photo Post | Bionic Mamas

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