Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Ugly Confession

No one is reading this blog except my husband and myself, so I can "speak" freely.

My family is religious, but also superstitious. My mom would say things like "Don't eat standing up, you make the house poor," and "If your right hand itches money is coming to you." My dad swept my foot one day, and demanded that I spit on the broom. When I asked him why, he said if I didn't I'd go to jail. I also had to burn or flush hair from my comb lest someone get a hold of it and do voodoo on me, according to him.

They also have superstitions around babies. You're not supposed to let them look into a mirror before they turn a year old. I forget what happens if you do. You're not supposed to call a child pretty, lest death should come for the child. Sounds awful, but according to my family, this has happened.

My father had a sister about a year or so younger than him, and they were playmates, but she died when she was a toddler. My great-aunt says she was a beautiful child, so beautiful that my grandparents would fight over which one of them would hold her. One day the child fell ill, and my grandparents and aunt got in a cab to take her to the hospital, but she died in my aunt's arms before they reach the emergency room.

I know it's awful, but I've started to cringe when people focus on the baby's appearance. No one wants to be told their child is homely! But I am starting to cringe when people say how beautiful she is. I am quick to raise the canopy over her when we're walking down the street. I even turned her stroller away from a lady who was staring at her in the mall today. I didn't do it maliciously or overtly, I don't think.

I have thought of fashioning a little paper bag to put over her head when we leave the house, with air and eye holes, of course. Mainly I think "Don't look at my child!" when we're walking down the street. I will accept the compliment, because I don't want to be rude. This fear that these compliments will result in losing my baby unsettles me.

No comments: