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FUNNY WOMEN #87: Delusions of Grandeur

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A suburban mother considers what life would look like if she was/did/believed all the things she thought she should.

I met my husband while on location at a photo shoot for a perfume ad. I was the scantily-clad siren posing in the waves, and he was the beefy guy with his hands on my waist, his face buried into curve of my neck. In between takes, we got to talking. Turned out, he was a surgeon who modeled during his vacation time to finance his underprivileged patients’ surgeries. I told him that I was a novelist and modeled in between books to support the online charity I’d founded to send unwanted makeup to women abroad.

Some people dismiss Loving Lipstick as a frivolous and insignificant charity, but that’s just the kind of in-the-box thinking that’s not saving our planet. Not only does Loving Lipstick bolster the self-esteem of women around the world, it protects Mother Earth and battles skin cancer. Just think of all the tubes, bottles, and compacts we’ve kept out of landfills. Think of all the moisturizers with sunscreen these women wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. It’s a cause that brings tears to my eyes, and that afternoon, it brought tears to my husband’s eyes. He understands how challenging it is to be so beautiful on the outside people can’t see how much more beautiful you are within.

We got married that weekend in a simple affair on the same beach where we’d met. It was just the two of us promising our lives to one another in flowing white linen ensembles. We started our family that same night. I’m naturally fertile, so I conceive easily, and because I’m so tall, you can’t tell when I’m pregnant. This allows me to model right up until my delivery. Then all I need is to find a quiet corner where I can use my breath to call my baby into the world. It’s an unborn baby’s fear of life outside the womb that causes painful contractions. With meditation, babies deliver themselves.

We now have six children that are growing like tall, resplendent, but individually unique sunflowers. I attribute their strong sense of identity to homeschooling. I studied educational theory and developed my own home school curriculum so that my children wouldn’t have to endure an institutionalized education. We only have two teachers: nature and literature. By day, our children work the land. They grow all our fruits and vegetables. They ask our chickens’ permission before gathering their eggs, and they make cheese and yogurt from our goats’ gifts of milk. At night, we read the classics. First in English, then a translation in either French or Spanish.

Our children have also come to love charity work. They’ve each founded their own online organizations to raise money for their favorite causes. Within our family alone we’ve raised millions of dollars for bees, children in need of sunglasses, and organic fibers. Sometimes I wish my children could give their minds a rest, just watch television or play a video game for a change, but they are far too aware of the ills of the world to take pleasure in such mindless distractions.

Because our children are so busy with their own projects, my husband and I have more time for each other. The best thing you can do for your marriage is to find a special place, another home or a favorite boutique hotel, where you can get away with your spouse and reconnect. Some women say, “I can’t leave my kids alone for a weekend every month,” but they’re not thinking about how important it is to model a loving relationship to their children.

I published my first book at twenty, and I’m currently at work on my tenth novel. My plot lines usually comes to me in a brilliant flash, and then I sit down and bang one of those puppies out in a couple of typing sessions. I am one of those writers who is blessed with never having to revise. One of my readers told me she was having my books transcribed by a calligrapher in gold leaf. She said my words are like gemstones and should be set in fine metals.

Other moms ask me how I juggle my writing, modeling, charity work, and a family, and I tell them it’s easy. I don’t. In our family, we take care of each other. That’s a common mistake women make–trying to do too much for their kids when it is such a gift to allow children to care for themselves.

I’ll leave you with this illustrative anecdote: My youngest potty trained herself at twenty-two months. When I’d ask her if she needed help in the bathroom, she’d say, “No, Mommy, I do it.” And it struck me that in allowing her complete responsibility over her own toilet training, she’d already mastered one of life’s most valuable lessons: clean up your own shit. I was so proud of her, we celebrated with agave-sweetened cupcakes.

Cheers.

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Huda Al-Marashi's work has appeared in the anthologies Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of Muslim American Women, Becoming: What Makes a Woman, In Her Place, and the forthcoming Beyond Belief. She is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Workforce Fellowship, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County citizens. More from this author →