Wednesday, January 7, 2009


There's a reason why adult 'preacher's kids' say they are 'recovering preacher's kids.' A reason that allows me to identify with Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan or even the Obama girls.

Why yes, moi, the dumpy stay-at-home-mom who no longer bothers with make up, actually shares life experience with Britney Spears and her ilk. Particularly the Obama girls who started a new school this week while the world watched. I've been there and done that albeit on a smaller scale.

Everyone knew who I was before I knew them.

All the teachers knew my father.

Everyone watched me, curious to know what I was like.

And then they gossiped about me.

The expectations assigned to me were very high.

No matter what I did, I was never good enough or bad enough.

I was on T.V. In the paper. Attended weddings and funerals of people I didn't even know.

My grades and my life were pulpit fodder.

Sometimes for a congregation close to a thousand people.

People went through my room and home without notice because it was church property and they wanted to change the carpeting. Or the drapes. Or paint. Or they were just being nosy.

My spotlight was smaller than that of Britney Spears or the Obama girls, but it burned nonetheless. The legacy of my childhood is that I'm an odd mix of introvert and extrovert. I can work a room like a seasoned politican...or hover at the fringe, jaw clamped shut in discomfort, terrified that people will look at me.

I remember once I botched a hymn solo and was so mortified I hid behind the swinging doors to the chapel instead of doing the post-worship receiving line. I also remember choreographing a church musical and receiving a standing ovation for my work.

And the time my father took a private family power struggle to the pulpit and I walked out, mid-sermon, in protest while people gaped in shock. To make it worse, I had been sitting in the very front row, so everyone saw me leave.

I am so glad I am not famous. That my childhood is not the babola's. To be sure, I had some unique life experiences, but now being normal is unique enough. So the paparazzi can stay in Hollywood, I'll take dumpy mother without makeup any day.


Jenners said...

Not an environment I would want to grow up in, I think. I grew up a "doctor's daughter" and I always withheld that information because so many people made snap judgments about it ("so you are rich then"). And when we moved to a smaller town, it was even stranger because classmates might be patients, parents of classmates might be patients. My dad did a good job of trying to keep all of this separate from us but it is hard to do. And my mom is a bit of a teacher/social worker who I often felt presented a false mask to the world -- the person she was in public was NOT the person I saw at home and it was very difficult for me to figure out this two-sidedness. And I do feel for the First Kids -- I hope people just leave them alone. At least the soon-to-be President and his wife seem to be "real" parents and concerned with the normalcy of their girl's lives but much can they really do. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. You always make me think.

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