Things My Mom should know now that she has Facebook.

So, this Facebook thing is pretty old hat, right? Pretty much everyone does the Facebook.

My third grade teacher has a Facebook. She’s the sweetest thing. I had erasable crayons in her class. Every time I see her pop up on my timeline I think about those crayons.

Anyway, parents have facebooks, too. This is not a new thing to anyone, because since MySpace bit the big one and Social Network became a huge explosive Oscar winning hit (which I still don’t understand because I pretty much fell asleep every five minutes), everyone and (literally) their mama has been giving the like button some business.

Except my mom. She held out, even though we kept telling her these fantastic things we learned on people’s profiles and pictures we’d seen and etc etc etc.

So for her birthday I made her a profile. I got her a real present, too – lest you think I’m one of those people who’d give an empty box and say it was filled with love – but as an afterthought I jumbled all the info I know about my mother (which is hard to put into words….interests: singing in the choir and cleaning) and I brought her into the Facebook family.

Which brings me to the crux of the situation.

I am myself on Facebook, much as I am anywhere else. The rub lies in the fact that since my mom no longer sees me everyday of my life and washes my underwear, she can maybe perhaps live in a cloud of denial to the fact that her youngest baby girl kind of has a filthy mouth, definitely has a filthy mind, and (GASP) is maybe a little bit totally a democrat.

But you have a blog, you say. How could she not know?

This is an excellent point, one that I have considered. But I think there is a very simple answer to that – I don’t think my mom reads my blog every day. In fact, I think maybe perhaps she actively avoids it. Which is probably sometimes for the best, except now that she is on Facebook we’re going to have to face some things.

So, Mom, I think you should know:

I have friends that are gay. Flamingly, unapologetically, give-you-a-makeover gay. I love them because they are lovely and perfect. You may be okay with this since you watch Modern Family now, but I just needed to put it out there.

You raised me in church. I believe maybe perhaps 80% of what I was taught there was inaccurate, and I am still sifting through the other 20%.

On the subject of church, I know you love your church. I believe it is important and wonderful that you have a group of like minded people to gather with and count on. But I also believe it is a huge social club and 95% of the people there have no idea how to be a real Christian. Nor do they care. You are one of the 5% and one of the most sincere, honest, and lovely people I’ve ever known. And you’re MY MOM. I have extra luck points owed to someone somewhere.

I do not believe that anything about Initiative 26 is okay, and I am totally, completely against it.

I know every cuss word ever.

I will vote for Barack Hussein Obama every time he runs for president, which I hope is every time until I die (yes, I know he can only serve two terms. Let me dream).

You are perhaps the best Mom anyone ever had.

I love you so much. I’m glad you’re on Facebook.

The one thing I’ll never tell you

I realized something about myself this weekend.

I am a horrible, horrible person.

Seriously, I am. I make no apologies, because generally I’m excellent at keeping a lid on just how awful the thoughts in my head can get.

It’s hard to really articulate a cause or a pattern to the way that I think.

And there are days that I go along and think nothing strange or odd or embarrassingly awful.

But then, out of the blue, I’ll see someone who belongs on the People of WalMart site or just a train wreck of a hot mess, and I’ll amuse myself to no end with snarky inappropriateness that if it were ever uttered aloud I would be even more shunned than I am now. Shunned-er.

I pride myself on being pretty open about how I feel about things. But I will never ever fully admit the extent of the lines that I sometimes cross in my head.

Suffice it to say that Daniel Tosh would be so, so proud.

This is a better option than homicide.

I’m pissed.

Seriously, so angry.

I know little girls are oversensitive.
Dramatic.
Flighty.

But you know what? I don’t care.

Ava is seven, which I realize is very young. Shallow and fanciful and still clinging to the idea of Cinderella in crystal slippers and a cinched waist ball gown with a willowy neck.

I remember being seven. While I knew I wasn’t stick thin and lanky like so many of the girls I knew, I still saw good when I looked at myself.

