It being Friday night, when The Professor disappeared in the back of the house put the littlest one to bed, I decided to load Jack into our stroller and walk him to the grocery store to pick up a couple of pints of ice cream.  He was already bathed and in his pajamas, and I did not put shoes on him.  “Mama!” he chided.  “What about shoes?”  “No shoes,” I said.  He gave me a shocked, conspiratorial look, and giggled.  Rebels, we two, shoeless rebels.

I pushed my Biggest Boy down the middle of the street – more rebellion – towards the Whole Foods that is blocks from our house.  “Wow, Mama, the stars!” he said, looking at Jupiter, which is gloriously present in the night sky right now.  “It’s so beautiful!” he shouted, breaking my heart a little bit (as he is wont to do).  “Yes buddy, it is.  Can you count the stars?”  “One, two, free, lots!”

After selecting our two Ben and Jerry’s pints and going through the checkout line, we headed back out into the velvet night.  Under a line of spindly new trees that blocked us from the dim yellow glow of the streetlight, Jack shivered and said “Spooky, Mama, I fink it’s a ghost.”  Sometimes he is so charming I feel like I am swallowing my own heart, gulping down pride and adoration and possessiveness, feelings of responsible-for and beholden-to intertwining to fell me, in the particular way of parental love.


I left my work at the federal courthouse Friday and was surprised by a protest on its steps.  Nuns were holding signs, and priests.  There was a large number of children in uniforms, older women, and men of all ages . . . one of the children, a girl, held a sign that said “Does providing contraception help women’s health, or HURT IT?”  Someone had a bullhorn.  Others held pictures of President Obama with blood on his eyes, or something.  I heard a man spouting some sort of figures, excitedly, hepped up.  Occasionally, cars would honk as they drove past, showing support.

I noticed that there weren’t any women of fertile age standing in that group.  All I saw were prepubescent teenagers, post-menopausal women, and men.  Lots and lots of men.


From a 1908 Supreme Court case called Muller v. Oregon, in which an Oregon statute limiting the number of hours per day a woman could work was challenged:

“As healthy mothers are essential to vigorous offspring, the physical wellbeing of woman is an object of public interest. The regulation of her hour of labor falls within the police power of the State, and a statute directed exclusively to such regulation does not conflict with the due process or equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The right of a State to regulate the working hours of women rests on the police power and the right to preserve the health of the women of the State . . .”


My children were healthy.  They came when I wanted them to – although one was planned, and one was not.  They were born perfect, remain perfect, a perfect three years ten months thirty days old grubby scabby kneed blue eyed boy, a perfect one year nine months ten days sassy silly chocolate brown eyed baby.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

But.  I am glad there are only two of them.

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One Response to Wanted

  1. CCL says:

    As always, beautifully put. One can indeed be pro-contraception and pro-family.

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