Here is the scene: A hot day in my aunt’s back yard, cook-out in full swing, and I’m sitting at a table with a bunch of older folk who I only vaguely know. I’ve got one toddler in my lap, the other sitting in a fold-out chair beside me, my lovely (and White) husband is standing behind us helping to manage the food and the mess.
And, because that’s how folk are, I’m getting the side-eye from strangers. We’ve gotten it before, so we ignore it… but later in the afternoon, as everyone’s beer starts to loosen lips, someone done let loose the thoughts on the minds of a good amount of folk at the party: “I just don’t really understand how you could have done what you have. Married that guy… moved to Massachusetts… I mean, you’re just a housewife now. Doesn’t that drive you crazy? I’m just sayin’, I feel like I would have done it all a lot differently if I were you.”
I went to a great graduate school, I married that White guy I met in high school, I worked for a while, I had two kids, I decided to stay at home with and then I decided to purchase a home in a great suburb in Massachusetts where I know I can raise them well. Tell me that these aren’t positive choices. Tell me that I’ve done something wrong. Can’t do it? Why second guess me?
We all make our choices, some of them positive, some of them negative. People on the grown to not-so-grown spectrum deal with those choices in very different ways. Some people think that we Millennials lack the skill and maturity to deal with the choices that we make. I would contend that those around us have a problem with our choices and how we live with them (and lack the skill and maturity to let us live our lives without interference!). If my interracial relationship offends you, if my beautiful bi-racial children bring you shame, if my decision to raise my children far away brings you discomfort, then I would say that these are “You” problems and not “me” problems. I’m a Millennial who doesn’t apologize for her choices. Good, bad or ugly consequences, I made my choices with a clear head and an eye toward the horizon.
The thing that bothers me most about situations like the one at the party is that I know that the decisions I’ve made aren’t radical. There are plenty of Black women who have married White men. There are many Black women who have chosen to stay at home and raise their children. There are even some Black women who have bothered to go through the trouble of raising their children in Massachusetts (this is a small club indeed and, I admit, full of crazy people). I’m blazing no trails here. I’m breaking no rules. My path may not be the most trodden in the field, but the path has clearly been walked and I can walk it with a bit of ease. So, no, I won’t apologize for walking it. The only thing I’m sorry about is that you felt like it would be ok for you to second-guess my life.
And I know that there are many like me: Millennials who have made choices a little outside of the orthodoxy. I read their stories on the web, hear about them on NPR, see their stories on television. What I love about every unorthodox Millennial I hear about is that they are all so freaking happy. And they never once say that they are sorry. Their lives have challenge, but they also have meaning. We shouldn’t have to be sorry for finding our way. If anything, we should be cheered on when we do so.
K.C. Wise is a married Millennial Mom raising two bi-racial (B/W) boys in suburban Massachusetts. You can find out her thoughts about mothering, homemaking, writing, renovating a 100 year-old farmhouse and other musings at her blog: blackbunchedmassmom.wordpress.com.