I also remember when my uncle mentioned I was getting fat. He told me I was too pretty for that and I needed to be a lady.

Ava came home yesterday like she always does. She was dressed in what happened to be the first Ava outfit of the school year – I’ve mentioned before how she puts together her outfits and damn them all, she looks fantastic.

She was showing me her papers, talking about homework and such. I looked up at her where she was standing beside me, and I reached up like I often do, brushing her hair back and telling her how pretty she was.

Except this time she didn’t smile, give me a kiss and saunter off. She looked at me and burst into tears.

“No, Mom, I’m not. I’m really not. I’m so ugly.”

This is so fucking unacceptable I cannot clearly put it into words.

I don’t know who said what or why my baby girl suddenly has been wrenched into this harsh and pathetic world of flimsy and fake.

But it pisses me off. How dare they? How dare anyone tarnish what was already destined to be a precious few short years where she could be comfortable and confident?

I’ve tried everything I know of to hammer into her head that she’s perfect. Lovely. Absolutely breathtaking. And of course I knew that eventually things would come to this.

But not now. Not yet. She’s just a baby, and look at her, would you? Look at her.

How – why – what the hell? Really? Is it too much to ask that she be allowed a few more years before being submitted to the absolute terror that is the world?

Ava, you are beautiful. Your eyes, your face. The way you smile and make me smile and the way I’m so proud you’re mine.

Everything about you.

I love you so much.

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than amazing.

If they do, I’ll kick their asses. All of them.

Love,

Mom

Looking back. Reflection and stupidity

I was doing some reading earlier – reading of old entries and how things have changed and not.

I found this post, and it made me think about a lot of things.

It’s almost exactly a year later, and things are so much different that they’re kind of startlingly the same.

As far as God and purpose and meaning go, I’m still kind of lost. The hit our faith and confidence took during our time in Jackson was severe, and to be honest I’m not sure we’ll ever fully recover.

We were so sure we were doing the right thing.
We were so happy, and then we were miserable.

But now? Not in a million years did I ever think we’d be where we are now.

Well, not really physically “where we are,” because really all of us living together is pretty much an epic adventure and it’s become second nature to us all.

But where we are in the sense of goals and progress and general good will toward humanity.

I was sure when we left Jackson that we’d never fully be happy and fulfilled ever again.

Dramatic, sure, but cut me some slack I WAS GROWING A PERSON.

If I could do and say anything I wanted, I’d say things to those people we left.

I’d say to Ellie, thank you for hiring me. You were more of the face of good in our months in Jackson than anyone else we met. You meant more to me in those days than I can ever say.

I’d say to Michaele, you are me with red hair and better boobs. I miss you more than anything and I would never have made it without you.

I’d say to Jackson commuters – really? Suck it up and put down that bowl of Cheerios when you’re going 80 down the interstate. Eat a damn granola bar if you’re that hungry.

I’d say to Priest 1 – you were the biggest disappointment. When we met, you were awesome and inspiring. You were hip and down to earth and we both loved you immediately. The confidence we both felt in you – as a person, as a priest, as a friend – was completely cracked and really disheartening. You never seemed like a lap dog…until you were.

I’d say to Priest 2 – I reached out to you. I needed you. And when you ignored that? I have never felt that degree of worthlessness. I trusted too much in what I needed you to be.

And to Priest 3? I could fill a book. The level of hypocrisy and disillusion that I equate with you now is staggering. I don’t know what I believe comes after this life – I don’t know if I believe we just end, or if we go on…

But if we go on? If there are saints and angels and streets of gold? I don’t want to be there if you are. Whatever Paradise is supposed to be, you can’t be a part of it and it still be Paradise.

so there it is.

I suppose I’m still bitter (who am I kidding), but I’m also hopeful. I never thought I’d have that again.

