Odd and out of sorts 

Odd weekend. 

Friday’s big game that I had been looking so forward to was tainted by a troll of a dad. I barely remember the game over my seething that despite having a 0 bullying policy for our children we allow Some fathers to bully school teachers into making decisions that teach our children that he who whines loudest wins. My daughter didn’t get to play 2nd against her travel teammates. She didn’t get to proudly play in-field against a group of girls that only think of her as an outfielder. She was disappointed. I was devastated for her. Once again my beautiful girl suprised me. She showed more character than the adults in the situation and took the field with a smile and have 100% in the field. Her batting belayed her emotions. She walked once only to get out when a line drive hit her foot as she took off for 2nd and struck out. 

We celebrated some good plays with pizza and a beer for me. It was hard ordering a beer a) by myself and b) to drink by myself. Grabbing a pizza and a beer after a game just seemed a very couple-y think to do on a Friday night. But I did it-alone-and drank it-determined not to let it matter that it was just me and my bigs. 

Saturday I had to watch a delated group of girls get beat-again. That was expected. The slumped shoulders and silent dug-out was not. Residual damage from losing the only coach that gave them hope. 9 girls let down by the actions of men. We’d started with such momentum and spirit. It was gone. 

To distract everyone (me) we went to the mall. We parked and were immediately smack dab in the middle of a details at 11p kind of story that involved a foot race, the brandishing of a gun right in front of us—not at us—and police. No one got hurt but it was a rather jolting reality that guns are much more a part of our reality then I realized. 

A quick lunch was required for us to sit down as our knees were all a bit shaky. We sat and the 3 of us ordered. I was acutely aware that we were surrounded by couples. Only I sat alone. Everyone else was partnered. For the 2nd day in a row I was alone in a situation that clearly reminded me that life was built for 2. My bigs didn’t notice. They were happy to be eating out. We ate quickly and got out of there. 

Saturday night my big girl and I watched a movie about a mom being forced to let go of her college age son. At one point the struggling mom asked a male character about his relationship with his mother. She asked about what he wanted from her and he answered,”I wanted her to have her own life!” It was one line in an hour and a half movie but I couldn’t shake it. I’d spent all day with my bigs. I’d loved it but I wondered…was I suffocating my bigs and making them wish I had my own life so I wasn’t so intertwined in theirs? 

Another thought kept me up most of the night….what do I do to create my own life? 

Sunday I spent the day around friends. Though surrounded I felt isolated. Just one is those days where I couldn’t make my smile light up my eyes. I wanted to but couldn’t quite fake it well enough. 

I spent Sunday evening trying to figure out a way to share in an adventure my baby bug is going to be having soon. Nothing made logical sense. She’ll experience a magical experience without me or her brother and sister and it makes me incredibly sad. It upsets my big daughter too. She wanted to be the one who introduced her baby sister to the princesses. She’s bothered that she can’t/won’t get to. I am touched that it matters to her. 

Now I am looking for a disrtacrion for September when I have a day off. For when my girls is at the place shes dreamt of…without me. I can’t find one that makes sense. Adventures aren’t cheap. 

My little bug waits for me in my bed. It’s time to put down my phone and snuggle up to her. She’s already asking if I am  working tomorrow. She’s already cried when I said yes. She’s already antsy and edgy about school tomorrow. I am already antsy  too with words from her teacher echoing in my head,”….she seems so lost….” Knowing my girl isn’t assimilating and seems lost at school makes me feel hollow inside. I can’t fix it for her. I can’t not send her. I can’t do anything but pray she finds some peace about school-a place she will be for another 12 years. 

I’ll do a little praying myself tonight. This week is sure to be trying. I find myself antsy and edgy just like my little one. Maybe she’s not the only one feeling lost. 

But there’s not time for that. 2 softball games, 3 practices, a dentist appointment, a softball tournament, drivers Ed….life is in full swing with no time to rest. 

simple start

A story is written a word at a time. To change my story I have to change a word- a sentence at a time-not a chapter at a time.

I did that tonight. 

I have always wanted to be involved but I’ve always been too intimidated to be a “joiner”. Instead I do my little team treats and small team task here and there. I watch the IT moms in all the committes and think that I’d like to be a part of something but in the end I just stay to the side-in the shadows where I am most comfortable. 

