Not at ALL What You Thought

Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Motherhood Solidarity

Adding my 1.5c (because it's all I have right now):

So, as many of you know, my 16yo, Juice, has a job now, at a local movie joint. She's exhausted at the end of any given eight-hour stint, but ecstatic that she has her own money now. Too ecstatic, actually.

It is this joy in her own money that was at the heart of our first argument about her having a job: she wanted to work more hours (and more days) than I would let her: even school days; even late-night hours, when we both knew who would have to get her up the next morning; even during SOL week. The child's stance was that since she had agreed to work, she had absolutely no say in what hours or days she would have to work. My stance was "Bull." There was yelling, by golly, and then, because I (finally) realized that I was wasting my time with that child, I emailed one of the theatre managers. (Sucks to be him: he belongs to my church [as nearly everybody does], and so he has to suffer such slings and arrows.) I told him that the child was trying to graduate from high school, with a particular level of success, and go to college. I pointed out that if she was "forced" to work during the week and during late-night hours, this attempt would fail.

See I knew that the deal was: she wanted to work extra hours and get extra money. She finally admitted it. But unbeknownst to the child, Manager adjusted the child's schedule. With alacrity. Man's got good sense.

Which is more than I can say for my child. Or, maybe, myself. Fast-forward to last night. Expressing the same ecstasy, Juice told us that she was getting a promotion: from Concessions, she was moving to Box Office (yes, where folk sell tickets). And she needed to be at the movie joint for training by 6 pm. Her sister had to be somewhere else by 630, so there was right much rushing and finagling, as is per usual in my household these days. In the midst of said rushing and finagling, I forgot to ask (and Child "forgot" to tell me) exactly when her training would be over that night.

I hung out with the child's sister, at a school band awards ceremony/dinner, for two hours. (I'll spare you the description of the Nerdiness Waves that washed over my soul as my younger daughter --reportedly* one of The Cool Kids-- deserted me and ignored me for nearly the entire function, going off to sit at The Cool Kids' Table. Only the appearance of BF and her husband, with their band-member daughter in tow, kept me from shooting myself. Ah, nostalgia.)

At the end of the ceremony/dinner, I texted Juice, asking, "How much longer?" I've had way too many experiences of exhaustedly going home to wait for her call and getting said call two minutes after I've kicked off my shoes and thrown myself on the family-room couch. My plan was to leave the middle school and scoop up Juice on the way home.

But Juice did not reply. So I went to the movie joint anyway and parked in the lot. "Training," I thought, "could hardly last much longer." Ha (as you have no doubt said to yourself). An hour later, I was fuming. The child couldn't call me and let me know how much longer she'd be? Finally, I threw myself out of the car and aimed me at the box-office window, where I could make out Juice's locks and eyeglasses, glinting in artificial light. She was laughing and joking with her coworkers, but as I marched closer and closer, and she recognized me as the grumpy, control-freak she's been living with for the past sixteen years, the smile froze on her face. She attempted some hubris, but finally had to ask her "trainer" to allow her to talk to her mother.


She couldn't ask her "trainer" to allow her to text her mother back with the salient information, no. But after her mother had come all the way out to . . . . Let me just say, right now, that I'm quite aware of the workingperson's obligations to her superiors. Being employed myself, I know that respect (whether real or pasted on) for TPTB is critical in the working world --if one wishes to remain employed. I realize, also, that Some Kid Attached to a Cell Phone is not really the dream of every employer.

However. You know?

ANYway, the child came out and I gave her what Mama calls "Down the Country." At this point, two friends of mine (a colleague and her husband) emerged from the joint after having seen Iron Man. (Have y'all seen it? It's pretty good if you turn your mind off for a coupla hours.) They walked right up, happy to have run into folk they hadn't seen since the college had (for all intents and purposes) shut down for the summer.

I had to arrange my face, but I managed to hug my colleague and simultaneously warn Juice with my eyes that her "trainer's" promise of "fifteen more minutes" had better be accurate to the second; Juice went back into the Box. My friends, very astute individuals, wanted to know what Juice had done, and I told them. So for the next twenty-five minutes (the "trainer" lied), my friends tried to calm me down. There was talk of murder, mostly from me (okay, entirely from me), but it ended with speculation. Juice needs to fall to her knees and thank the living God that those folk showed up. Just sayin.

