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纽约时报双语:母亲节的圈套

2018-5-9 18:11| 发布者: admin| 查看: 136| 评论: 0

摘要: 母亲节的圈套The Mother’s Day TrapMARGARET RENKL2018年5月9日When I was a girl, I often imagined the profession I would practice when I grew up. Being a librarian would mean getting paid to read books. ...

母亲节的圈套

The Mother’s Day Trap

MARGARET RENKL

2018年5月9日

 

When I was a girl, I often imagined the profession I would practice when I grew up. Being a librarian would mean getting paid to read books. Being a veterinarian would mean getting paid to love animals. Was there a job where people got paid to walk around in the woods? I would probably find out in college.

 

我小的时候曾经常想像自己长大后要从事的职业。做图书管理员意味着,我能从看书中挣钱。做兽医意味着,我能从热爱动物中挣钱。有什么工作能让人从在树林里遛弯中挣钱吗?上大学后也许能找到答案。

 

I’m not sure how I got this idea of myself as a professional woman. I was a child of the small-town South of the early ’60s, and all the women I knew stayed home with their children, whether they cared to or not. (This was true of white women, I should say; the African-American women of my Alabama childhood were mostly working in the homes of white women who didn’t work at all.)

 

我不知道我把自己当成职业女性的想法是从哪里来的。我是20世纪60年代初在南方小镇长大的人,我认识的所有女性都和孩子一起待在家里——不管她们是否愿意(这是指白人女性。在我童年时代的亚拉巴马州,黑人女性大多在白人女性家里干活,白人女性则什么都不干)。

 

I also expected to get married and have children. Of course I would; that’s what little girls did. I would finish high school and then college. I would go to work and get married and have a baby. The baby — and someday that baby’s siblings — would be the crowning glory of it all. I would love my work, but my work would be merely something I did, not something I was. What I would be was a mother.

 

我也想到要结婚和生孩子。我当然会这样想;那时侯的小女孩都这样想。我会从高中毕业,然后从大学毕业。我会去工作,会结婚生孩子。这个孩子——以及这个孩子将来会有的弟弟妹妹——会成为让我人生完美的荣耀。我会喜欢我的工作,但我的工作只会是我所做的事情,而不是我会成为的人。我会成为的是母亲。

 

It’s not such a retro idea when you grow up in a family like mine. My mother chafed mightily at stay-at-home motherhood, but I asked her once what she felt she had been born to be, and without hesitation she said, “I was born to be a mother.” My father felt the same way about being a father. Everything my parents did, they did to support the family. We children were their role in the world.

 

如果你在一个像我这样的家庭长大的话,这些想法并不落伍。我母亲对做全职妈妈的限制非常恼火,但有一次,我问她,她觉得自己生来应该做什么时,她毫不犹豫地说:“我生来就是做母亲的。”我父亲对做父亲也有同样的感受。我父母所做的一切都是为了支撑这个家庭。我们这些子女定义了他们在世界上的角色。

 

So how surprising is it that I grew up believing that everything in my own life was only a preparation for the day my first child was born, a circle I was drawing that would not be closed until the last child arrived. It did not occur to me that each of my imagined babies, the ones who represented the completion of my life, was born to draw a different circle. In the Venn diagram of their circles and mine, the overlap was barely an instant. The second my own circle was complete, it was already cracking open.

 

所以,我在成长过程中一直认为,自己一生所做的事情都只是在为我的第一个孩子出生的那天做准备,这有什么可奇怪的呢。我画的这个圈子直到最后一个孩子降生才会圆满。我并没想过,我想象中的那些代表我人生圆满的婴儿,每个都命中注定要画出不同的圈子。将他们的圈子和我的圈子构建的维恩图(Venn diagram)重叠几乎只是一瞬间的事。我自己的圈子在圆满的那一刻就已经开始破开。

 

Mother’s Day, with its hothouse flowers and its restaurant brunches, is only a visible manifestation of the persistent cultural belief that motherhood is the climax of female life. A man who is not a father is assigned no special designation at all, but a woman without children is too often thoughtlessly called “childless,” as though she’s lacking something, as though she is diminished, incomplete.

 

母亲节、以及随之而来的温室鲜花和餐厅早午餐,只不过是做母亲是女性人生顶点这种持续不断的文化观念的可见表达。一个不是父亲的男性从来未被贴上任何特殊的标签,但是,一个没有孩子的女性常常被不加思考地贴上“无后”的标签,就好像她缺少了什么,好像她被贬低、她不完整似的。

 

But God help the woman who believes this message too wholeheartedly, who feels too acutely that motherhood truly defines her. The very culture that insists that raising a child is the single most important thing a woman can do with her life also maintains that she must be willing to surrender that identity the instant her child leaves home. The notorious “helicopter parent,” the meddling mother, the critical mother-in-law — these are all tropes at least as pervasive and unchallenged as any Madonna and Child image of manifest womanhood. A mother who can’t “let go” is a grasping, desperate creature, entirely to be pitied if not openly reviled.

