Sparks of the past in through the looking glass.

  • Jan. 17, 2021, 12:44 p.m.
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Memories keep coming to me.

After a long day I ask David “What if they were just tired?”

I came home during every break from college and became my brother’s primary caretaker. I fed him, bathed him, put him to sleep, taught him colors and shapes and sight words and sharing. I can still recite the entirety of a favorite board book (” On the road … Here come the trucks!”) over ten years later. I did it because I loved him. I did it because it always seemed that no one else would. I was furious at my parents for a very long time.

But now, after a long day with our two year old, with months of forced isolation and fear weighing heavily on us, I think “What if they were just tired?” They were already 17 years into parenting when he was born. They knew I would care for him. Maybe they just needed a break. It’s still not an excuse, but it does give me pause.

When I was in 3rd grade, we had a class election for student council representative. I thought you weren’t supposed to vote for yourself, that it was unsportsmanlike in some way. I lost.

How much have I held myself back with self-gatekeeping? How many hobbies did I not get to enjoy, how much community did I miss out on because I thought you could only claim belonging or ownership if you were extreme and/or perfect? I follow a Premier League team now, the team we saw play mostly by chance when we visited London last fall. Sometimes I follow the games, sometimes I don’t. I can sort of casually discuss the team but readily admit when I don’t know. I wouldn’t have allowed myself that even a few years ago. I wouldn’t have bought a jersey. Or alternatively, I would have bought the jersey and harbored a lot of guilt about not “doing enough” as a fan.


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