I do. We do. And I think that’s the best revenge.

art shamelessly stolen from Natalie Dee

Family bed weirdness

I’ve never slept with accessories.

Teddy bears, blankies, dolls. Nope.

I always used to wonder, growing up, what it would be like to sleep naked. I never did, because I was chicken. I heard stories about people who turned up at the dorms in college and had roommates who pranced around au natural and slept totally in the buff.

Yeah, I didn’t have that. I did have one roommate, Amanda, who left some ravioli in a dish by the sink until it grew like three inches of mold. I like to think it was an experiment. My friend Katie came over to visit my room one night and was so horrified by the ravioli project that she set about sanitizing the bathroom area.

Katie ended up being my next roommate, and she decorated for every holiday. Every. Not just a knickknack here and there or a cling on the window, no…she had legit decor for every holiday. Valentines. Easter. St. Patrick’s Day. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas, for months and months. It was festive and nice and totally a good memory, although Katie pretty much thinks I’m the devil or something. My point is that my roommates definitely kept their clothes on. And I don’t think either of them slept with any accessories, either. Amanda liked the radio and Katie always made her bed. End of odd.

MY POINT IS NOT EVEN ABOUT COLLEGE ROOMMATES.

So while I’ve never slept with accessories other than my iPhone since it came into existence and, you know, my husband, I do now.

Her name is Lucy and she pokes me in the eyes, pees on me routinely, and sometimes smacks me in her sleep.

I never slept with my kids. Max slept really well in his own bed by the time he was a week or two old, and Ava only slept in my bed in the mornings when she’d sometimes snuggle for a while.

When Lucy came along (because you might not know since I’ve never really mentioned it more than ten or twenty times but I live in a house with every person I’ve ever known), she pretty much refused to sleep anywhere except right next to me. And I know, I know, we should have let her cry for a while and made her get used to sleeping on her own, but her crying stresses Josh out a lot since he wants her world to be perfect and without misery. And she wakes up the whole house. And there’s really not room for a crib in our room anyway.

And maybe I like it that she’s snuggly. If you tickle me, do I not laugh?

Except she’s sixteen months old and she still doesn’t sleep through the night, and she’s kind of an obnoxious bed hog.

Things won’t change as far as our sleeping arrangements for a while, at least until we move, which will be…you know, time.

So I’m not asking for diatribes about how I am doing her a disservice by keeping her in my bed.

I just wanted to bitch for a minute.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m overdue for some hair pulling and milk breath.

White lies are better than moldy skidmarked truth

I don’t think I know much about my kids.

Wait, that’s not accurate. I know everything about Lucy.

But that won’t last long. The clock is ticking on that one.

My other two are complete mysteries, and I kind of hate it.

My hate has nothing to do with them – I suppose it’s actually all me.

Growing up, I never told my mom all that much about my life. I was always really afraid she’d flip out and tell me I was going to hell or make me go to some special church class or something. I actually did get punished that way once – my mom found out that I’d skipped school, and I had to spend every afternoon for like a month sitting in my room writing bible verses. I was a senior in high school.

So yeah, Mom and I never had girl talks. We talk more openly now, I’m older and she’s older and we can both admit I’ve had sex since I have three kids.

But I’ve always wanted to be a friend to my kids. To answer their questions and be honest with them, and be able to have a relationship with them that ensures that, in the future, they’ll come to me for advice. A ride when everyone is drunk. Clarity when their hearts are broken.

And I do try.

But I fail. For lots of reasons.

Max is just so…awkward. I love him dearly, to bits and pieces. Truly. But talking to him is like talking to a miniature Michael Scott. It’s painfully uncomfortable at times, even though I realize his mind is very different than mine. I need to work on understanding him more. I’m sure it’s fascinating to go through life as Max.

Ava is, I think, a lot like I was when I was little.

And that. Terrifies. Me.

I was sneaky. I was dishonest. I had terrible judgement. I had such a hard time.