 

但是,对那个全心全意地相信这种文化观念的女性,那个认为做母亲真的定义了自己人生的女性,我只能说上帝保佑她。这个坚持认为抚养孩子是女性一生中最重要之事的文化,同时也坚持认为,在她的孩子离开家的那个时刻,她必须心甘情愿地放弃母亲的身份。臭名昭著的“直升机父母”、爱管闲事的妈妈、爱挑剔的婆婆——这些说法都至少像任何表现了女性特质的《圣母和圣婴》(Madonna and Child)一样普遍存在、且不受挑战。一个不能“放手”的母亲是一个一味攫取的绝望家伙,对这种人即使不公开辱骂,也只能是彻底怜悯了。

 

Laments about helicopter parents who can’t let go are missing the point for rank-and-file moms like me. How many of us really have time to micromanage a kid’s life when the kid is no longer a kid? Even if I had the time, I wouldn’t be tempted: The oldest of my three sons is fully on his own, and my other two, now in college, manage their affairs perfectly well themselves. Their lives, I know, will inevitably include me less and less.

 

有关那些不能放手的“直升机父母”的抱怨,对像我这样的普通妈妈来说是无的放矢。我们当中有多少人真有时间去对一个不再是孩子的孩子管头管脚呢?即使我有那种时间,我也不会去操那份心:我三个儿子中最大的一个已经完全独立,另外两个目前在上大学,他们都把自己的事情管得好好的。我知道,我将不可避免地在他们的生活中占越来越少的比重。

 

It wasn’t always this way. When the house my grandparents lived in burned down during the Depression, the whole family moved in with my great-grandparents. When my other great-grandmother became widowed, she joined them in the farmhouse. No one questioned the wisdom of this arrangement or suspected any of them of being emotionally stunted, unable to let go. They simply expected to spend the rest of their lives together, sitting on the porch in the cool of the evening, talking to one another.

 

事情并不总是这样。当我爷爷奶奶住的房子在大萧条时期被烧毁时,全家搬到了我的曾祖父母那里。当我的另一个曾祖母守寡后,她也搬到了他们的农场。没人问这种安排是否明智,也没人怀疑她们中的某个人感情发育不足,无法放手。她们只是想共度余生,一起在凉爽的夜晚坐在门廊上相互聊天。

 

I love the symmetry of a life like that, love the idea of Sunday dinner after church, the whole family gathered around one big farmhouse table, but I’m also grateful to live in my own time and place. And I have always been too busy to feel sad when my children passed into new stages of competence and independence, even knowing that very independence would one day take them away from me.

 

虽然我喜欢那种生活的对称,喜欢去教堂后、全家人围坐在农舍一张大餐桌旁吃周日大餐,但我也谢天谢地能在自己的时间和地点生活。我的孩子们步入每个能力和独立的新阶段时,我都忙得顾不上感到悲伤,尽管我知道,这种独立有朝一日会让他们从我的身边离开。

 

But I struggle with the constant reminders that my sons share their lives primarily with people I’ve never met, that they all do work I know only in its broadest outlines. They love me; I know that. They call often to chat, and they don’t hesitate to ask for advice if they’re unsure of something. But exactly as their own culture demands, they have also created lives in which my husband and I are on the margins. Peripheral. Almost obsolete. Even a house fire would not send them back to live with us forever.

 

但我努力摆脱一个不断的提醒,那就是,我的儿子们将主要与我从未见过的人共享他们的生活,他们都在做我只知道点皮毛的工作。他们爱我;这点我知道。他们经常打电话跟我聊天,如果对某个问题感到不确定的话,他们会毫不犹豫地寻求我的建议。但正如他们自己的文化所要求的那样,他们也创造了自己的生活圈子,我和我丈夫只能处在他们圈子的外围。外围。几乎该被淘汰了。即使房子着火也不会把他们送回来,与我们永远住在一起。

 

I will love having them all home for Mother’s Day, but in one tiny little corner of my mind I will also be missing the days when they were still so small and so needy, when the family circle was still close and closed. I will miss the smell of their sweaty little-boy necks and the feel of their damp fingers clutching my blouse as I bounced them on my hip. And I will remember all the years when Mother’s Day meant crayoned cards and plaster-of-Paris handprints and weedy bouquets made of clover and henbit and creeping Charlie and dandelion. The most beautiful flowers in all the world.

 

他们都回家来过母亲节,这将让我欣喜万分,但在我内心深处的一个小小角落里,我也将怀念那些他们仍是那么小、那么需要我的日子,因为那时的家庭圈子很小,也很封闭。我会怀念他们汗水淋漓的小男孩脖子的气味,还有在我的大腿上蹦跳时,他们潮湿的小手抓着我衬衫的感觉。我也会记得所有过去的母亲节,那些年里,母亲节意味着用彩色蜡笔画的贺卡、石膏手印,以及用车轴草、宝盖草、金钱薄荷和蒲公英做的花束。那些才是世界上最美的。


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