Monday, April 27, 2015

#marref: What Would Fionn Mac Cumhaill's Mothers Say?

"We never intended to raise children" starts Bodhmall, welcoming me to the home she shares with her life partner Liach Luachra in an enchanting rural wood. They've been kind enough to share with me their experiences raising a child as parents of the same gender. Look it up if you don't believe me.
"But when your brother in law is brutally murdered by your father and your sister is forced to live on the run from men who want to burn her alive based on her choice of partner, well, you step up."
Liach nods her agreement as she roasts a hare over their open hearth. She joins in.
"It was a mess. We were totally unprepared. People always think of Fionn Mac Cumhaill as a fearless giant of a man, able to defeat entire armies in single combat. But they don't think what it's like to raise a child with that much energy."
"I think parenting is knowing you've been given the most important job in the world to do. That you've been given something precious - the chance to give someone the best start in life - it's terrifying. Because no matter how hard you work at it you'll never think you're doing justice to the person they're becoming."
"You're too hard on yourself" interrupts Bodhmall, setting the table, "our son led na Fianna, killed the fire breathing fairy Aillen, built the Giant's Causeway, and made us that lovely fishing lake when he threw the Isle of Man into the sea. He turned out fine."
"I hate to ask, but did you ever find opposition from religious leaders?"
Liach considers my question while sharpening the edge of a disemboweling spear designed to be held between the toes.
"No. I can honestly say we've never been troubled by the Druids."
I ask if they can tell me a little about Fionn's early days. Like any parents they smile at the opportunity to share happy memories.
"Martial arts really helped Fionn focus that energy of his. I swear, before he started on the spear and sword we were run ragged. But once we had him sparring a couple of times a day he started sleeping through the night and we were able to make regular time for ourselves. You know, as a couple. It's important as new parents to do that. Especially if either one of you can disembowel a man at twenty paces. It doesn't do to let pent up frustrations linger."
Liach nods sagely. I raise my final question cautiously.
"There are some who say children should only be raised by a man and a woman in in a married relationship. That men and women have unique traits that are essential to raising a child. What would you say to that?"
The silence terrifies. Liach smiles and tries to put me at ease.
"I find people like that don't like to say what these 'unique' roles are. If you look at any claimed gender specific trait closely enough it tends to disappear into the vapour. I mean, Bodhmall and I are undefeated in single combat, and many men have tried. And a lot of Fionn's schooling took place outside the home and some people say that's a woman's responsibility. But even if you did go in for gender roles - are you really going to argue Fionn doesn't fit the traditional mould of masculinity?"
Bodhmall is examining the edge of the spear Liach recently sharpened.
"These Druids who think I'm a bad parent. Would they be within twenty paces of here?"

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