I want to make it easier for her, but I don’t have any clue how. So I think I subconsciously pull away. Which is the very opposite, I know, of what I should be doing.

Wow. Writing all this stuff and seeing it in the light of reality makes it sound….awful. Which I guess it is.

I ache to be good at being a mom, especially since I legit suspect that I love my kids way more than is normal. I’m just terrible at showing it. I mean really, awful.

Maybe I should take some sort of class. My child psychology class came with a virtual child (yes, it did. So not only to I get to suck at raising three kids with a pulse, I get to have another one to go all A.I. Haley Joel Osment). Think that’ll help?

This won’t be earning me any friends

Generally I refrain from posting things I know will upset or irk people.

I suppose that’s not really true.

But given the general temperament of my Facebook feed, this may raise hackles.

Meh.

Last week, we were fully immersed in getting ready for the return to school. Backpacks detrashed, lunchboxes found. Ava’s obnoxious feathers placed.

Late one afternoon, I received a call from the number I have saved in my phone as “AUTOMATED SCHOOL DEMON” – the number that calls when roads are flooded, a kid has disappeared, or cattle are loose. I turned on the speaker (but didn’t speak – I’ve caught myself talking to that machine too many times and now I’m wise to the game), expecting a reminder about not bringing guns or knives, or maybe a last minute nevermind-school-is-postponed-forever message.

Instead I got a recorded message inviting me not to forget about the upcoming “prayer walk” for parents of kids in the schools.

Now let me make one thing very, very clear.

If you are a kid in school and you want to say a prayer before you eat your lunch or take a test or walk on linoleum, I support that.

If you are a teacher and you want to send up a silent plea for mercy before you try and explain the branches of government, I support that.

If you want to bring your prayer rug and face Mecca between classes, I say go for it.

If you want to organize an event where people who are so inclined walk the halls and sidewalks of the school and pray for the students who will soon be present, I’m all for it! Bathe the desks and walls in prayer, and maybe that way my kids won’t eat boogers or mouth off (I may find religion if that works).

I will defend your right to do these things until my very last breath.

What I do not support is the use of school equipment, funds, and information to promote a religious function.

I never said, “Hey, sure, keep me posted about your rituals and gatherings.”
I didn’t say that because chances are I’m not coming.

It’s not because I don’t believe in God or I hate all religion or I think everyone should know that they know that they know whether they’re going to The Hell or not.

It’s because school is for LEARNING ABOUT THINGS THAT AREN’T RELIGION.
It’s because my son has already teared up more than once because he’s afraid his parents are going to hell.

Church is for religion.
Church schools are for the people who want everything to line up with what they believe.

School is not church. Amen.

I would rethink my stance if, say, I knew everyone’s beliefs would be equally welcomed. If the Muslims wanted to have a Q&A. If the Jews wanted to explain all the candles. If Pentecostals wanted to demonstrate hairspray usage. If the Mormons wanted to model Jesus underwear.

But that’s not happening. At least not here, because the vast majority of people believe the same way.

And that’s fine. What you believe is your business.

It’s when it starts being shoved at me and make it my business that I start caring.

I realize it’s election time and the superintendent was making sure everyone got catered to so as to put a good face on his campaign.

But just because the majority of people won’t care about the prayer walk phone call, or may even celebrate it, doesn’t make it okay. I’m not even sure it’s legal.

So please, pray. Fast. Sing. Speak in tongues.

Just don’t make me listen. Or watch. Or use the money I pay in taxes to promote it.

And in return, I will refrain from being an ass. Kind of.

Or not.

Writing Prompt #287

Use these two metaphors in a poem: “an inch of scorn” and “a cradle of beliefs”

It was never easy being the one who was different.
Never a sigh out of place but a gut filled with longing
Somewhere I knew there would answers abound
But I was behind. Blind.
Out of touch.
There were things to say
Bursting to be born from my thoughts
But they wouldn’t have listened.
They would have read their preferred reaction
In their leather bound books of exclusion,
nestling back into the cradle of their belief
Assured that they would come out the winners.