Of course, it was only during the ride home that I learned that the "training" was supposed to've lasted for three hours; that Juice would be getting paid, on a weeknight, for coming to the "training" (working, actually, regardless to what Juice protested: I saw her selling tickets); and that my daughter has gotten entirely too excited at the prospect of earning more and more money.

I know: I should be glad the child's got a job, and she likes it and she's glad to work. I should be. But it's the principle of the thang. Some mother out there (and it doesn't have to be a mother, either, right?) is feelin me right now, to wit: One simply does not inconvenience, disrespect, and ignore one's mother (particularly when she is your only means of transportation for the time being) to make extra money --unless, of course, one is paying household bills.

Dear Jesus, my brother, help me not to kill my children.

*These reports are Goobs, in fact.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My New Obsession

I've answered over 1400 questions, less than 50% correctly, and I still can't stop. I've Joined The Crowd (I'm tellin ya, do NOT use the A-word* up in there), accumulated "friends" but no conversation, and I still can't stop.

Ya been warned.

*Like Christina, it's to blame for The End of Civilization As We Know It.

Thank you, Jesus, for something else to do.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Merry Mother's Day!

Mine began getting up at 830, still agonizingly sleepy, and determined to get to Mama's church on time. Showered, found my (presently) favorite suit, comfortable hose, my (currently) favorite pumps, and very uncomfortable --ahem-- foundation garaments.

Woke up Goobs. "You gots fifteen minutes."

"What time is it?"

"9:05. Tighten up."

After tightening up, Goobs wanted to know if she and her sister had to dress up. I said I didn't know, but it'd be nice if they looked nice. So, of course, Goobs found her favorite outfit, a flowy, short, navy sleeveless dress with matching diaphonous duster and Juice (after tightening up) wore a very wrinkled, long, pink button-down shirt over a black, long-sleeved thermal and blue jeans that happened to have a matching pink flower applique'd on 'em.

"Iron that," I said.

We got to Mama's church in plenty of time, so, of course, my nepphies found Goobs and Juice and ran off with them somewhere. When I ran into my sister, we wondered for a hot minute where the kids were and then greeted a very strange man with a weird mustache. (After my sister went up into the choir stand, but before service had actually started, the strange man came by again, and I greeted him again. When the speaker for the day directed us to greet a nearby mother, the strange man just happened to come over, so I could greet him one more time.)

The speaker for the day talked about mothers in the bible: Hagar, Jocebed, Lois, each representing wonderful mother attributes. Unlike my pastor, he was very brief. He prayed for the congregation after his message and then offered to pray for individuals, just before he dismissed us.

I should say that Mama had planned to go to one of the several "Texas" steakhouses in Virginia. But, Saturday night, she got a phone call from the husband of my best friend, who (the husband, I mean) invited her, her husband, my sister, my sister's family, my family and me to their home. He was gonna cook. This invitation turned Mama's mind into a maelstrom. Could BFHubby feed all of us? ("He wouldn't've invited us if he couldn't, Mama," said my sister. "But we'll do what you want us to do. It's your day.") Finally, Mama decided to go to one of the (cheaper) "Chinese" restaurants in Virginia. Wok and Roll offered lobster on their buffet for Mother's Day ($10.99).

"It's the one where Old Country Buffet used to be," Mama said. "Let's have dessert at [BF's] house." I text'd BFHubby to let him know.

We met at Wok and Roll. Or, rather, my sister, her family, and my family met there. We scored a big table in the back, and a little one (for our kids) blessed the food we were about to eat, and went to get said food. Mama and Pop Pop showed up fifteen minutes later.

We ate. We talked. We laughed. At one point, First Nepphie told his father he couldn't finish his egg roll, but he needed to try because he'd read a sign on the buffet asking people not to waste food.

"There was a black man on the sign," Nepphie said. For some reason, the adults found this assertion hilarious. We laughed until tears ran down our cheeks.

My sister's husband insisted upon paying for everyone's meal. The rest of us contented ourselves with leaving a fat tip. On the way out of Wok and Roll, I pointed out the "Please eat what you take" signs posted at the buffet. They were illustrated with colorful little "everyman" images one finds in MSWord. Their faces, as far as I could tell, were dark purple.

"I thought [nepphie] meant there was a picture of an actual black person on the sign," said my sister. We never saw any lobster.

