Thursday, July 24, 2008

Alumni Event

Spiffy invitation arrived in mail promising casual family cookout
at the home of someone who lives in a very expensive town
yeah right
Nervous, convinced we'd be the youngest alum
Decided to attend anyway

Cookout was catered
By company Ren Man is working for over the summer
Ren Man has inside scoop:
58 adults
10 children
ribs, potato salad, pasta salad, chicken, hotdogs

Arrived at insanely large house
Rang bell
Knocked on door
No answer
Peeked around one side of house
Spotted tent through windows on other side of house
Walked around to front of house
Spotted a man who looked like the new president of alma mater
He said "hi" and waited with me while I waited for Ren Man and Ark Boy to catch up
Commented on Farm Girl's cute-ness
Ren Man caught up
President introduced himself to Ren Man and shook his hand before turning to me
Made huge conscious effort to keep jaw from hitting ground
Resolved never to donate to college
Very offended

Walked to tent
Ark boy spotted water
Yes, the house was on the water
make that the ocean
Ark Boy walked purposefully across enormous lawn to stand on dock
Felt very isolated sitting in corner of tent
and young
too young and unsure to socialize
Ren Man came back towards tent signing "potty"
Gave Ren Man diaper/wipes and he took Ark Boy to car to change him
Meanwhile two families with kids arrived
Felt ridiculous standing in corner of tent with wrapped Farm Girl and no one else around
Perhaps I appear unapproachable
Impossible to imagine
Can think of no better explanation

Finally Ark Boy and Ren Man return and Ark Boy discovers swing set that is now being utilized by other children.
Strike up conversation with a couple
Very friendly
Discuss mutually agreed upon importance of avoiding daycare
Wife agrees that it's hard to be isolated and solely responsible for offspring and childrearing
Feel reassured about being at alumni event with sexist president at intimidatingly expensive house
Dinner is served
Sit with another family

"Do you work?" Asks mom.
What am I to say?
"Yes, I work 24/7 with no weekends or holidays but I think it's worth it"
In reality I say: "I just finished my masters, now I'm staying home"
So short answer is "no"
but why?
Work much longer harder hours than ever when working at a "real" job
But my "job" doesn't count
Can't resist
Ask: "Do you work?"
"No (sounding ashamed *shock* despite the 3 sons sitting with her).... I started making handmade stationary but it's only out of my home"
Reply enthusiastically about her stationary business
She self depreciates
Few minutes later when speaking with Ren Man she refers to a job she has (that's right- "haS" not "haD" at a local University

Later speak with Dad of yet another family
Again we talk of challenges of raising a family/ mom staying at home etc.

Interesting that these women- all with at least Bachelors- are choosing to stay home
and yet also feeling somewhat ashamed and restricted by this decision

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