Jack of Many Trades

There are No Chupacabras in Oregon (C is for Children. And also Chupacabras I guess.)

Originally posted: 2022-02-08

Austin Kleon posted: Show your children who you are

This is not a given thing, having adults in our lives who love us and are willing to let us really see them.

My memories of doing things with my parents are pretty thin on the ground, but I did know what they enjoyed (and I think I still do, though I'm not as up on it as I was when I lived with them, obviously). They very clearly had lives separately from parenting me and my sister, which in retrospect seemed much more common in the 80s and 90s than the assumptions about parents now. I remember clearly my dad as an artist and a reader and doing woodworking in the basement, my mom as a crafter and a gardener. (Random example: everywhere we've taken Bug for lessons expects parents to be there during the classes, as far as I can tell; this was never a thing when I was a kid in any of the lessons I did.)

I've always known that my mom is Quite Catholic, and therefore growing up I went to the Catholic church. I knew my dad was Not That. My Yaya went to the church two blocks down and three blocks over, and I think it was Methodist but I wouldn't swear to it; my grandfather didn't go to church either. And so I grew up with the weird impression that church was a thing Women Did, despite the fact that there were plenty of adult men in my parish. I have no idea what my dad actually believes, religion-wise, though I've run into things he has unexpectedly strong feelings about over the years.

I'm a pretty private person by nature. Most of my faith has been in my head since I was a kid going to mass and Sunday school with my mom, arguing my way through those Sunday classes. I got in the habit of doing magic by myself and never really broke out of it, even with close friends and significant others who do magic. But as Bug is getting older and is asking questions about the altars we have and the tools I use and the things we believe, I find myself desperately wanting to be more open with her.

I've had some success. She'll do morning offerings with me sometimes (though it's cold and I'm out of my own routine right now) and when she's upset we do rosaries to Hekate to calm down and she really likes those. She knows I do tarot and the Great Pumpkin got her her own deck last Samhain, though she doesn't have a good sense of how to use it yet. But she also goes through moments where she's scared of "magic spells" or the candles on the altar.

I felt the disconnect most viscerally in late December. She knows I stay up all night for the Longest Night, and she was even interested in doing it with me, though I'm pretty sure it was as much a ploy to stay up past bedtime as spiritual curiosity. We've taught her that mall Santas are like priests, and you treat them like you would treat the great spirit they are speaking for. At the same time, she's very much into Cultural Christmas, in a way that makes me wonder how households that don't celebrate Christmas at all manage it.

Ultimately, I want to be seen. And I think Bug wants to see me and her mother; she's always interested in our conversations and our projects, and wants to know what we're working on, whether it's appropriate for her or not. She's interested in my dolls, she has her own spellbook she works in while I'm working on my book of shadows. We have other things we do together, like Animal Crossing, but that's easier to explain! Meanwhile my kid is worried about rattlesnakes being outside of her third floor window. It's hard enough convincing her what's worth worrying and what isn't, I don't think she's ready for the finer points of "books can be real but we don't live in Texas so you don't need to worry about chupacabras anyway".