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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Tears Over a Stranger-My Life Wallpaper.

Driving to work today, I took my normal route through backroads to get to the office.  I’ve driven nearly the same route for about 12 years, through 2 jobs.  As I wound around the roads, passing houses, I came across a house I have been passing for those 12 years.  Over time, the house which once had peeling paint and looked a bit run down had been spruced up with new paint.  It’s owner (I assume) had been a gentleman who sat outside in the mornings, drinking his coffee and smoking a cigarette.  I saw him out there many a day, just watching the traffic roll go by as folks scrambled to get to their daily destination.  He seemed to be a constant.  Every time I passed him, as a child of a parent who died from lung cancer, I silently wished he would stop smoking, for his health and well being.  I did this every time I saw him out there puffing away.

Today, however, he was not out there.  What WAS there were a bunch of brightly colored signs that said loudly “ESTATE SALE”.  Underneath the bold, big lettering were smaller letters that said “come reminisce with Kathy”.  I mulled over what I had seen.  When was the last time I had seen him outside? I couldn’t remember.  Had he passed away? I didn’t know him.  I didn’t know if he had passed, but if he had, it made me sad.  The signs of “reminisce with Kathy” made my heart ache.  I didn’t know Kathy. Had no idea who she was.  What I did know, all too well, is how it feels to watch a loved one’s belongings be sold because there simply wasn’t enough space to keep them all. The signs begged for not only sales, but for a human connection.  I felt bad. Bad enough that my eyes teared up and I cried for a complete stranger.

As I finished my commute, I thought about why I had felt so sad.  I didn’t know these people, yet I felt so sad.  These people, while not even acquaintances, were part of my life’s wallpaper.  People who are strangers, yet somehow have woven themselves into my life by their very presence while I go about my day to day business.  Some you notice a little, some a lot, and some you don’t notice much at all until you realize that they aren’t there.

One particular person who fits this bill is Purple Jeep lady.  I may have even written about her before. She fascinates me.  Nearly every day I am driving to work, I pass a purple Jeep Cherokee, driven by a blond lady who seems to always be smiling.  I often wondered why she smiled so much while driving.  Did she simply love the drive?  Was she listening to Howard Stern? Was she rocking out to music that took her to a different time and place in her life? What was her secret?  What was her STORY?  I once saw her pulling out of her house and was kind of excited to see another glimpse of her life.  Her house had artificial flowers planted outside, by the looks of it, and I was surprised by this.  I wondered if she was happy because she MADE her world what she wanted.  Regardless, when I see her car drive by, I smile a little more.  Even the purple car makes the world a more colorful place.

That’s the funny thing about these people we see every day.  Sometimes, it’s fun to wonder about their lives, or to come up with your own story about them.  Everybody has a story, after all.  If I saw her out, I don’t think I would be able to approach her, as she’d probably think I’m a creeper.  What I’d want to say, is “I see you every day on my commute, and you look so happy, that you make me happy!”  I told you, makes me sound like a creeper.

This brings me back to the signs.  They were new to my life’s wallpaper today.  I sit here and wonder how Kathy is doing.  I wonder if she has had anyone come by to reminisce, to chat, to see how she is doing.  I wonder if she is ok.  I remember when my dad had the estate sale before he moved into a smaller house, selling much of the stuff he and my mom had accumulated. Many of the items that my mom had said I could have, things of sentimental nature, got sold accidentally because my dad simply wasn’t aware I had wanted them.  I didn’t realize he didn’t know.  Little things, like a doll chair my mom put her antique teddy bear on, and some of my old books. My mom’s china, which may be outdated but I loved to bits because we only used it for special occasions, like Christmas dinners.  Those plates reminded me of all the special dinners we had had together. I was so crushed to learn they were gone to strangers’ houses, but I hope they are loved by their new owners.  Learning those items were gone from my world reminded me harshly that big changes were in place.  Not only was my mom gone, but the house where so many memories of her were was being sold.  Her items, not needed any more, but wanted.