This weekend I was asked to be co-rep to the athletic group that funds my sons high school swim team. I suprised myself by saying, simply, “yes. I’d be proud to.” I didn’t stammer and give 10 reasons why I was the wrong choice. I didn’t hem and haw and make excuses why I couldn’t. I didn’t hesitate. I want to be a bigger part of something I love and I LOVE being a swim mom so I said, “yes.”

Tonight I want to the first meeting. I wasn’t  totally freaked by being in the room with all the “cool” people. I was calm and did my best to act like I belonged there.  Yes, I sat in the back. Yes, I sat alone until my co-rep arrived but I wasn’t miserable and isolated. I even busted all out of my comfort zone and introduced myself to 3 people. To most that sounds absorb. To those that know me. Really know me you’ll understand that was a Stretch for me. I accomplished 2 goals tonight. I participated and I allowed myself to not second guess why I was there. 

So, tonight I wrote a small sentence of my new story…I joined something. It’s a small, simple sentence. But in the end all great stories start that way-don’t they?

  
As team rep I have to raise funds to keep our swimmers in the water. Again-totally out of my wheelhouse but…

Anyone want to buy a $100 raffle ticket for a chance to win $10,000???? Where else are you going to have a 1 in 400 chance at that kind of money?????

Threw a shoe

1st mistake–thinking I looked cute today in my birthday present from my parents. And by cute I mean as cute as one can be at this size and age. Should have known better. The universe has a way of having the last laugh. 

2nd mistake-cheap shoes

3rd mistake–getting all flustered and giddy at the sight of a 25 year old cutie patootie in his precious new interview suit and super trendy messenger bag

4th mistake-too mich baby powder in said cheap shoes. 

Let me ‘splain.

My real job has me in my office and in my chair 99% of the day. Recently I’ve picked up some of my old duties which have me up and moving. This old-new role has me channeling  my inner Julie-the-cruise-director-from The Love Boat persona. It’s been a while since I’ve played this role and I am little rusty. I obviously also forget that while Julie always looked dapper in her blue and white which her snazzy little neck kerchief she also wore comfy and sensible white lace up shoes. For a reason. 

It’s Friday. I donned my cute new shirt, accessorized and slid into some cute flats that matched my cute shirt. I have a picture…NOT because I am  that egotistical but because I wanted to show my mom that I was wearing their birthday present.

  
It’s hot so I spritzed my toes in baby powder to keep them smelling lovely and trotted off to work. 

Walking into work I noticed my shoes flopping a bit. That was an issue because they aren’t floppy shoes. A little creative toes squeezing and the flopping stayed at a minimum. I made it to my office and prepared to start my day. Remember I am used to sitting 9 hours a day.

I hadn’t moved at 11am when I was notifed that my candidate had arrived for his interview. Okay. I drew a deep breath, put on my happy face, channeled my Julie and headed downstairs to greet him. 

Ahhhh-doooorrr-able. He was easily 1/2 my age. I don’t mean anything by this comment except for the very fact that he was precious. He jumped up and offered me his hand. “Ms. Hayes?” Slightly scruffy beard and the whitest teeth this side of a Colgate commercial. “Hi! I am…” He introduced himself and shook my hand with all the enthusiasm of a new college grad interviewing for his first real job…wait a minute…he was a new college grad interviewing for his first real job. He he on a suit with skinny pants and a skinny tie. Probably the first time he’d ever had it on. His mom probably tied the tie. 

I made it through the introductions-somehow. Like I said I was out of practice at the whole perky-sociable thing and I’ve always been flustered around preciously adorable fellows. And this little guy was adorable. 

Pause-I am an old, out of shape and slightly lumpy lady who needs a little-okay A LOT of-work. When I say adorable I don’t mean in a flirty-notice-me-kind of way. I simply mean innocently adorable. Just an old lady appreciating the cuteness of a young lad. Nothing creepy. 

I explain the interview was in another building and that I would be escorting him there. He nodded eagerly and reached down to grab his messenger bag. Oh my gosh. He looked like a banana republic young professional advertisement. The ease at which he flung the bag across his shoulder as he opened the door for me let me know a) this wasn’t just a prop he really was messenger bag cool and b) his momma raised him right. Men my age can’t pull off the messenger bag look. Oh but this 25 year old cutie could! I made sure he was on my “good teeth” side and we headed out. 

