what’s older than my son?

If you answered “The Iraq War,” you’d be right.

I was inspired to write this post by Shark-Fu…go check out what she wrote (on the Potato’s birthday, so it was extra-resonant for me).

The day that the U.S. invaded Iraq, I was at a conference in Las Vegas. There were buses hired by the conference to take us down to the Strip where there was an anti-war demonstration going on, but some of my colleagues and I missed the bus, and jumped into a cab so we could try to find the protest march, in the kind of madcap adventure that would have been funny if it had been in a movie (“I see them!” “No, those are performers from Circus Circus!”). Okay, it was a little funny even without being in a movie.

I was four months pregnant with the Potato, and I was willing to go on a march, but I didn’t want to have to walk a marathon to get to the march, if you know what I mean.

It’s impossible for me to remember the start of the war without remembering that anecdote, and the fact that the pregnancy in question netted me a son is a topper. Because since I became the mother of a son, I’ve been wondering a) will this war end before he’s 18; and b) at what point will we move to Canada to avoid him being drafted?

Two years later, I was back in Vegas on the same weekend for a similar conference, and again, a bunch of my co-workers and I marched down the Strip to protest the war (this time I wasn’t pregnant, fortunately). Will I still have to do this when the Potato is six? eight? fourteen?

There are all kinds of sacrifices that I’m willing to make in the struggle for justice. I’ll march against the war every year of my kids’ childhood, if need be. But at a certain point, I have to wonder, what will make us finally give up on living here?

I’m going to spend a lot of time doing election work next year. I’d really like there to be a candidate to work for who wants to end this war before the Potato turns six.


August 13, 2007. politically motivated, thoughtful parenting.


  1. CamiKaos replied:

    I know how you feel. We celebrated K’s first birthday by watching in horror as the war officially began.

  2. thordora replied:

    I was pregnant with Vivian when the bombing of Baghdad started, and I remember crying and yelling “NO NO NONO!” at the TV as I rubbed my growing belly. This wasn’t a world I wanted for my child, and I knew it wasn’t going to end well.

    It’s one of the clearest memories of that pregnancy I have.

  3. chip replied:

    The first Iraq war began just before my daughter was born. It was so sad having your first child born just as another US war was beginning. The bells in the very large church in our neighborhood rang every day to mark the war ( in protest), which is one of the starkest memories we have of it.

    My son was born at a different time, but the second US war on Iraq began right near his birthday. I fear that these US wars will never end.

  4. Liz replied:

    Just before my son turned 18, we received the Draft Registration in the mail. I guess they have someone keeping watch on all of our sons to see when they will hit the lucky age of 18. I pray every day that the draft does not get instituted.

  5. jo(e) replied:

    I was in labor with my second son when the First Persian Gulf War began. And now I have kids who are 21, 19, 16, and 12. And several of my “extra kids” are in the military now; one of them is doing a tour of duty in Iraq.

    I cannot ever accept the idea that war is a solution to anything. Sacrificing our kids simply can’t be the answer. We need leaders who are serious about peace.

  6. Library Lady replied:

    My blog is only 5 months younger than the war. And the parallels between August 2003 and August 2007 are almost as scary as the parallels between Bush and Richard Nixon.

    All I can do is hope and pray (in my weird agnostic way) that saner heads will prevail and the troops will come home.
    And even with daughters, I’m wondering the same thing about one day having to send them to Canada…

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