Oh, Mr. DeMille
I accepted lass’s call for volunteers on this meme, in which she interviews me with five questions. If you want to play along, the last paragraph tells you what to do.
1. What was the most surprising thing you found out about yourself after becoming a parent?
Hmm. There are many, many surprising things and things that continue to surprise me. Becoming a parent is a wonderfully clarifying experience, or at least it has been for me. Suddenly priorities over which I had previously waffled became startlingly clear. That was surprising. But perhaps the most surprising to me was how much it made me do some things that in my feminist upbringing, I always swore I’d never do: change my name and stay home with my kid. The first one of those was perhaps even more of a surprise, because I really never thought I’d consider it, especially getting married in my thirties. But I found it was extremely important to me that our family all had the same name. Hyphenation was not an option for me since my first name is already hyphenated. Too many hyphens seemed like a parody of a British novel. Since then, I have often had people ask for advice about the name change thing when they’re about to get married. I’ve always said, “do what’s important to you.” And you may not know what that is at the wedding — maybe that’s why they give you a year get-out-of-your-name-free card. The staying home thing took me a while to figure out, as I talked myself out of successful interviews for jobs I should have wanted and all kinds of reasonable child care arrangements. I’m glad I had the chance to do it. And just the same, I’m ready to go back if I can.
2. A benefactor has agreed to fund you for a year. There are no strings attached – you can do whatever you’d like for 12 months, practical or frivolous, and have it all paid for by this person. What will you do?
How much money does this benefactor have? Would s/he start a foundation with me at the head? Because giving away someone else’s money for a year could be interesting. Selfishly, though, I’d love to yank AJ out of school for a year and travel in southeast Asia while homeschooling him, starting with a visit to my brother. Maybe I could combine the two. I know my brother has some ideas about where charitable giving is needed in that part of the world. And while we’re at it, I’d like him to pay for all our family’s living expenses so Mr. Spy can take a leave of absence from his regular work in order to write that book he wants to write. And then, of course, I’d want to write a book about the year too. Perhaps the benefactor can also find us publishers.
3. What is your biggest fear?
It’s a toss up between losing AJ and being incapacitated. I don’t deal well with my own personal weakness. But AJ’s loss is the one that haunts my dreams. I can’t imagine a life after that.
4. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you think was the most valuable?
My moral compass, although my mother will tell you that was innate, my conviction that I can enact change, and the sense of security that yielded my optimism, my fundamental belief that no matter what happens, things will work out okay in the end.
5. Is there anything in your past that would preclude you from serving as the President of the United States?
Well, I was questioned by the FBI over theft of government property (it was an accident, I swear!), but it was resolved eventually by them determining that I was just a clueless college student, so I don’t know that it would be held against me. [I have written about this story before, but I can't seem to locate the post. The short version: I was heading down the stairs of my dorm to grab the airport shuttle for Christmas break when one of my bags broke. There was a mail bag next to the trash can in the lobby, where it had been for weeks after the mailman ditched it. It was a sturdy canvas bag with a place for a lock, so I dumped my stuff in it, grabbed a padlock from my room, and left. I checked the bag and got home with no problems, but on the way back, it was confiscated, along with most of my clothes inside. A month later, after lots of nasty conversations with investigators in which I explained my story and they told me I shouldn't have done it, it was returned with no explanation.] Besides that, I really have smoked but not inhaled (not through lack of trying, but through complete inability to figure out how to do it). But in light of my state’s current track record in government, I think my failure to have any of my attempts at illegal activity actually result in something illegal is probably the biggest barrier between me and public office.
If you want to play along, leave a comment and ask to be interviewed and I’ll think of 5 questions to ask you. After I email you your questions (I’ll be nice, I promise…heh…), post your answers on your blog, then link back to this post.