When I was little, my biggest fear was disappointing my parents. I cleaned my room. I washed the dishes without being asked. I fed the cats, emptied the shit-bits in the litter box, and took Flintstone’s vitamins. I worked my ass off in school and turned in every fucking extra credit assignment I could get my hands on. (And I also never used foul language, oh heaven forfend!)
I wanted my parents to be proud of me.
And they were. What wasn’t to like? This Nice Jewish Girl passed her advanced placements, made dean’s list at Berkeley, and graduated with high honors. (Look, Ma! Look, Pa! No hands!)
Even though I’m a grownup, and even though I may pretend otherwise, I still care what my parents think of me. Hooker boots and references to Ke$ha not withstanding.
The thing is, while I may try to shuttle my dad off to funwithtrains.com whenever I am (over)sharing something particularly raunchy, I do know that he reads my articles. Especially when I tell him not to.
In fact, a few days after the vibrator piece ran, his phone number flashed across my cellphone screen..
The wheezing and gasping on the other end of the phone sent an icy trickle of panic down my spine. Was my dad having a heart attack? Was he stroking out?
Nope. He was laughing.
“Is! It! True!?!?” he chortled. “Did it really happen?”
But while my dad seems pretty cool with what I’m writing, the situation with my mom is different.
For one thing, she’s dead.
And besides that kind of important fact, my mom was an intensely private person, a real lady who would never in a gazillion years dream of smearing her shit all over the internet in such a public way. In fact, whenever I’m about to post a particularly revealing article, I imagine her hand on my shoulder, and I can hear her voice in my ear:
“Are you sure you can own this?’
And unless I can answer “yes,” I will not hit “Publish.”
I’d like to think that maybe she’d be proud that my writing has paved the way for some indelible friendships, transforming casual acquaintances into real relationships with no holds barred.
And regardless of what she would think or feel about my writing, I’m proud that I’m (finally) able to admit that I’m not perfect. Parenting is hard. Making aliya is hard. Going through a divorce when the people who know and love you best are on the other side of the world is hard. And owning all of that is harder.
And while one day I may cringe when my children read about the time my rabbi found my vibrator, or the times I (almost) got into a bar brawl with the Bitches of Eastwick, I’d like to think that they’ll already know who they’re dealing with by then, and won’t be too shocked. Besides, here’s what really matters: Writing the way I write is good for my soul, and whether my parents are proud of me or not, I am more than happy to publicly embrace every fucking word I’ve ever written.