In which I vent for a Friday

First of all, have you seen this?

middle school bullies

Now, before you click that link, let me say these things:

This is not the original video. In fact, most of it is just audio since the kids in the original were minors and I’m sure there’s some sort of law.

There is lots of language, which is a lot of the point actually. A bunch of filthy mouth asshole kids who are abusing an old lady whose job is to sit on the bus and prevent bullying. So if the language offends you, not only are you reading the wrong blog…but you probably need to mentally prepare.

The video is ten minutes long. I made it through less than one minute before I was in tears and couldn’t take any more.

 

If you would rather not watch the video, let me summarize. A 68-year-old woman named Karen (who is a widow and a former bus driver of 20 years) has the unenviable job of riding a school bus in the name of “monitoring” the kids. Basically she’s there to keep situations from escalating and anyone from getting hurt.

In the video, she is shown sitting alone in a seat, looking out the window and trying to maintain composure whilst a crowd of truly vile middle school students call her names (“fatass,” “lard,” and “old bitch” are some of the ones I caught), call her ugly, poke her (to illustrate her “lard’), and basically be as loathsome as possible to her (when she finally speaks up to say maybe they shouldn’t say anything if they don’t have anything nice to say, she is told to “shut the fuck up” and that is about the time I was so emotional I had to turn it off).

I bring this up because this is real. This is what kids are growing up thinking is okay. Say anything as long as everyone seems to think you’re cool. I know that kids were mean when I was growing up – but this mean? I can’t wrap my mind around it.

This could be my grandmother. This woman is no doubt the same age as some of those kids’ own grandmas.

It just makes me sad is all. These kids can’t all have terrible parents. Some of them have to have parents who would think their kids would never do something like this. There were undoubtedly some shocked parents when the original video went viral and sweet little Junior was highlighted on YouTube calling Grandma Karen a fat bitch.

I don’t know what I’m hoping to accomplish with this. Maybe nothing.

Please, everyone…be kind. It’s not hard. Love each other. This is just wrong.

To be a dad

My kids have it made.

All three of them have loving, doting, involved fathers who are the very essence of what it means to be a dad.

In all the hubbub of everyday in our lives, I think we all forget that these are the memories we’ll take into our future. This is what we’ll mean by childhood.

This is our definition of family. We don’t pay enough attention until it’s passing sometimes.

We are many things.
Lucky.
Loved.
Cared for.
Provided for.
Laughed with.
Treasured.

Thank you for my children. Thank you for our life.

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photography by Talley Images

Ten

Dear Max,

If I were to say I never thought this day would come, it would not sound the way I wanted it to. I never thought anything awful would happen and you would never turn ten, but I guess I just never thought ahead to what would inevitably happen.

Ten years ago I was 22. And on this day, I met you.

You were everything I hoped you would be. You were loud and angry and absolutely breathtaking. You made me a whole person. My first baby. My son.

Now it’s a decade later and you have changed so much. Well, you have and you haven’t. You are still loud and angry sometimes. You still take my breath away. You make me as whole today as you did all those years ago.

I can’t be with you today. You’re off at camp and if your phone calls have been any indication, you are having the time of your life.

So I’ll say it here.

You are wonderful. You are the bravest, smartest, coolest little boy I’ve ever met. I admire so many things about you. You are thoughtful and sweet, caring and creative. You aren’t afraid to be your own person. Never, never lose that. You are the best person in the world at being you, and the rest of us are just lucky to know you.

For every time I’ve lost my patience, I’m sorry. For every time I’ve let you down, I apologize. I am so proud that you are my son. You make me so very proud.

I love you. I can’t wait to see what you become.

Love, Mom

Milestone

Max left – just now – for camp.

This is and isn’t a big deal.

It is because while he’s been away from me before – lots – he’s never been away without being with family. Well, there was some boy scout thing. I forgot about that. So I guess it’s not really that big.

When he comes back, though, he’ll be ten.

TEN.

I remember being ten. 1990, yo.

I know it’s cliche and everyone says it, but it’s gone so fast.

Ugh. Well, I’m stepping on territory I need to save for his birthday post, so I won’t continue.

This is how I see him. Chocolate mouth and 3 years old.

Check yes or no

In flipping through my blog planning calendar (which, obviously, I adhere to like the chiseled script of Yahweh), a topic from last week…kind of stung.

Best friends day, or some variation thereof. I didn’t look at it too intensely.

The majority of my life I have defined myself by the friends I have and don’t have. By the way other people perceive me. I don’t know when exactly it came about – because I remember not being that way. I remember in second grade, when I traced out Lisa Frank designs reading “Hot lips” onto a piece of wide ruled notebook paper and, along side it, authored a deep and meaningful inquiry along the lines of “Do you like me?” (actually, along the lines nothing, that was exactly what it said. I can still see it. In recalling this scenario I am struck by the realization that this is completely something my oldest daughter would do. Right now.) and sent it via elementary express over to Alcorn County’s second grade version of Ryan Gosling who not only was the dreamiest of dreamy boys, but he hung out ON THE TREEHOUSE at recess. He was the cool that cool wishes it could be.

The note came back quickly, with smudgy, grimy boywriting on the bottom of the paper.

“NO.”

I remember that because I am fairly certain while this incident did not immediately send me into a downward spiral of insecurity, it was perhaps the first time I remember realizing that maybe some people might not think I was awesome.

