Published November 11, 2014, The Feminist Wire
As a kid, I loved nothing more than family gatherings. The adults partied the night away in the basement or front rooms of the host family’s home, and we children were sequestered away from their drinking and debauchery, piled up in the host child’s bedroom and left to our own devices. Those nights, filled with the unrestrained joy of being reunited after however many months had elapsed since our last visit, siblings and cousins challenged each other to play the dozens, sneak beer from the adults, and to stay awake far past the time that our preteen brains could function. No one wanted to get caught sleeping. The literal meaning mirrored the figurative, to be caught unaware or with one’s guard down. In my family, the first child to doze would awaken to find their face painted in toothpaste or whipped cream. The adults also seemed to partake in a similar ritual. Old family photos show slumbering aunts with empty liquor bottles planted around them and napping uncles oblivious to the colorful barrettes that had been placed in their afros.