Excerpt from Common Ground, a personal essay in Motherlands
“Well, when you’re married, you’ll understand the importance of fresh produce.” –Tony Soprano
Things began to change after our son was born. Of course, his birth instantly and irreversibly transformed our lives, but I am talking about our back yard. In fact, things began to change precisely after my parents joined us from my native Macedonia shortly after the arrival of our son. Like other parents of young immigrants, they wouldn’t think of having their first grandchild placed in day care while still a newborn. They are not against day care; I spent several years reluctantly attending one before I started school. What appalls them is the incredibly short maternity leave one gets in the States, particularly in contrast to the twelve-month paid leave most Macedonian mothers receive. The Macedonian day care centers when I was a child were government-run, affordable, decent places populated by practically all of the young kids in the neighborhood. The ones that didn’t go to day care were watched by their grandparents. I can’t help feeling a little envious of my Macedonian friends’ generous maternity leaves and enthusiastic relatives living in close proximity.
You can read the full essay here.
Motherlands by Natasha Garrett