As I got older and learned that people are, indeed, judgmental and different and not likely to think everyone is wonderful by default, I was glad to have people I could relate to. I had, like every other girl my age, a “best friend” with whom I was inseparable.

I had friends. That was a constant. People to share clothes, talk to, send stupid nonsensical pages to on our purposeless beepers.

It was only when I got married in 2000 and embarked on what I assumed would be my life that I realized – I had never really learned to like myself.

I’ve cycled through friends through the last twelve years, but I always come back to that. My definition of “best friend” has evolved until the only person who fits that description is too tall for me and annoyingly sarcastic and makes me squeeze his back zits.

I’ve decided, though, that things are as they should be. Maybe I don’t have a full dance card of dinner parties and girls’ night outs and wine smellings or whatever, but the people who matter think I’m the shit. Most of the time. And for the most part, so do I.

Which, I suppose, means I’ve come full circle. I like myself enough now not to have to send Hot Lips Yes or No Notes because I really don’t care. Even if you do look like Ryan Gosling or have the breasts of Christina Hendricks – I’m a catch.

The people who matter already know.

 

 

long lost

I know I say this all the time, but sorry I’ve been missing. However, if you have been reading my stuff for any length of time at all, you know that sometimes I just can’t be bothered to do the things I love to do.

Like play Draw Something. Words with Friends. Pretty much any of the games which require constant turn taking.

And sometimes this blog qualifies too. I just don’t want it to feel like a job.

Lots of things have been going on, though. Good things mostly. My therapist recently told me that she was leaving (after I missed like four sessions – seriously I can’t keep a damn thing straight), and that is sad. Truth be told, though, she did me a shitton of good and I hope she encounters only good things.

Do you suppose it’s true that writing only stems from pain? Because many, many times when things are not great or I feel like whining or punching someone – I’ll come here and yammer about it just to get it out.

And I feel better when I do. Thing is, when I feel good, I feel like I don’t have anything to be deep and meaningful about.

Because who can be deep and meaningful about MYLIFEKICKSASS?

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Oh Day of Days

There are many, many days in any given year that are special to me, for any number of reasons.

Today, though. Today is big.

Seriously – there are all of the feelings.

Eight years ago today, I had a daughter. She was perfect. She was beautiful.

She still is.

In Ava, I see everything I once was – and so much I could never be. Confidence and beauty and every hope and dream in the world. I want so much for her, and at the same time I’m terrified I’m unintentionally projecting some vicarious dreams. That’s not what I want. If she takes nothing away from my mothering, I want it to be the knowledge that above all else, I love her. No matter what. If she quits too soon, if she loves unexpectedly, if she makes the wrong choice. When she can be sure of nothing else in the entire world, she can be sure of me. That she is my heart.

For eight years I have been in this fog of awe that I could have ever produced such a spectacular human being, and it won’t lift any time soon.

Six years ago today, I married my best friend. We went on a whim to a courthouse and said vows in front of a stranger, and then we ate Mexican food.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been harder than anything else I could ever even think of doing. I’ve wanted to quit and I’ve wondered what we were thinking. But I’ve also had the most amazing times of my life.

I’ve never really believed in the concept of soulmates, but I do know that to find someone you can lock onto is a lucky, lucky thing. It’s unlikely and it’s messy and it’s embarrassing and it’s everything you think it shouldn’t be, but in the midst of everything else, it’s having a partner. Someone on your side. Someone who can hurt you like no one else – but chooses not to, not because you can hurt them just as badly, but because they want to keep you from hurt. Teamwork and frustration and heartbreak, joy and accomplishment and laughter and tears.

Maybe it isn’t Cinderella. Maybe it isn’t all unicorns and fairy farts.

But it’s spectacular. It’s the whole world. It’s a work of art.

 

All in all, it’s a pretty great day.

 

Lacking

This past weekend, as everyone everywhere lauded mothers and grandmothers and stepmothers and den mothers…I was far from forgotten.

I got cards and aloe plants and an app for my phone that lets me pretend to run from zombies.

My husband was just as sweet and accommodating as he always is on days like that. For some reason it always means so much to me when I get mentioned on his facebook or other public forum. It’s very high school and probably a reflection of some deep seated problem, but it makes me all warm and fuzzy. He knows this. He indulged me.

As always happens on days that are so built up, though, I was at a bit of a loss.

I mean, people. I had the bomb-diggety-ass mom. Everything was always so clean and she was always so….pure. I will always feel like a little bit of a letdown as compared to Asskicking Anita.

My kids know I love them. I love them the best way I know how, with everything that is in my being. That love, for me, manifests in bitchy and nagging more often than cuddles or sweetness. I nag because I want them to be warm, to be clean, to look kind of groomed.

My kind of love – the nurturing I have within me – will likely never materialize in the form of sparkling kitchens and folded sheets. I will never Bree Van de Kamp my way up and down any lane, or greet new people with a basket of muffins. It will probably always annoy me a little when someone drops by with no notice – just because I worry they might see the dust bunnies or the stupid kitchen floor. I will never sit up and slip my feet into waiting slippers and drink coffee in a plushy robe. It’s just not what I do.

So when Mother’s Day comes around, I always feel a little lacking. Even though I’m not. I just mother…differently, I suppose.