By Mary Becelia
I've been a mommy-lit fan for years. I love to read anthologies, blogs and other forums where parents share tales of child-rearing misadventures. Often when reading these stories I think, "Dang! I wish I'd come up with that idea!" and then try to forget about it for fear that I will unwittingly plagiarize some other writer's work.
But there is one piece that I cannot get out of my head, because I really should have written this one! How did Tracey Mayor beat me to writing "Armageddon Mama," published in Brain, Child magazine's fall 2010 issue? More to the point, she not only beat me to writing it, but even beat me on having the idea...because while I fret (nearly) all the time about impending oil shortages, terrorist attacks, flu pandemics and various climate-change induced crises and how these happenings may affect my children's future, I never thought of putting these macabre scenarios down on paper.
I still won't, for fear of losing my readership, but while Ms. Mayor gets all the well-deserved acclaim for her prescient essay, including interviews on NPR and mention in The New York Times, I have been preparing for a society-wide crisis...albeit in a fairly half-assed sort of way...for years.
Note my bookshelf, replete with titles such as The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times, The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies and When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes, which I am counting on to help me survive the fallout, if I can dig out from the fallout, that is.
Next, a tour of my closet--there is aluminum foil so I can construct a solar oven if I ever need it. There are some emergency rations and later I'll show you the bathrooms--in each I have stored several gallons of water. Note the sterno cans and mini camping stove! Observe the water filtration kit! There are plenty of garbage bags and plastic wrap, too, leftover from pre-Y2K should we have to enclose ourselves and actually LIVE in the closet for awhile. As I told you: I've been planning this for a long time.
I'll stop the tour, but you get the idea. I'm not exactly sure what shape Armageddon will take, if it happens, and I honestly hope it doesn't. Grubbing around in the yard for acorns to grind into flour, setting traps for squirrels for the stew pot once we go through our emergency stores...ugh. I never want to face this sort of scenario, but I have my doubts about the sustainability of our current lifestyle, and what the future holds for my kids.
If all that doesn't make me an "Armageddon Mama" then I don't know what does. Here's hoping my title never makes it beyond this essay, however. I have no desire to construct a solar oven, let alone hunt squirrels...
Mary Becelia lives in Stafford with her husband and two children, and is considering adding a small flock of chickens to the homestead.