She was a perfect little girl, or so she tried. Her mother always told her she had dreamed of two daughters but her firstborn was a son. Her mother could only afford two children on her husband’s factory-worker salary. SHE was born. Her second child was her hope. Her fantasized daughter became her mother’s ears and constant companion. Folks told the girl she was going to be a fine little wife. She swept the floor in compliance. In the time and town where she grew up “feminism” was an unknown word. It probably would have been thought to be a medical condition to be treated by a gynecologist, a male gynecologist.
The day had come. I was officially a man with the arrival of my bouncing baby boy. I planned on becoming the flawless all-American Sears dad dripping testosterone laced sweat like the Marlboro man. I had read all the books on single parenting, rearing disabled children, and Terry Brazelton’s volumes on child development. I wasn’t about to make any mistakes.