I’ve tried to write about my living situation now, my feelings, hopes, dreams, wishes, everything. But nothing, really NOTHING makes sense without me explaining the relation it has to some event in my life. To avoid confusion and knowing only half of the story, I decided to begin by telling you about my life. I will break my story up into different ages just to give it structure and make it easier to look up the stages later on.
My mother grew up in a christian home. My grandparents were precious people. They were conservative, but not fundamentalist. My grandmother told me that grandpa was the man of her dreams – she liked having a man who was “the man”. This doesn’t mean that he was a patriarch, he made the money, she took care of the house. He came home from work, bringing her gifts, like flowers or candy. Though she said he was the man, they were equals when it came to decision-making. In retrospective, my grandparent’s marriage was the best example of a healthy marriage I had seen in my life.
My dad likes to think of himself as a “convert”. This is only partially true. His parents were christian but didn’t live their religion. Growing up, Christmas and Easter were the only times of the year he went to church. His parents were very worldly in their views. I have never met them as they died before I was born, but my dad would always mention how they were naturalists, how his mother didn’t accept her role as a woman – she worked and from what I hear loved it – and his dad “didn’t have the guts to defend his place in the family”.
My parents met in high school. Unlike many fundamentalist christians (today), my mother’s parents believed that public schooling was great and very american. After all, we were the ones teaching everybody else how to do it. My mother always said she was a quiet person and doesn’t know how such a bold guy took notice of her. In the last year of high school they had a class together. They happened to sit next to each other several times and got to talking as my mother was a better student than my dad. She ended up helping him from time to time and they slowly fell in love. My mother was troubled however. Dad wasn’t a christian and she couldn’t marry someone who’s not. Dad, crazily in love already at that time, agreed to go to church with her to see if it was any good. He says he was fascinated to see this quiet girl lighten up in the presence of Jesus.
They spent a lot of time talking about hopes, dreams and wishes. My mother explained to him what a marriage should look like, namely like the one her parents had and dad was getting more and more into the mindset that a woman’s place is at home. Six months after graduation, my dad “converted” to be a true christian and they got married. That was in late 1986.
If you are familiar with the fundamentalist community, you certainly are familiar with the name Mary Pride. Her book “The way home” came out in 1985 and was very popular amount certain conservatives. My mother, coming from a traditional family and very worried about the decay of society, was an avid reader of the book and other publications within the quiverfull community. Though she wasn’t far away from the Pride mindset, this book sent her into the fundamentalist corner. My dad, coming from a worldly family and being a new christian, didn’t have the ability to evaluate what he was reading. They threw around bible verses so they had to be right after all. He, as I can now see, blindly accepted their teachings as true christianity. They accepted the Pride teachings as their lifestyle, and that’s were the fundamentalist marriage of parents really began.
A few months into their marriage, my mom got pregnant with her first child – me. They interpreted the timing of the pregnancy at a sign that they were on the right path. They explained that they got pregnant just a week after they decided to fully accept every child the Lord would give them. My mom said she was blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. It was God’s gift to her.