Monthly Archives: April 2014

Desperately Seeking the Humor in Perfect (ly Flawed) Children

perfection-sign

I used to blog a lot more often than I do now and coming up with a legitimate excuse for the slowdown has been well, trying.  It’s certainly been easy enough to wallow in a series of unfortunate events, specifically, that my original blog site of 5+ years just up and shut its doors with a month’s notice.  It forced this self-proclaimed techno-tard to start anew, without a built in (and – cough – ego-soothing) fan base of hundreds of readers that I’d come to kinda sorta delight in.    I’m still clumsily navigating my way through what millions of other bloggers do with ease and truth is, sifting through (and sure, reposting) five years worth of material is sometimes easier than coming up with new and exciting stuff.  It shouldn’t be this hard but when a personal pity party combines with life whizzing by at a Nascar pace, it’s daunting in more ways than one.

 

I still own four kids and (God Almighty, YES) they’re all still doing incredibly stupid and blog-worthy things but here’s the thing:  as we’ve all aged in the six years since I first began telling tales about them, it now seems to be taking longer – wayyyy longer — to find the humor in all their trials and tribulations.

 

Almost  unbelievably it seemed one day I was spilling stories about a kid hawking his Dollar Tree fig newtons for lunchtime profit and the next I was gasping for air in a teenage tsunami of sneaking out, drinking, lying, denting fenders, …

 

What the …?

 

Kind of a bummer, right?

 

I find myself suddenly pondering when and how this particular nonsense might become hilarious and where, oh where, are those damned little Legos that used to claim my unsuspecting arches and find me howling in fury?  If I had a dollar for every time I ranted about wet towels on the floor I’d have a down payment for a liquor store I now need to get me through this adolescent and early adulthood stage of development.  It’s seriously making me pine for the sleepless nights of infancy.

 

Little kids, little problems.  For sure.

 

So yeah, I’ve been a bit stuck for a while.

 

Lucky for me I’ve discovered that life can surprise you, can inspire you and can smack you in the ass every so often and make you feel creative again.   Thanks to some pretty amazing people I have decided to try to get back on my horse and get this blog thing up and running more frequently.

 

For the inaugural Boston performance of “Listen to Your Mother” I spent my Saturday on stage with some ridiculously inspirational women.  I sat among a Teacher of the Year, a Boston Globe columnist, a bunch of published authors, an adoptive mother of nine (not a typo) and a slew of other professional and remarkable women I at times couldn’t even comprehend why I was with.  I’ve really got to admit, I couldn’t help but feel electric amid them.

I soaked in undeniable energy from my co-performers but also had a different, more personal source of motivation for wanting to be a better blogger.  The faces of my kids were in that audience and they were beaming.  That was kinda cool.  Even my daughter, the topic of my adored piece, was smiling.  Fun fact:  she had the chutzpah to take a bus in from college to see the show – even after I’d texted her the photo of all the empty liquor bottles I’d just found under her bed …).  That girl’s got moxie.  Like her mutha.  I like it.

Maybe seeing their mom up there “killing it”  (their words) was more cool than it was embarrassing.  Maybe all the dumb-dumb things they’re doing right now really aren’t that funny but probably are very universal for parents of high school and college kids.  Maybe continuing to blog about them might make other moms realize (sing it, Billy Joel) that we will allllllllll, go down, TOGETHER.

 

So I’ll go back to jotting down all my little thoughts like I used to do (because now that Middle Age is my friend, these ideas and anecdotes fly in …. then out … of my head without a shadow of proof they ever existed to begin with (ugh…  gotta write it down sistas, ya got to……) because every now and then a bunch of funny thoughts makes a funny little blog.

 

I’ll leave you with my unexpected morning: Fourth born (seventh grader) tells me that after a week’s vacation, he was up at 4am “almost” throwing up.  It’s not that I don’t love my Little Baby Fug to the moon and back, but (sigh) he is my pathological liar.  Since I had to spend my morning screaming and grounding and taking away electronics and unhooking  Xbox AND locking the cable box … I was steamed.  Who pads their morning routine for crap like this?  Not me.   When I came home today he was working on a poster/project that mysteriously went untouched all week.  He probably won’t get sprung until Memorial Day.  Dummy.

See?  I’ve got tons of these.

Stay tuned.

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All Hail the King

beds

My local friends witness my frenetic lifestyle firsthand, specifically, that my husband’s consulting job takes him out of state for three weeks each month.  With the exception of weekends when he’s home, I have become adept at managing our homestead — and the people in it —  in his absence.

Given the fact my youngest is eleven and can (kinda sorta) wipe his own behind, this is not an absurdly impossible feat.  At least most of the time.

Nine parent teacher conferences in one night?  No sweat.

Sports practices every evening?  Got it.

Haircuts, homework, doctors, dentists and an occasional nightly meal?  Supermom, present.

I’ll even see you volunteering as a CCD teacher and raise you lunch money to boot. No problem.

So it was with mild amusement (and perhaps teeny hidden contempt) that I would listen to my darling spouse talk over the phone lines about all his free time.  With nobody to worry about but himself for 4-5 days, he was eating healthier, running more, keeping his recent weight-loss off.  All good.  Excellent, actually.

That’s great sweetie, I’d coo, before washing down the last of my Pop tart (dinner) with some Pinot (dessert).