While we walked I gave my speil. Luckily it all came back to me. As I recited our great benefit package he nodded and grinned like it was the coolest thing he’d ever heard. And I guess it probably was. He’d probably never had paid time off or affordable healthcare. He practically giggled when I mentioned company paid vision insurance. 

He was so enthusiastic and so cute I totally got lost in the crusie-director persona. I turned in the recruiter charm and talked. I was so engrossed in telling him what a great place it was to work that I totally forget to do my creative toe squeeze thing. 

Picture this…dumpy little old lady in a super cute shirt sauntering down the sidewalk chatting it up with a smiley, handsome, messenger- bag-wearing young lad wearing a skinny legged suit. 

That lasted about 1 minute. 

I can’t even lead up to this well…

Here I am thinking I am cute in my shirt talking to a precious little boy and bam! My 2nd and 3rd mistake collide. I forgot about my shoes. I totally fogot the flip flopping of my flats until I was sashaying down the sidewalk with cutie-patootie and….

Oh lord…..

You can’t make this stuff up….

Walked right out of my shoes!

Mid-speech I had to stop. I glanced down and there are my toes-covered in white baby powder and chipped purple nail polish-naked and bare against the hot cement. My mishappen shoe was on the sidewalk behind me! 

I grinned weakly, held up a single finger indicating we were pausing and looked down. To my horror he looked down too. In slow motion, I back peddled to where my shoe lay empty. I slid it back on. Once on, I Squeezed my toes with all the force I could muster. I dropped my finger indicating the pause was over and resumed the speech and the walk. 

Reason 876 while I must not date. Ever. 

Kicked to the curb

The kindergarten struggle continues.

Monday marked the first day of care rider line drop off. If you’ve never been in an OC car rider line let me assure you that it’s serious business. But I will get to that. 

We’d prepped all weekend-my girl and I. “Mama will drop you off. You’ll go inside. Do you remember where to go?” No matter how many times I asked she answered no. So 86 times I repeated, “turn right at the pretty tree-show me your right. Good girl. Once you turn right look for the big K and turn right again. Then you will see a big W. That’s your class! You can do this.” After the 83rd time my assurances probably started to ring false. I wasn’t feeling so hopeful. 

Monday morning I made a sign that read: I belong to Ms. Wayne in kindergarten. I showed it to my little bug and explained that she could hand it to any adult she saw if she couldn’t remember her way. We tucked it in the side pocket of her boot-bad. 

As luck and poor planning would have it we were 3 minutes late leaving the house. 3 minutes=49 cars. 48 of them pissy and irritable about being in the car rider line at 7:23 am. 

We inched along-me quizzing little bug about her route. I showed her the policemen directing everyone into the looooooonnnnngggggg line. I pointed out all the people in front of us and behind us. I explained we had to hurry so we didn’t make people mad. To ease her woes I let her unbuckle and hug me from the back seat. Inch by inch we made our way to the front. Inch by inch she repeated “I no dude ‘dis mama. I no no where ta go.” Inch my inch my heart sank. Inch by inch my sweat glands cranked up. 

5 cars. 4 cars. I look back. She’s holding her sign and looking doubtful and terrified. 3 cars. SHIT. Forgive the language but it’s all I could think. “I no dude ‘dis mama.” My voice went into falsetto as I assured her she could do it and she would do it. 2 cars. Big girl is in the front seat already irritating me because she insists on keeping her 58 pound bookbag ON while sitting in the seat. When starts whining,”she’s not going to do it mom. She’s not. And everyone is going to freak out and I’ll be late to school.” 

“SHE WILL DO IT. She has to do it,” 2 cars. “Aren’t you baby?”

1 car. I am almost hyperventilating. Big girl is working herself up to a tizzy and little girl is clutching her sign like its a life raft and she’s adrift at sea. 

It’s go time! “Here we go baby!!! You got this!” Molly McSunshine-that’s what I sounded like. Either that are a freaked-out-crazed-car-rider-mom. Both are deranged and slightly scary. 

“No.”

That’s it. No. “You can do this. Be brave. Come in Sadie-girl. We have to do this.”

