The Female World of Cards and Holidays: Women, Families, and the Work of Kinship [PDF] by Micaela di Leonardo: "The kin-work lens brought into focus new perspectives on my informants' family lives. First, life histories revealed that often the very existence of kin contact and holiday celebration depended on the presence of an adult woman in the household... Kin work, then, is like housework and child care: men in the aggregate do not do it. " (Originally published in Signs, Spring 1987.)
"One of the most enigmatic objects on display in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is "Ashley's Sack." On loan from South Carolina's Middleton Place, this unbleached cotton sack features an embroidered text recounting the slave sale of a nine-year-old girl named Ashley and the gift of the sack by her mother. Until now, Ashley's identity has been unknown. New research by Mark Auslander traces Ashley's Sack from the initial gift during the era of slavery to the present."
Wonder and worry as a Syrian child in Canada transforms [slNYT] The Mohammads were from a particularly conservative village in Daraa Province. Their union was arranged by their families and governed by clear tenets. Back home, Eman Mohammad, 36, did not leave the house without asking her husband’s permission. She did not socialize with men who were not relatives. Women in the village did not drive. Against the odds, and Abdullah’s initial reluctance, she had worked as a nurse, one of only a few women in her circle to be employed outside the home after having children... [more inside]
When you emigrate, you end up the last person to touch a lot of your family history. Somewhere along the line, we’ll forget my mom’s maiden name. We’ll forget what her actual name was before she changed it when she moved. We’ll lose language and the way to make a candle from ghee and a cotton ball. I can’t pull all of this information out of her, and I can’t carry all of it after she’s gone, and I panic when I think about how impossible it feels to one day not need her. But at least I can try to cook.
Taller Than the Trees [N/YT] by Megan Mylan - "Japanese men haven't traditionally been caregivers. But for Masami Hayata, it's a crucial part of raising his family." (via)
His clothes were not on the outside of his body; they were—for now—the outside of his body. They were the visible form taken by the way he chose to define himself. None of the gawky young models, standing around flat-footed and hunch-shouldered with their assigned coats and jackets and baggy shorts hanging off them like drop cloths thrown over a dining room set, could say that.
My Son, The Prince Of Fashion
My Son, The Prince Of Fashion
Court judgments are often long, dense and full of legal jargon. But in the English Family Court case of Lancashire County Council v A & B Mr Justice Peter Jackson has given a judgment carefully written to so that the children involved, and their mother, can understand it. [more inside]
"Takamatsu went out with [the] regular dive customers -- the ones who dove for fun. They had no idea Takamatsu was searching for a body." [SLNYT] [warning: some graphic details re body decomposition]
A Family Matter. Each year, California’s child protective services agencies remove thousands of kids from their homes. Some parents decided to fight back.
Peter Staley was a 24 year-old banker at J.P. Morgan when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985. His brother, Jes, worked there as well. In a Q&A with Fortune, they discuss how their paths diverged,
A couple of days later, I stood in front of a mirror and slowly unbuttoned my shirt. When I looked down, what I saw turned out to be just a flat chest with fresh scars on their way to looking healed. My stitches had dissolved. I took my shirt off and stared at myself, thinking, “Lake was right, I can do this.” - Tig Notaro on luck, love, family, friends, fame, stand up, her new book, and life after breasts
"I was asked recently by a friend to meet some people from her church in the US who were visiting Uganda on a mission trip. The aim of the meeting was to convince them that supporting and visiting orphanages was doing more harm than good." [more inside]
"Bloodlines make bonds irrefutable. You might hate your brother for what he's done, but you can't undo the blood; he's still your brother, you're his. A makeshift family, the kind many bands construct, may seem easier to leave behind. It's a musical partnership, a fraternity at best. But the bonds can be just as indelible, as sublime, as painful." -- The Curse of the Ramones by Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone
"Even if she is difficult, I’m supposed to love her, because, really, she loves me. But what if she doesn’t—not even in “her own way?” [...] Popular opinion thinks it’s fine to bitch about your fucked-up family or your crazy mother, so long as you do it lovingly—so long as it’s safe, appropriate."
A moving little essay about the power of food, family, and memory.