All these people I have on the fringe of my life.  They likely don’t notice me, but they are a part of my world by their very presence.  I wonder if there is anyone out there that believes the same of me.  I wonder what the “story” is they have made up about me, without ever saying a word.  Like Purple Jeep Lady, I need to smile more…you know, make them wonder what I am up to!

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Hello Loveys!

Well, the first few days of school have come and gone.  My oldest blended in seamlessly.  Actually, he asked us to walk him in on the first day, but after we got just inside the building he announced “ok, I got it from here”.  Secretly I wonder if my husband bribed him with a pack of Pokemon cards to humor me, because I had a tough time with the little one starting Kindergarten.  I’m not sure why it hit me so hard.  Maybe it’s because she looked so little and vulnerable, or maybe because she voiced nervousness, and I was worried if she would enjoy school.  The first day, I went through the car line, and she hopped out, announced “Bye Mommy! Have a great day! I love you, and try not to cry!”  To which I responded by tearing up, trying to catch a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror.  I promptly hit the curb.  My son announced “Did we just hit the curb?  You really need to pull it together.”  And so it began.

My last post was about my fear of getting things in order for the new schedule.  It’s been…..ok.  I tried a few crockpot meals. Once was a success, and the other was an utter failure.  I realized I am not a fan of one pot meals with meat and veg and potatoes all together in the crock.  Everything looked the same color and it skeeved me out.  Oh well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  The kids didn’t care too much, as I had made the strange and unusual decision to go have ice cream before dinner.  Why? Because it was as hot as the devil’s asshole outside and sometimes, you have to be a rebel.  Ok, I’ll admit it.  I think I was also fueled by the happenings of the day, which were fueled by asshats and sanctimommies. You get that, sanctimommies?  I gave my kids ice cream.  Before dinner!  Take that bitches!

sancti

Let me explain.  Today was, as I mentioned, hot as hell.  Especially for the Northeast in September.  Schools actually closed at half day because it was so hot and despite us paying ridonkulous amount of taxes, our schools have no AC.  Old buildings, building codes, money, safety reasons all contribute to why the schools have no central air or even window units.  Most of the schools in the surrounding towns announced a half day last night.  Not my stellar town, though.  They waited until school was about to start in 5 minutes.  Way to give us time to plan!  Now, I found this irritating, but not as irritating as some.  This was probably due to me assuming that my town would shut down half day but not announce it until the last minute.  I expect this sort of thing, and mentally prepare.  It was inconvenient.  It was piss poor communication.  It was frustrating. I get it.

I went on Facebook, which should be the bane of my existence but is really my addiction, and saw numerous posts on the school and town pages by parents.  I scrolled through the posts and saw lots of people who were pissed that they were told after school started that it would be an early dismissal.  There was one mom, however, who was determined to be the ANGRIEST MOM OF ALL TIME about it, and she demanded that we all bombard the Board of Ed with phone calls.  She was saying such thing as “I will not be calm when it comes to my children!”  Her anger spiraled until it was clear she simply had to be the biggest, baddest mommy of them all, It made my brain curl.  We’ve all seen these moms.  The one that has to be the MOSTEST. They have to be the bestest, the mostest, the most on top of it all, the most defensive of their kids, the most of it all.  They are mostly annoying.   Usually I let it go like water off a duck’s back.  IMG_7008

Another mother posted that while it was frustrating, to call the BOE with our frustrations but to keep in mind it’s the first few days of school, and it should improve.  The other mother got mad.  She will NOT calm down when it comes to her babies!! Calm mom explained she is calm because getting upset on facebook isn’t helping anything, and that if she is calm about the communication flub, her kids will feel calm and that she has control of the situation.  I thought about it.  She made a lot of sense.  That’s when angry mom threw out the gauntlet “I’m glad I don’t have YOUR parenting skills!

Wait…what?

