by Valerie White
One of my favorite songs is Bob Blue’s “My Mom Was a Hippie”, in which a young boy bemoans his parents’ crunchy-granola values. They care more about protesting war than they care about getting a half-decent car. His friends’ parents live more traditional lives, while his are “counter-culture”, and he doesn’t even know what that means. He wishes racism, pollution, sexism and nuclear bombs would just go away so his parents could be ordinary.
Time has passed since Bob Blue wrote those lyrics, and there are very few children around nowadays whose moms were hippies way back in the sixties, who used to wear beads and have three-foot long hair.
Of course, the children in my family have a mom who was a hippie. They have me. But that’s only because their parents are a poly triad that contains not only me but also two people young enough to have new children. Two people who were born in the early sixties and therefore never wore beads.
As much as I love the song (and I’ve sung it many times to the kids in the car on the way to school), I had a feeling it needed updating. Over the last while, I’ve finally come up with these new verses for our kids to sing when the weirdness of their family gets on their nerves:
My parents are poly.
That means there are three of them.
No one I know has two moms and a dad.*
But when I need something there’s usually one of them
Ready to help me and that makes me glad.
Tom’s mom just has one partner.
Tad’s dad cheats on his wife.
Mine say sexual honesty’s
One of the rules of their life.
I wish there were nothing like rape, homophobia
Sexual predators, pedophile priests.
Then people could all live like rational humans
And not act like ravening beasts.
Mind you, I wrote this for my own and my kids’ amusement, but it has caused me to think . . . which I feel ought to be one of the functions of art, right? There has been a thread lately on one of the poly email lists about the extent to which polyamory is a political statement, a world-changing stance, and not just a way of getting what you personally want out of your life and your sexuality.
I have to admit I was skeptical about polyamory as politics. But when I read over those new lyrics I realize that actually sexual honesty, which is what polyamory is all about, does have the potential to change the world. To change it into a place where people can live like rational humans. And into a place where children can get their needs met.
*It’s true that no one they know has two moms and a dad, even though they know lots of kids with two moms and they do know four kids in one family who have a mom and two dads. So for those four, I offer a custom-tailored replacement line:
No one I know has a mom and two dads.
It even still rhymes! (Well, as well as the original one did.)