“No.”

“MOM! People are waiting and getting mad!!!!” Hormonal girl in the front is not helping. I shot daggers her way and turn to give my full attention to the little one in the back. I plaster s grin on my face. No telling now terrifying that looked. “Baby…I know it’s scary but you can do this. You can. Teachers are there to help you. Remember-tree-K and W. C’mon.”

“No.”

“MMMMMMOOOOOOOMMMMM!”

“You are NOT helping,” I scream-oh yeah-like that’s helping anyone-me screaming. I slam the car in park ignoring the evil stares and glares I am getting and hustle around to the passenger rear door. Like Hercules I fling open the door. 

Tiny-tot is sitting there clutching her to sign to her chest. Her eyes are huge. I imagine mine are too. “Baby we have to do this.”

“No. I no’d can do ‘dis,”

“MMMMMMOOOOMMMMMMM!”

“Your school doesn’t start for 25 minutes. STOP!” I shriek. I back it down 10 decibels and say to little one,”Yes. You. Can. Do. This.”

“No.”

“Mmmmmoooooommmmmm!”

I reach in to help the stubborn one out. She goes limp. Big girl wails from the front. Back seat girl is like a limp dishrag…I can’t get a grip. Literally or figuratively.  I am not strong enough to lift her. I am not getting death threat stares from the over-caffeineted people behind me. I give one more heave and…out pops girl, booster seat, booster seat liner, McDonald’s toys, old French fries and a shoe. 

Picture this. I am standing in the curb I a stupid outfit (a whole ‘nother blog) a puddle of a girl still holding a sign, a booster seat and car trash at my feet. Cars are zooming by like we are at pit road of a nascar race. I am tempted to do a single fingered wave to a few of them but I am humiliated enough.  

Oh wait. The humiliation isn’t over. The diva is freaking out like she’s late to her own wedding. Kindergarten girl is stubbornly sitting on the curb and I am totally losing my mind. “SHUT UP,” I scream to diva. “C’mon,” I urge and try and lift up the sloth. She’s all wrapped up in her booster seat and we almost tumble to the ground trying to dislodge her. 

The mom-embarrassment-adrenaline kicks in. I pick up two-ton kick that booster into the backseat and threaten the panicked princess all in one swoop. From the corner of my eye I see a duo of teachers talking just inside the front door of the school. Help has arrived. Finally. 

“You ARE doing this. We have to,” I help her uncrease her sign that got rumpled in the tussle, dust the asphalt off her bum and give her a gentle push toward the door where there are teachers—talking teachers-but at least they are  adults. I make eye contact and mouth HELP to one of them. She nods. She doesn’t quit talking and come our way but she does nod. I take that as my que. 

The gentle push propels her forward. I seize the space between is to get to my side of the car. I practically slide across the hood like Bo Duke. 

My tires practically squeal as I drive away. 

I thought her squished little face with the alligator tears would be the worse thing I had to deal with this school year. 

Wrong.

Seeing my little one standing there, forlorn, on the curb, holding a sign reading, I belong to Ms Wayne in kindergarten, totally trumps the pitiful face. 

This kindergarten stuff is hard. 

  
P.S. She made it to class. I checked. This morning her para-pro was there to “catch her”.

A change 

  I am 45 years old today. I blew out my candles and made a single wish:  I want to change my story. 

This year I need to change my story. 

I am not yet sure how I am going to accomplish this…but I know it means getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself out of the past and headlong into the future. My future. 

Today at lunch I shared my wish with my tribe. The response was immediate. Some were like “I am in!” while others threw out great ideas. One friend asked,”what is it you want to be-strong, quirky, fun, adventurous…” My response was immediate-I want to be all of those things. I want to be ME. 

I do want an adventure. Go somewhere or do something—I don’t care. I need another warrior dash. 

I want to do something fun for me-not the mom me-the ME me. The thing is–I don’t even know what fun for me looks like anymore. But I want to remember…

I want to zip line, jump out of an airplane or run and obstacle race. I need to get up, get moving and quit allowing the blahs to anchor me in my chair. Excercise, kick box, Zumba, yoga-SOMETHING. One thing is for certain, I am not going to change my story it I don’t do some work on me. 

