Parents are Cool!
The experience of parenthood is, to borrow from one commenter on the internet, highly specific and deeply relatable. Any parent can tell you parenthood involves all the smoke — bodily fluids, carpal tunnel, tweaked backs, overdrawn cards, mysterious “colds” every five weeks, unnecessary gear, YouTube hacks and fails, among other things — but there’s a certain coolness to parenting under fire. Formerly necessary tasks just get done without fanfare or become an afterthought. Stains get worn through multiple washes with no irony. Schedules are clear but have no extra space for the spontaneous kiki at E.P. & L.P. at 5 p.m. or brunch at Home. That’s because today isn’t your day, despite what CHANI promised for your sun sign this morning. Every day as a parent belongs to your kids.
What do cool parents in L.A. do? They run fashionably late. At least 45 minutes, including traffic. They drop their kids off at daycare and refresh the kid reports every hour, hoping to see those two letters “BM.” They arrive at their destination only to remain in the car for an extra 15 minutes to complete the sleep cycle. They chase down rebounds that clanked off the double-rim. They sell bouquets on the sun-soaked offramp while their kids kick it in the shade near the cooler. They show up at the park with enough seating for you and your little friend. Parents are masters of the craft of care; their practice involves doing it all.
This one’s for L.A.’s newly minted, “pan-gen” dads and moms, the long-time uncles, aunties, sisters, adopted family members, step-siblings, nannies, teachers, mentors, godparents, support systems, friends, grandparents and everyone in between. The third installment of Image is called “Parents Are Cool!” This issue examines, as Julissa James writes, “the tender gestures of care; the tedious, daily grind of providing; the practice and performance of giving and receiving love; the myriad forms of carving out space for growth; the one-to-one drama of interpersonal interaction; the healing power of nurturing; the presentation and promise of safety; the radical act of acceptance.”
Let these brilliant Angeleno artists and writers give you a new appreciation for parenting. Novelist Angela Flournoy talks to Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the L.A. chapter of Black Lives Matter, about womanist mothering and activism. Writer and humorist Dave Schilling charts the unlikely trajectory of the dad hat through the perils of our modern age. Curator and critic Essence Harden and artist Adee Roberson explore the concept of family as assemblage. Writer and cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux reclaims the “mom aesthetic” through a hilarious meditation on going topless in public.
Say it with us, L.A.: Parents are cool! Parents are cool! Parents are cool! We know it’s a truism, but there are nuances to be explored in the obvious.
Ian F. Blair