And where it hurt me before,
Shattered the shell I’d constructed
Left open and raw,
Now it was healing.
Replacing the ache for approval,
I look down and sideways,
Never allowing one
Within an inch of my scorn.

There could be another way,
Soothing and warm,
Buttered over with forgiveness and acceptance
But we seem to prefer ice
Sharp words and looks
And separating the different
From the different
In another way.

Things I’d say

I’m really not sure why I am so afraid of saying what I think sometimes. I know I have a tendency to spill my TMI all over the web, but in reality there’s so much rattling around this bean brain of mine. And I can’t say it.

I’m not sure why. I’ve always held tightly to the notion that you have to be who you are, and those who don’t like it can either kiss your ass or learn to love you. But as much as I believe that, it’s not doable.

It’d be the easiest way to live, no doubt. Saying what you mean, meaning what you say. Living without fear of getting caught in double talk or accidentally seen rolling your eyes.

To say to the insufferable brat, “Someday you’ll have your righteous rant only to realize what a dumbass you look like,” and then to go on like nothing because after all, being an insufferable brat doesn’t make me not love you. It just means you suck sometimes. We all do.

Wouldn’t that be great? Total, unencumbered honesty. Like The Invention of Lying, right?

That’s not how it works, and so I’ve become pretty adept sometimes at just going along.

Except I’m not, not really.

I ache inside to say things I should never say.

you’re crazy as hell.
how are you able to live two lives?
do you realize what a hypocrite you are? because everyone else does.

I know thoughts like this only breed negativity and sour your soul. It’s why it’s hard for me to admit I constantly harbor shit like this in my brain.

But I do. And now you know.

I don’t feel any better, because I feel like everyone else has some secret that I missed. Does everyone think all this and just ignore it? Because I can’t.

It’s why I think I’m so antisocial, because I suck at hiding my feelings. If I hate you (my mom never let me use the word hate. Never say hate, never say never), I just can’t pretend I like you. It’s a mental block and it’s probably why I never made it to broadway (that, and the chub. And getting married at 20).

I feel really alone (except for Josh, and that’s why we’re married. We are both completely inappropriate. I just hide it better than he does). If you harbor similar inappropriate thoughts, please tell me. Even if it’s anonymously.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to hide from my thoughts.

Same as it was

I’ve never been one to thrive on cryptic status messages and song lyrics.

Well, that’s not entirely true. There were days years ago where I posted quotes in Italian and talked in code like nobody could Google.

I was getting the weirds out, ok? We didn’t have the internets in my youths.

What I’m saying is, were I currently given to posting cryptic mystery messages and provoking curiosity, I totally could.

I could say, “You’re so wrong,” or talk about regret and holding grudges. I could passive aggress my way around every issue and I could make the point for anyone who was in the loop. I could never name names and still hit nerves.

But you know what? I did that shit in high school.

I’ve grown.

There are people I was thick as thieves with in high school who I would inconvenience myself now to avoid. People I rode backroads with and snuck wine coolers and Marlboro Lights, who have turned into Bible thumping Republican pageant moms.

So I choose to stay clear of them. I would rather sit home and make doilies than surround myself with people who pain me.

The same goes for organizations who are comprised of people who just enjoy the power they think they have.

And here’s where I get real.

I understand, folks. Maybe you don’t like my husband. Maybe you think he’s an arrogant prick. That’s ok. He’s my arrogant prick. While it’s his choice to allow people to treat him however, I don’t have to stand for it and I won’t. My children will see that I don’t approve of people who exclude others because of hearsay. Or wrongs so old no one even really remembers them.

I get that I am just one person. I’m not a big loss. But I am what I am. And it’s not okay for you to play with people I love.

So….basically all that stuff I just said about how I’m not going to be cryptic and mysterious?

Ignore that.