Sunday, July 1, 2012

I'll never be a pageant mom.

Parenting was not simply about raising a child, it was about transforming a child, force-feeding it like a foie gras goose, altering, modifying, modulating, manipulating, smoothing out, improving.
– Nora Ephron

When I found out we were having a boy, I was a little surprised.  I had always assumed I was going to have a girl.   I'm not really sure why.  Maybe it's because my mom, my sister and I were alone for so many years- the three of us were a family unit.  There was a whole lot of feminine energy in that house.  Female is what I am.  Female is what I know.  I was certain I was breeding a future feminist.

Fast forward to our 20 week ultrasound.

Oh look!  It's a boy!
Are you sure?
Yeah.  See that - right there?  It's a boy.
Are you sure?

Ultrasounds are Rorschach tests.  They are.

This was new territory for me.  I had already picked a girls name.  I had already found a This is what a feminist looks like onesie.  I had already decided that she would be a little bad ass.  In my image - of course.  But she wouldn't be in my image.  She was a boy.  Now what?  People always say I don't care if I have a boy or a girl.  I just want a healthy baby!  Of course, it was of paramount importance to me that I have a healthy baby.  But the other part?  I was definitely leaning towards girl.  I just was.

I was still bartending at six months pregnant.  It was pretty funny.  I was Carla incarnate.  If you knew the bar where I worked, you would understand why this was okay.  It was a neighborhood staple.  My husband worked there, too.  Everybody knew our story - and treated the pregnant bartender right.  One night, my friend Randy was sitting at my bar.  He said:
I wish someone would take my baby name, since I clearly am not having one - ever.
What's your baby name?
Lucien. (pronounced lu-shen in case anyone has ever wondered.)
Hmm.  Lucien.  I said it aloud a few times, looked at my husband, and we nodded our head and agreed.  Lucien it was.

Usually - when a parent chooses a name -  there are lists, and polls and sleepless nights.  The fact that I was able to hear this name once, and decide to bestow it on my first born was truly amazing.  I thought about that, and immediately decided Lucien was to be his name - because Lucien was his name.  That makes more sense in my head.  What I mean is, Lucien has always been his name.  Yes, I am getting all metaphysical on your ass.  Let's see if I can explain this better;
Lucien exists, because he exists.  Not because I am his mom.

When Lucien's name came to us via my drunk, gay, friend at the bar -  it became clear to me that the universe was sending me a message.  (Cue thunder and amplified God voice...)
Maria, this baby is not you.  He is not another form of you.  He will not accomplish all of the things that you didn't accomplish.  Don't project any of your shit or your unfinished business on this little being.  He is his own person.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

Now, you're probably saying to yourself, What the hell does that Nora Ephron quote have to do with any of this? 

Figure it out for yourself.

Rest in peace, Nora.  You were a really smart lady.


  1. I love it, and I love that there's a story behind the name instead of a teeny-bopper movie that will result in 8,000 kids named Lucien in his kindergarten class (with the Bellas and Pippas.)

    I also love that you recognize he's his own little person. He'll look to you for guidance-obviously-but the path that he takes is his own. He'll figure things out. You'll figure things out. ;)

  2. That's how it happened with all four of my kids, too. Well, not exactly. There wasn't a drunk guy there. But I knew the second I saw or heard their names, that those were the ones. Beautiful post.

  3. This was a great post! Also, I love Lucien's name.