OH NO SHE DIDN’T!  Sweet shit, she DID.  and that is so not ok with me.sc

Look, I have people in my life that I know deep down find my mothering skills not to their liking. I’ve had comments made to my face, and some behind my back. Some I’ve never heard.  The fact is, I have gotten angry about it, but have learned to laugh it off.  I do what I need to do to raise my kids the best way I know how.  I raise them to live in a real world.  I pad that world a little bit, I shield them from the ugliest bits, but they see a lot.  I do what millions of other moms on this Earth do…I do my best.  Sure, there are times I look on something and go “I probably wouldn’t do that again” or “I can do better”.  But I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Today, my kids ate ice cream before dinner.  And then they snacked on fruit.  Not my best mothering moment, but a happy memory was had by all, they felt like they “got away with something special” and no harm was done.  Tomorrow they’ll get extra broccoli or something and the world will be balanced.  🙂  This will make another mother’s head turn in a 360 degree swivel, and that’s ok.  Not your kids, not your mommy choices.   Sometimes I see other moms doing something that wouldn’t be my style.  I shrug, not my kids, not my choice, not my style, but not my business either. Maybe I don’t agree with that one thing for me, but I DO like how they do such and such.  As long as the kids are healthy and not harmed, it’s not my place to comment on someone else’s parenting.  The fact is, commenting on someone’s parenting is a very, very bad idea for the most part.  Even if the comment passes in the blink of an eye, it’s remembered.  It’s pretty much in bad taste, and a high risk for getting a swift talking to or worse.

Sanctiangrymommy felt differently.  She tossed that comment out there and I, even though it was addressed to someone else, got MAD. It is not ok to shit on someone’s parenting just because it differs from yours.  Even if you think “she’s crazy for doing that” you just don’t say it.  I’ve caught myself on a couple of occasions, and immediately felt guilty.  Who am I to judge?  Maybe it’s the fact that I often second guess how well I am doing.  I work full time, my house is a wreck for much of it (clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be lived in, yet never good enough for me to be comfortable.) I am often running kids from one place to another, trying to get it all done, and sometimes only succeeding in some of it.  I, like any other parent, sometimes go “Am I doing this ok??” The fact is, I am questioning myself plenty, because I love my kids more than life itself, and don’t want them in a lifetime of therapy or worse. It’s easy to compare yourself to the next parent and say “well at least I am doing that better”.  It’s wrong, but it happens.  Everyone wants to believe we are doing the right thing, because the thought of failing isn’t just failing ourselves, but our kids too.  None of us want to fail our kids. I don’t need other people questioning my parenting, and I surmise you don’t either.  Today made that so clear to me. It’s the sense of self righteousness that angry mom had that she could just roll that insult out there.  To just lay those shitty words out there in a public forum, to a woman she doesn’t know.  Her opinions mean nothing.  But those words just sat there.  Her judgement. Sitting there.

“That is NOT OK”. I responded.

“Puhleeze” she wrote.

I reiterated…that what she did was NOT ok. I kept saying it.  It’s ok to be frustrated, angry, upset, but it is not ok to shit on another parent’s parenting skills that way.

Calm Mom messaged me.  She thanked me for being the one person who stood up for her.  Nobody else did.  I sat…waiting.  Where were the parents, banding together to say “It is not ok.  We are all doing the best we can!”?  I dunno, but not one was to be found.  It bothered me, all damned day.

Seeing other parents supporting each other makes me happy.  Parents that admit their foibles and struggles should be supported, not torn down.  We should be able to laugh good naturedly at our mutual stumbles and strides.  Sometimes, I need some emotional support, to know that I am doing a good job, and I’m sure any of you reading this might enjoy the same.  If you see a mom getting picked on, do what we tell our kids to do…stand up and say something.  Try to be less judgy when it comes to what other parents are doing. Be mindful that what works for one family dynamic may not work for another.   We all do this parenting thing a bit differently, with different styles and views, but we all do it with love. With hope.  It would be nice to do it with some support.

Be kind, be mindful.