Mommies

On Saturday, Mr. Book and I went to a monthly giveaway thingy run by an antiabortion center in town. I’ve mentioned it before—that’s where I got a pregnancy test—and while I do of course feel weird about their politics, I have to give them credit for following through; once a month, pregnant people, people with babies, and people with little kids are welcome to show up, eat a free hotdog, and get a few diapers and other baby things. I scored half a dozen diapers, a couple of onesies, and a pair of Robeez in fantastic shape. Woo!

So now the weird part. The people who run the center have a very different sort of philosophy from mine, perhaps obviously. At one point, the headwoman approached us and asked us to help set up a tent. “Sure!” says I.

“Oh, no!” she responds, seemingly shocked. “We don’t let mommies work—only daddies.”

She steps away for a moment, scanning the crowd for other possible recruits, and Mr. Book looks me in the eye and says “What the hell are we doing here?”

I don’t have a better answer than “diapers,” which isn’t particularly satisfying, so instead I trail along behind the men who’ve been recruited to put together a tent and their leader, Robert. I sit and knit while watching my husband grow increasingly frustrated as Robert, unable to figure the tent out, issues meaningless orders in a manly sort of way. I would like to point out that the whole tent couldn’t have weighed more than fifteen pounds, and that I am regularly hauling a good bit more than that in groceries home from the bus stop. I don’t think of myself as helpless, and while I wouldn’t try to lift a car or anything, I could in fact have safely helped with the construction. Funnily enough, it turns out that the only person around who knows how to put this tent together is a pregnant woman volunteer who has to wait for the headwoman to get distracted before taking over the assembly team. Robert recovers his sense of leadership by coming over and condescending to me. At least it’s a beautiful morning.