Get out of ruts, break free of pre-conceived notions, be less stressed and more creative….I need to do those things again. I want to laugh with glee because I’ve figured something out. I want to have time to think of new ideas. I need to quit letting what others think of me matter. I need to quit comparing me to THEM. I don’t know how I am going to accomplish this but I know that to do it some things are going to have to change. 

Hikes, trips, tattoos, new goals-the suggestions were fast and furious. I have a lot to think about. A lot to plan for and a lot to consider. 

One of the most exciting suggestions both excited and terrified me…that I consider attending a blogging convention. A place where real writers go and learn from each other. Real. Writers. But to even consider such a grand idea I would have to believe I was a real writer. Rather-I would have to believe I was a real writer with people who read what I write. Even more importantly I would have to believe I was a real writer with people who read what I write and to whom what I write makes them feel something…irritation at my grammatical errors, laughter at the predicaments I find myself in, understanding at what I face…basically anything at all. 

So on my birthday I am going to give myself a present—I am going to ask if you read what I write and you (I can’t make myself use the word like)…and well if anything I have written pleased you or helped you or just was enjoyable to you in any way…well…let me know. 

However I elect to change my story is sure to be documented here because, right or wrong, writing is very much a part of who I am. No matter how I change my story me telling my stories will be at the center of it-either published or not. 

First day blues 

“Mama-why you making me do dis?” My little bug said as we made our way down the bustling hallways the first day. My heart broke. She’d been falsely brave up to this point but I’d feared it was short lived. She’d already asked about strangers.  There had already been a question about what If no one talked to her. There had been a lament about no one sitting with her. She’d asked each without being too dramatic or merose but I’d sensed a meltdown coming. The question confirmed one was near. 

Her little hand was clammy in mine. She held it tightly. Too tightly. “Oh bug-you are going to have such a good time! You’ll see,” a crowd was heading toward us from the direction of the buses. Her hand tightened. It was shaking in mine. I held tight and kept walking. We made the turn toward the kindergarten hallway. 

“Why you making me dude dis?” She asked again. I avoided the question by carefully explaining the turns we were making to find her classroom. By end of the week they staff wanted her to make the trek alone. The thought made me cringe inside. Could she do it? Could I? Right now I doubted both of our abilities. 

We made it to her classroom. Her teacher spied her and —oh how I adore her for this—threw her arms wide. Her silky, wide armed sleeves flaired out to make an impressive backdrop to her words,”THERE YOU ARE!” She probably said this to everyone but it certainly felt like it was said only for my little bug. It felt like she had been waiting on us. She was colorful and cheerful and oozed joy. I felt welcomed and wanted and hoped my girl did too. 

Teach had barely gotten the words out before her face changed. She dropped her arms-her butterfly sleeves disappearing as she swooped towards us. In an impressive move she crossed the room in a few short strides and expertly manuevered herself between my little one and I. I immediately knew why. 

My little ones face…oh that face…I may never forget that face…Her little round face was scrunched up and red. Her bottom lip was quivering as it poked out and ohhh of those big, round, expressive eyes leaked big alligator tears. She looked terrified and heartbroken all at the same time. To add to the pitifulness she was reaching out for me and crying, “don’t leave me….”

Her teacher is a pro. She had bawling baby wrangled up in a hug/re-directing task while turning her away from me  in one slick move. There was nothing for me to do but say,”I love you baby,” as I ducked out of the door. Her wails followed me. 

I couldn’t leave. I hovered in the doorway next door and frantically tried to decide what to do. There was no way I could leave until I knew she was okay. But there was no way I could check in her without her seeing. 

Like the deranged kindergarten mom I was I reached out and grabbed the closest person to me. It was a dad who’s drop off was obviously going better then mine because he was smiling and relaxed in the doorway of the room across the hall. Without any pre-amble I said,”can you help me? Girl in yellow sweater…is she sobbing?” 

One look at my face deterred him from asking any questions. He peered into the room. “Uh…no sobbing but…” He seemed to not want to tell me the truth. “But I can’t really see her face. Hang on.” He stepped into the classroom. The para-pro I traumatized yesterday greeted him like he was a student. He waved her off. “…talking to teacher now but I still can’t see her face. Hang on,” I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least the sobs has subsided. 

