So, have I mentioned that I have lived in all four corners of the US? Let me just tell you something, right now. I have never encountered such a place with such a people as Boston.
Wait- let me start over.
There is an incredible amount of variety in the whole Boston area. It’s awe-inspiring, exciting, and…fundamentally important that you know this before I recount these stories to you right now. Because I want you to know that not everyone was like this, but there was a much bigger subset of a certain type of woman there. The kind of woman that is so concerned about what is going on that she can’t not say something.
Another fundamental fact you should know, but this time it’s about me- I am really hard to offend. This is both by nature and by choice. I often say things to people not even thinking about if it would offend them because I know it wouldn’t offend me. But when people say offensive things to me, I often think it’s funny. Unless you’re my husband. I can get pretty easily offended about dumb stuff. Sorry, babe.
Here are some of those funny stories:
My daughter’s name is Paisley. I have known that this is not a particularly popular name among those who tend to live a more modest life. Totally fine with me. In fact, feel free to tell me you don’t like it because I didn’t pick her name with anyone else’s feelings in mind. I picked it because it brings me joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy, that’s totally your feeling and I hope that you name and/or named your kids whatever brings you joy.
Our hippie-named baby.
But her name was particularly not popular where we lived. Unlike on the west coast, I never met another child named Paisley (Oliver is a different story- he was once playing in a room with two other Olivers at the same time. It was epic). But even more interesting, I actually had people ask me what “Paisley” was or tell me that they have never heard that word.
By the way, if you don’t know don’t feel bad, but it’s a pattern. It’s also a church in Scotland.
Anyway, I volunteered at a consignment store while we lived there. It was the best, I could buy lightly used onesies for Paisley for only $.50. Yes, you read that right. Now you are forever going to hate yourself when you buy a onesie for $8. You’re welcome for that new insight. So at this store, there were many wonderful older women who would volunteer frequently by putting away toys, sorting, and labeling, etc. One woman was often there when I was, and she and I frequently exchanged pleasantries.
But it was clear in her face that she did not approve of my baby’s name choice.
After giving birth to Paisley, she once asked me, “What is her name? I think it was some kind of hippie word.”
I still laugh at this comment. I think most people I know would agree that I am not even close to being a hippie. (I am more of a believer in monogamy, you know?) But the fact that she attributed me to picking a hippie name doesn’t even hurt my feelings. Hippies are nice. Well, most of them. There was that one guy on Forrest Gump that was terribly mean to Jenny. But this is the type of comment that 1.) I have only ever heard people from Boston say out loud. 2.) That could easily offend someone.
But that’s one reason why I love it there. She could say that, I could choose not to get offended, and maybe even lightly say, “well, it’s just a beautiful pattern”, and we can continue on to discuss the crazy weather or the adorableness that is my baby.
This next story is one I hope to never forget:
I think I have mentioned that we lived in a very walkable area. Well, one of the places we could walk to was a tumble gym that we had a membership to. Ollie could run and scream (within reason, I don’t let him turn into an animal) to his heart’s delight. Well, I was walking to this gym, Paisley in my wrap, and Ollie in the stroller. I was trying to be quick since I was meeting a friend there, so I was walking at a fast pace. This pace had put Paisley to sleep with her head hanging out.
Side note, this was Paisley’s preferred position in the wrap. Head out of the fabric, hanging out, with no support. She was old enough that as long as she wasn’t jostled too much, it didn’t seem to affect her at all.
Well, as I was walking fast, her head was, naturally, bobbing around. I was watching her and noticed that it wasn’t harmful so I didn’t bother to put her back in. (If I had, she would have forced her head out, anyway.)
Then, I heard a voice shouting something.
Paisley enjoyed the Boston Marathon. From her wrap, head hangin’ out.
I turned my head and looked to my right. But there were cars driving by, so that couldn’t have been it. And then I heard it, again.
I looked to my right, again, and really paid attention to the cars.
A woman- again, an older one- had slowed her car down in the middle lane to my speed. While she was unabashedly impeding traffic she was yelling to me, “HER HEAD IS JUST BOBBING AROUND!” At the same time, she was gesturing with her hands as if she were putting Paisley’s head back into position.
A little flustered already about my inevitable lateness, I shouted back, “SHE’S FINE!”
I was not a stranger to having to tell people that she liked that position. I frequently had people coming up to me in the store, at church, and anywhere, pointing out to me that her head is out of the wrap. I usually just rehearsed the same thing, “She likes it. If I put her head back in, she will shove it out.” And sometimes I would even demonstrate it to the particularly concerned people. Who would then laugh nervously and attempt to fix it on their own. I think a few people even suggested that the wrap was too dangerous for her. (Big chuckle, I wish I would have said, “You have no clue how much this wrap has saved my life.”)
Again, this upset woman didn’t offend me. It was funny, and I appreciate that she was so worried about my baby that she couldn’t let me go another step without modeling to me the proper mothering way.
Last story, promise:
I was visiting the local grocery store. Again, with my children. Paisley was in the wrap and Ollie was running around from item to item asking me 100,000 questions. I wasn’t in any stress, I had no deadline to meet. But I think this situation was overwhelming for some of the people in the store. As I was figuring out which yogurt to buy (why are there so many?) a nice older woman came up to me and asked if I needed any help.
I looked at her, feeling puzzled, looked at my kids and said, “No, I think I am okay.”
She, looking like she wasn’t going to let this go, said, “It’s just that you have two children with you, and you’re so young…”
I laughed, and said, “Well, these are my kids, I am almost 28.”
“Well, okay then, my husband was just worried about you.” Pointing to a very weathered man who didn’t seem to realize where he was.
“Well, that’s nice of him to think of us, but we are just grabbing a couple of things and then heading out.”
“You know, I remember what that was like at your age. Try to enjoy this time.”
I wouldn’t give up these memories for anything. I loved living in Boston- lack of filter and all.