Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Secret Identity


I hid much of myself from my family, particularly my parents, once I hit the teenage years. That’s when I started doing all the bad things I didn’t want my parents to find out about. The drinking, the smoking, the smoking dope, the skipping school, the…Well, you get the idea. [And, as my mother has a policy of “Didn’t know then, don’t want to know now,” I won’t go into much more detail.]

My point is, I had a secret identity; rather, I had many identities, each secret to a group of people. I fully expected that my children would have secret identities as well. I just didn’t realize they’d have them so quickly. And, when I first discovered one, I cried. A lot.

I handed Ryan over to his babysitter, Ee-Ee (AKA Chinese aunt) when she was quite nearly a complete stranger to me and I’d only known Ryan for six weeks. That’s how old he was when I went back to work. I had started at my job when I was 4.5 months pregnant, so I was only entitled to the government-mandated six weeks off. [Were I an elephant, I would have been at work an additional year or so, entitling me to take as many as six months off. Sadly, I am not an elephant, so back to work I went after six weeks. And when I mean “sadly,” I mean that only in the sense of having more time off. I don’t really want to be an elephant.]

Parents who’ve done what I did surely felt what I felt. Parents who’ve never had to do it can probably imagine. [And if you’d like to feel righteous about having never done it, please do so now, quietly, to yourself.]

I went on. We all went on. After about six months or so, Maria (Ee-Ee’s real name) gave me some photos one day when I went to pick up Ry after work. I didn’t look at them until I got home. They were pictures of him. And they were so adorable because, let’s face it, the kid’s cute.

In addition to photos taken at her home, there were a couple of photos of him with her and her husband, Lucas (or Sou-Sou in Chinese uncle-speak) at a restaurant. He’s all smiles for the camera. They’re all smiles with him. They were having a blast.

And I was bereft. My baby, all eight months of him, had a whole other life. He had adventures that I was not in on. He was at parties with his Chinese auntie and uncle and Che-Che (or older sister in that aforementioned Chinese speak).

He was someone else. He was meeting people I’d never know about. He was going places I’d never be. He was living a life that I was not a part of. He had a secret identity. And he never spoke of it to me. Is it any wonder, nearly 10 years later, that he aspires to be James Bond?
[Want to see how others reveal their secret identities? Go to Sunday Scribblings.]

6 comments:

Lucy said...

You're so right, we all have secret identities, when i think back to all the dishonesty of my teenage years....esshhhh!

Jenny said...

Oh wow, I totally am with you on this one. Some days I want to install a secret camera at preschool so I can watch CJ when I'm not there and see how he acts in his other life...

gautami tripathy said...

I could feel the sadness here not being able to share his infant years. Most working mothers face this.

gautami
Surreptitious Self

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like your point about having many identities, each secret to a group of people. That is true for many people....

Jennifer said...

I know what you went through. It was well explained in this post! I have done Home Child Care (up to this last move about a month ago) I keep journals, take pictures, etc... anything to let the mom in on that other world. Some mom's were quite surprised at this, I was surprised it never happen to them before! Leaving my baby for the first time (9m old when I went back to work) almost killed me. So doing Home child care, let him be with me. It was wonderful! My sympathies, the good news, it sounds like he was well cared for!

Poppy Fields said...

I liked this post. I felt this way when I left my daughter at the age of ten weeks, wondering what she was doing 8 hours a day without me.

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