Fetishizing Family Farms Broken families, underground vice, and sexual variance - not stability - characterized the American family farm for most of its history, argues historian Gabriel Rosenberg. [more inside]
Judges, academics, pundits and activists keep wondering how children are impacted by gay marriage. Maybe it’s time to ask the kids. A rich media photo essay coupled with audio interviews, by Gabriela Herman. [more inside]
How Randy Newman and His Family Have Shaped Movie Music for Generations by David Kamp [Vanity Fair] Sure, you know of the Oscar-winning composer behind Toy Story and his endearingly offbeat songwriting, but Newman, 72, is also the patriarch of a clan that has helped shape movie music since the talkies. [more inside]
Randy is 27, one of 3.5 million Americans on the autism spectrum. He suffers from what is officially called PDD, or pervasive developmental disorder. "My brother has always wanted what most of us do: love. Someone to care about. Someone who will care in return. Someone other than our mother." A loving sister chronicles her brother's search for a lasting relationship.
Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
Animal Families - A collection of animal illustrations that explore the relationship of parent and child. By artist Michael Sutton.
Margaret Sugg, Nancy Fassett, and Barbara Fletcher moved into a group house together in the 1960s and have lived together ever since, renting a row house in Georgetown, DC; buying a home in the Maryland suburbs, and then retiring together to a nearby retirement community. [more inside]
A Falafel House Divided by Mohamad Yaghi and Jack Crosbie [Roads & Kingdoms]
“They work meters from one another every day, preparing falafel the way their father taught them. But instead of sharing a kitchen, Zouhair alone inhabits the original Damascus street shop. One store over, Fouad has a new shop, emblazoned with red signs that read “Falafel M. Sahyoun.” A single white tile wall separates them, a boundary that is never breached. The brothers no longer speak. Lebanon has long been a country defined by divisions, and though the brothers’ rift is not sectarian, the uneasy relationship between two falafel makers competing in close proximity is a reflection of the problems that still haunt the country.”
Sleeping under an original My Little Pony single bed set tonight? Or sharing with your uncle and the Christmas tree? Or bedding down in the garage, next to the punch bag? For the last few years Rhodri Marsden has been sharing the people of Twitter's Christmas eve sleeping arrangements, in all their awkward, makeshift, regressive glory. You can view this year's on his timeline @rhodri.
The Tail End: "No matter what your age, you may, without realizing it, be enjoying the very last chapter of some of the relationships that matter most to you." (via) [more inside]
Carolyn Hax's Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors 2015 was today. Advice Columnist Carolyn Hax hosts a (nearly) weekly chat in which people share their problems and she offers (nearly) instant advice. But sometimes you don't really need advice. Sometimes you just need to tell someone about the things your relatives did to you (or gave to you) at Christmas. [more inside]
Thanksgiving is coming up and preparation is crucial don’t let this be like last year when your uncle tricked you into admitting that “Yes Mussolini did make the trains run on time I grant you that ok.” A woke guide to winning the annual familial debate “Thanksgiving”
This time of year, many of us will make a pilgrimage to see our families. Halls will be decked, candles will be lit, and ancient stories will be told. Hopefully everything for you will be hugs, warmth, light, and reconnection with the people you love. But if you are dreading dealing with that one jerk relative or bracing yourself for an onslaught of intrusive questions and and awkward topics, here’s a guide to keeping your cool and choosing your battles when everyone around you is making it weird.
"Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said he planned to take two months of paternity leave after his daughter is born this year, amid a debate about work-life balance at technology companies." (NYT)
Suffer the Children: A long and heart-rending essay in The Monthly magazine about the Australian Family Law system's ugly response to allegations of child abuse in custody disputes. [more inside]
"When the monsters of your childhood become faded old people with the fight gone out of them, what do you do? How do you find a way to relate? Do you forgive and try to find a way to interact with who they are now or do you hold onto the tight little ball of yourself you've been protecting all this time?" How do I tell my dysfunctional folks I'm not spending the holidays with them this year? [more inside]
That Thing: A True Story Based on The Exorcist (Adam Sturtevant, Electric Literature)
"There is no good answer to being a woman; the art may instead lie in how we refuse the question." In "The Mother of All Questions", Rebecca Solnit writes for Harper's about being asked to justify her own (and Virginia Woolf's) childlessness, and more broadly about how to define happiness and a meaningful life.