We piled into our cars and drove over to BF's house. BF's family was just getting home from church. BF's Hubby was bubbly and friendly, as always, and BF was hungry and cranky, as she has been since December (when she had their third child). They hadn't eaten since breakfast (and it was 3 pm), but BF's Hubby made up an ice cream bar with Gummy Bears, Oreo crumbles, nuts, chocolate syrup, caramel, chocolate chip crumbles, etc. (He'd made the crumbles by hand.) Then he and his wife made chicken Alfredo with linguine and fresh broccoli.

"I love this stuff!" said BF's older son, the one who eats hardly anything.

"Mommy!" Juice cried. "It's 3:18!" She had to be at work by 3:30. She jumped into BF's guest bathroom and changed into her uniform. I rushed her off to the movies. When I got back, BF's Hubby was pulling out the French Vanilla ice cream and bowls, calling everyone over and personally serving each guest.

Mama and Pop Pop showed up about twenty minutes later.

We ate. We talked. We laughed. Mama appropriated BF's newest son and put him to sleep. (He tried to fight it, too much was going on, he didn't want to miss a thing, but how could he resist experienced cooing and jiggling?) Mama made me tell the "Two men and a woman interviewed for the FBI" joke* to BF and her husband, who had never heard it before. They nearly fell out their chairs laughing. We all agreed it was an inappropriate joke to tell on Mother's Day (and yet it was the joke that the speaker for the day told at Mama's church).

In the family room, my nepphies, Goobs and BF's older children had pulled out the Wii. My sister, after much prodding and wheedling, talked Mama and Pop Pop into playing. Pop Pop caved first. He was really good at pitching, Goobs said, often reaching speeds of 95 mph, but wasn't good at bat. Mama, an exceptional bowler in real life, couldn't figure out how to Wii bowl.

I still think Mama's gonna get one of those Wii's.

My sister took her sons home about the time Mama and Pop Pop decided to go home. By that time, though, I was only an hour away from picking Juice up from work, so I told BF that we weren't leaving until then. She was too tired to fight me.

We watched the kids make Wii Miis (one named "Gine"), and then they all decided to watch Hairspray. Halfway through, Goobs and I had to pick up Juice from work. Goobs told Juice everything that had happened at BF's house. We got home and everybody except me jumped into their jammies.

Sometimes, Life IS Good.

Thank you, Jesus, my brother, for friends and family (again).

*Scroll down to about half the page. Or read the other jokes. Some are funny!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Desperate Daring

Somewhere, a black person, no, not That Man, a nobody, just one of those 'Bots, is daring to hope. But because One Woman may be losing hope, because public opinion has attacked her from day one, this hope is being characterized as "schadenfreude," "smugness," "glee."

This black person's hope is "really" schadenfreude, smugness and glee because somebody else, somebody who knows that black person better than s/he knows her/himself, says so. Again.

Because how dare s/he hope for a piece of history that doesn't smell of the Chain and the Lash and the Dogs and the Hose?

Dear Jesus, my Brother, give us the power --and the desire-- to fight the forces that would keep us from seeing each other clearly.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

For ALL the Mothers

(I don't know who wrote this, but I some like it. For all my friends who are mothers, used to be mothers, are about to be mothers, and/or are acting in loco parentis: Keep your heads up. Your work means everything.)

This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with
sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up puke laced with Oscar Mayer
wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy ' s here".

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing
crying babies who can ' t be comforted. This is for all the mothers who
show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their
blouses and diapers in their purses.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies
and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections
are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal
bleachers at football, hockey or soccer games instead of watching from
the warmth of their cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see
me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course; I wouldn't have missed it for
the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in
the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet
and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who
count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their
children and explained all about making babies. And for all the (grand)
mothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their
children can eat.

For all the mothers who read Goodnight, Moon twice a
night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to
tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers
who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook
and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically
when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their
own offspring are at home -- or even away at college.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to
school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they
got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking
them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who
can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed
when their 14-year-olds dye their hair green [or pierce their lips.
Don't ask].

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school
shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who
sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came
home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to
be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway?

Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to
nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same

Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you
watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school
alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed
to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when
you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again
in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your
child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our
thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and
sleep deprivation...

And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.

Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all. For all of us.

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we
can. Tell them every day that we love them. And pray.

Dear Jesus, my Brother, thank you for Mama.