Grrrrrrr……

Now, let’s be real here.  I have rolled my eyes at this unbalanced lifestyle before — even (shockingly) written about it -– but I really do keep the matter light.  As difficult as my days and night seem at times, I know his life out of a suitcase isn’t always fine wines and turn down service.  (Rather, it better not be.  Enter psycho wife if that ever surfaced…)

He works extremely hard and spends countless hours waiting in airports, missing important family occasions and playing catch-up on the days he’s finally home.  It’s not easy, I will admit.

So imagine my surprise when my Traveling Wilbury arrived home one weekend and declared that our queen-size mattress was unacceptable and most intolerable and immediately had to be replaced with a king.  Apparently after months of sleeping in hotels, he had stumbled onto the Holy Grail of wellness:  in addition to healing his aching back, ailing knee and other middle-aged irritations, a bigger mattress would surely help him sleep better because well, he sleeps just great while away.

Diva Dad had spoken.  I believe my Facebook status for that day read, “Sorry about Christmas, kids.  Take all complaints to the big guy…”

Despite the fact we are not fancy people (point made by the bulky 19-inch television relic that’s still kicking in our bedroom), I shrugged and said sure.  The practical side of me could list a slew of reasons why it made sense and the frugal side of me had a slew of coupons to rely on when it came time to pick out bedding.

So after nearly a quarter of a century inhaling each other’s less-than amorous sleep aromas … we have upgraded to an additional sixteen inches of slumbered bliss.

My husband & I will celebrate our 22ndwedding anniversary in a few months.  Sometimes we do things really, really badly.

Like the happy-hour-induced-hole in the sheetrock in my college apartment?  Probably not our finest moment.

Or the humiliating $500 pyramid scheme bandwagon we jumped into in 1992?  Seriously….. what dummies.

Even the two interstate moves in ten months (four kids in tow) for an oops career move?  (Hindsight, that actually turned out pretty damn good in the long run but truth:  who does that???)

But every once in a while we get something right.

The king-sized mattress is one of these times.  Raising children in an environment where the Family Bed has been frowned upon?   Definitely another one.

The best part:  I’m only sharing it a portion of the time.

 

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The Good, The Bad & the “Girls”

Girls_HBO_Poster

 

In my perpetual quest to remain hip I try to keep my eyes and ears open.  I sniff out emerging trends (Red jeans?  Of course!  Tucked into black boots? Hell no – Santa Alert) and admittedly, jump on a lot of late bandwagons (thank you, HBO OnDemand, for the perfection that is True Detective).

That said, after hearing my 17-year-old daughter gush over the HBO series “Girls,” a show about modern-day 20-something female friends trying to make their way in the world after college, I decided to give it a whirl.

I really didn’t care for it but she nudged me on.

I tried a few more episodes yet still got a weird, uneasy feeling in my stomach.  I told her I just wasn’t that into it.

“Maybe you’re just too old” she shrugged.

What?  Pffffft.  I think not.

Bolstered by a slew of Golden Globe nominations, I gave it yet another shot.  Still nothing.  Nary a chuckle.

I got through all 10 episodes of the entire first season and numbly thought of all the miles I could’ve clocked on my treadmill had I just gotten off the couch once in those five hours…

But I believe I’ve figured out why an undeniably hip show is eluding my undeniably hip sense of humor.

The female characters are crude.  Not in the Sex-and-the-City-Samantha-Jones cheeky kind of way but in a crass, Good-God-I-hope-my-daughter-doesn’t-do-that kind of way.

I get it.  It’s a comedy.  And I love comedy.  But the whole desensitization of really (really) private things seriously gives me the heebie jeebies.

Also, I’m not entirely convinced college educated young women are so  … I don’t know … self-loathing.  Their flippant banter about oral sex and office harassment left me wondering if young women really do talk like this. (I’m kinda hoping to hear from a few after this …   and I’m really hoping to be told I’m out to lunch.  If you’re young and hip and reading this – please check in!)

I remember feeling the exact same way when my oldest son (now a semi-grown man at 19) used to watch those man-cave scratching movies like “Knocked Up” and “Pineapple Express.”  Those movies made masturbation and getting stoned look like the epitome of hilarity.  And (worse) normalcy.  Poor, poor Seth Rogen’s mother …..

It finally dawned on me why these types of movies grate on my nerves and polarize me:  seeing these “characters” puts a face on my very vision of parental failing.  These larger than life portrayals of such flawed and unfazed youth are the stuff of my nightmares:  kids with no direction, no money, no motivation, and the worst:  no apartment of their own – Jesus Christ, they’re the scarlet letter symbolizing my utter failure as a mom.

No, no, NO!

I don’t want my kid spending his meager paycheck on weed.

And I’d rather die a thousand deaths than know my daughter was tolerating her boss’ hand on her skirt.

I honestly don’t know what I’d do – in real life – if these situations in these comedies were playing out in real time in my kids’ lives.   What I do know is that I would find it decidedly Unfunny.  (Quick aside:  for an EXTREMELY funny look at flawed — yet SUCCESSFUL — Generation X, Y, whatevers ….  check out “The Mindy Project” on FOX.  She just rocks, is all.)

So yeah, maybe I’m not as hip as I used to be.

Maybe I’m simply more scared.

Damn this parenting thing.

Signed,

Stifler’s Mother

 

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