The Badeau family have adopted over twenty children over the course of their marriage, spurred on by a mix of religion and a desire to help those who have no one left to turn to.
A family of bears descends upon a human family's pool in New Jersey. Ok, long time listener...first time poster. Please be kind. This is an eleven minute video of a bear family swimming in an above-ground pool. While the video is great...it is really the audio of the human family, filming from a second floor bedroom,that really makes this special.
A cruelly optimistic relationship to self-care is one in which self-care is envisioned primarily as a means to rejuvenate us so that we’re able to work faster and harder—precisely the condition that has caused so much of our stress to begin with. [more inside]
A website for women who have been discriminated against whilst they were pregnant or after having a baby. 54,000 UK women a year are forced out of their jobs due to pregnancy. This doesn't include the women who are demoted, harassed, aren't put forward for promotion, or those that are self employed. Pregnant Then Screwed is a place for these women to tell their story anonymously. [more inside]
As the North Vietnamese Army captured Saigon, Ba Van Nguyen was one of the thousands of South Vietnamese desperately fleeing the country. Nguyen, a major in the South Vietnamese Air Force, would be executed and his family would be sent to concentration camps if he was caught. But Major Nguyen had a plan: he'd moved his family to his mother-in-law's house near a soccer field, and told his wife to listen for--and be ready when she heard--the distinctive whump-whump-whump-whump chopping sound made by the twin rotors of his CH-47 Chinook, the largest helicopter in the South Vietnamese Air Force. Early on the morning of April 29, 1975…
"He sent me long emails about how I was a tool of the devil. I pictured him with two computer screens open — one for looking up scripture, and another to Mapquest the location of his next bathroom rendezvous. We were never going to have the cool kind of gay dad." Why I Answered My Dad's Gay Sex Ad by Aussa Lorens
How to Love Your Father When He’s in Prison for Child Porn, an essay by Lindsay Popper. SFW. Some may find the content disturbing.
The New Normal: Pieces of Grief, by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, sister of Parks and Recreation's co-executive producer Harris Wittels, who passed away in February.
“One night we were eating spaghetti and meatballs and it fell out and rolled across the kitchen table. You said, ‘Dad, your eye popped out’ and kept on eating. I’ll never forget it. You must have been seven or eight. He felt so bad about that—for your sake.”
“I don’t think it bothered me,” I say.
“He worried it bothered you.”
The Glass Eye, by Jeannie Vanasco
“I don’t think it bothered me,” I say.
“He worried it bothered you.”
The Glass Eye, by Jeannie Vanasco
Quiverfull of shit: a Guide to the Duggars' Scary Brand of Christianity - Gawker, Jennifer C. Martin
"In 1985, a writer named Mary Pride published a book called The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality, which detailed her journey away from the second-wave feminism of the '70s and into what she perceived was a woman’s Biblical place in the home, and the commandment to fill the house with as many of her husband’s children as possible.
"Pride insisted that no woman could possibly find true happiness without submitting to her vision of Christianity: Relinquish control of your womb to God, and exist only to please your husband, give birth, feed everyone, and educate your children in the home—almost certainly without having received any formal higher education yourself."
Two years after Elizabeth and Mary Cheney publicly fought each other on marriage equality, another set of sisters, also named Elizabeth and Mary, write about their own challenging experiences:
I know that in this day and age many thousands, if not millions, of families find themselves in predicaments similar to ours. My desire is that our joint disclosure might help others begin to open their hearts and minds to one another. I hope that they can find both the courage and the charity to have those difficult but potentially transformative conversations that they, like we, have avoided for such a long time.
" “I tell my daughters that when I go, they’ll know the good recipes from the dirty pages.” [NYT]] A group of Nashville writers mounts an exhibit of the dirty pages from their own family cookbooks.
While work-life balance is generally seen as an issue mostly affecting women, many men also struggle with balancing work obligations with family. In companies which expect an "ideal" worker to produce 60-80 hour work weeks, men use a number of strategies to conserve time and shorten work weeks--with vastly different consequences depending on transparency.
Down the Rabbit Hole is a repository of observations about estranged parent support forums (previously). It contains comparisons of forum culture between discussion sites for estranged parents and those for children, themes of discussion found on estranged parent sites, and possible reasons estranged parent forums develop toxic dynamics.