Big girl tapped her plastic flat clad toes and her phone at the same time. She was anxious to start her first day. In 7th grad short-sightedness she was oblivious to my thumping heart and panic. Of course she hadn’t seen the pitiful little face. I’d backed up so quickly in my effort to escape those reaching arms that my wide derrière had catapulted her into the hallway before she’d witnessed the big meltdown. “Mom…”she started.

My voice was high and sharp as I said, “I can’t leave until I know she’s okay,” I was wringing my hands like a little old lady. 

So to my left my pre-teen was sighing and texting. To my right my look out was trying to catch a glimpse of my sad girl. I stood in the center of it all and fretted. 

I didn’t want to leave her. I couldn’t stand her feeling abandoned. Her thinking no one would sit with her or talk with her broke my heart. Knowing she felt like I was stranding her amongst strangers just seemed more then I could take. I’d had 3 kindergarten drop offs but had left feeling like I had betrayed the trust of my little one by leaving them.

“Okay. She’s not sobbing. I can see her now. The teacher is talking to her and I think she said something back. I think,” reported my spy. I profusely thanked him and relived him of his duties. 

I knew I had to leave. Putting that first foot toward the exit was one of the hardest steps I’ve ever had to make. 

In the end I left. I made it to work somehow despite my tear filled eyes. I even managed to get an item marked off my to-do list before I have in to the worry and emailed the teacher. 

The morning report was ‘we are great! She’s great! And don’t apologize for checking in.’ With that I got thru the morning. 

At 2:39 I talked to my girl. The drama of being a divorced mom is that I didn’t get to pick her up from her very first day Of big girl school. I didn’t get to hug her or squeeze her to assure her that she wasn’t abandoned. But I got to talk to her. Happily she reported she had “fun” and was “brave” and that a little boy had talked to her. And this was all said with a smile in her voice. 

So the first is over. She made it and so did I. 

What I wish for you 

It’s the start of a new year and I am whirling with prayers and hopes and wishes for all this year will hold for you. 

You are nervous, each in your own way, and I am nervous, in my way, too. I want so much for you. Most importantly I want you healthy and happy and safe. 

  
Colton I pray that this year fosters the man I’ve already seen you be. I want you to be confident and to trust who you are. You are a sweet boy…sorry…man…with a kind and tender heart. Care more about doing what makes your proud of yourself then about what makes others like you. Surround yourself with people you trust, with people who share your beliefs and with whom you can find strength to do what’s right-all the time.  Don’t look for love too soon. It will find you. This year will test your student skills: organization, study skills, desire to learn, concentration and respecting your teachers– Rise up young man. I know you can.  You are my hero. Keep working hard both in and out of the pool. Do you. Be you. It’s better to be authentic than to be popular. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Be someone you can be proud of everytime you look in the mirror-not because of who you are dating or what place you can in during the last race but because of who you are. 

  
Kinsley-I pray you keep growing as beautiful on the inside as you’ve become in the outside. Be kind first and be right last. Keep protecting the underdog. I love that you’ve found so many pockets of friends. I am proud of your strength, your courage and your sense of right. Concentrate on being the nicest most authentic girl you can be and don’t worry with the frivolous label of popular. Smart is beautiful and kind is pretty. Push yourself but take time to be proud of yourself too. Keep learning. Keep being curious. Keep asking why and why not but mind your tone when you do so. Remember you are looked up too and do your best to be someone worth being looked up too. 

  
Sadie my bug, I pray this year opens any doors for you. So many heartbreaking changes in such a short life. I’ve seen a bravery in you that gives me hope. I know your tender soul is scared and worried but I know there is a fighter in there as well. I hope you have lots of belly laughs that fill the room with joy. I can’t wait to watch you read on your own and to watch your little face beam with pride when you “dude it yourself”. I want this year to make your world bigger and broader and to expose more possibilities then you’ve ever dreamt of. 

I am your biggest fan. Your loudest cheerleader. You will always be safe with me. I’ll protect you and fight for you with all that I have. I’ll also nag and push and prod you until I see you at your best. To your chagrin I’ll make everything a life lesson. I’ll lecture and yell and I’ll display my displeasure. I’ll also hug and cheer and make as many moments special as I possibly can. I’ll love you loudly each and every day. 

Love,

Mon

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