"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We live in a community that grows a lot of produce. We also have a community of migrant workers. So, every year at right about now, many of my children's friends and classmates move to Florida and return in the spring. Today Princess mentioned that her teacher told them that a classmate had moved to Florida. Buddy said, "Mom, why do some people have to move a lot?" I reminded him that people who pick fruit and vegetables for a job move to wherever the fruit and vegetables are growing; otherwise they wouldn't have any work and wouldn't be able to buy what they need. And Buddy said, "but why don't they just work in a bank, like Daddy?"

When you get a question like that, you have a lot of choices for an answer. It's so tempting to blow it off and give a semi-fake answer, because it's such a difficult subject. Because, why doesn't everyone just work at a nice, steady, year-round, clean, over-the-poverty-line-incomed bank? Because they can't, that's why. Because my children come from a family where both parents have four-year degrees. And that family comes from family that could provide and/or assist that secondary education. Those families have at least two generations behind them that had enough to eat. That weren't worried or afraid on a regular basis. That had warm homes and safety. My children have privelege.

The problem with privilege is that it usually goes unrecognized. I know it's "normal" for children to only see what they don't have comparatively, but I don't want that for them. Especially for Buddy, who has know nothing but minor and temporary inconvenience. Never need. Never fear. I want them to know we have the things we do because we're lucky. Not because we did something right or better than someone else. Lucky. Lucky we come from generations of work ethic. Lucky we haven't felt we'd give our children a better chance by moving to a different country that doesn't speak the language we speak. Lucky we had parents able to care for us and teach us how to function in a society. Lucky we were born where we were born when we were born. That's it. Lucky.

Buddy's questions stopped after I told him what college costs. That gave him something to chew on for a while. But the conversation isn't done. It never is.


  1. But, you know what? Privilege means little these days. My kids also "come from a family where both parents have four-year degrees" (actually more than that). We come from families who have many, many generations of privilege and also leadership. Never in my life did I think I'd worry about losing our home, or worry about being able to buy food - all it takes is the wrong career move in this economy.

    My husband is out of work, and may never be back in it. It seems hopeless. At 60, can he get another degree? But, no one wants a Physical Education teacher with a Masters Degree who is no longer in shape. It is a nightmare. And I know others in similar situations.... A man who was previously the vice-president of a in international bank in France, is now teaching part-time at my kids' tiny Christian school....glad for anything.

  2. That's just it, Annie- I don't want my kids to take it for granted because I want them to be flexible enough to deal with the hard stuff that is going to happen. If you don't see it as a "right," it's much easier to go without it.