Tuesday, December 28, 2004

It's MY annoying family, thank you

Ahhh, holidays.. family togetherness. Isn't it great? Don't you just want to run screaming from the house, to board a plane to some far away place, under a false name?

It's funny how those nearest and dearest to us know exactly how to push our buttons. My buttons are just about worn off after this holiday.

I once had a Geometry teacher that our entire class adored. Not because he was Boy-Band pretty. He was an average sort of guy, but had a big heart and he was a great mentor.

I hung around after class one day and he asked what was wrong. I started on the story of whatever it was that my mother and I were arguing about. He listened, and then said "Well, she sounds like she's really unreasonable." I immediately backtracked and said "Well, no, she's not that bad, usually...." and trailed off because he was laughing at me, gently, with a "See?" expression on his face.

I did see his point. Sometimes we need to vent about our family members. Yet the minute an outsider says anything negative, we will defend our own.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bad thing, Good thing

We have this little game we play at dinner.

First, we go around the table, and everyone has to say one bad thing that happened to them today.

Then, one at a time, we all say one good thing that happened....

Today's bad thing... parents who don't use common sense and take better care of their children. See my previous entry.

Good thing... going to mass with 300 little Catholic schoolchildren, a good portion of whom still believe that there is a Santa who will bring us great stuff, and ask their parents if they should put "Peace on earth" in their list of requests to Santa (my kids did).

Santa? I want a digital camera, please! And that Peace thing, would you put a rush on that please?

Time to start

Lately, I'm feeling that feeling. That "Uh, oh, age fourty is sneaking into the back door of the house, and pretty soon he'll be jumping out at me, and knocking me down, if I don't get ready for him" feeling.

I'm looking around at my life. It's not a bad life. I actually have it pretty good and I don't mean to sound like I'm whining. It's just that there are some things that suck and some, not so much, but they need to change nevertheless.

I *KNOW* what I want to change, but I see myself making the same mistakes over and over. Why? WHY?? I know what I want, and I know what I need to do. It's time to start.

(It's time to start... the Blue Man Group.... what a great song...I love all kinds of music, you will learn that about me. )

November 9 is D-Day. Fly along with me on this little trip.... is it a Midlife Crisis Cruise? Or am I finally Finding Myself? Don't people usually do that right after college? As in, when they are HALF MY AGE? I once was talking to a suitor about my life, where I was and what I had accomplished and when, and he suddenly nodded and said "Oh, I see, you're a late bloomer"... and I thought, 'Wow, he makes that sound so benign, OK even, and here I am bashing myself repeatedly because I'm not scoring the same things as my college friends.' New cars and diamond rings, followed by housekeys and baby things. They were not even visible on my horizon. I think I had 37 cents in my checking account at that precise moment. But now, (and keep in mind this conversation took place in about 1988 or 89....) I seem to have managed to get most of the things that I need. Not new cars, but a nice one. I did get a nice diamond. My house is a little small and crowded and has things that are, well, ickly like the basement, but it's mine and I don't foresee losing it any time soon. My kids have "things" to deal with, like braces, and all of those other little worries. But I can feed them and slap some pretty cute clothes on their back, and we're not talking about chemo or blood sugar levels so we feel pretty blessed. Everybody's got something.

(My mother always tried to teach me that there will always be people with MORE than you, and people with LESS than you. You've got to be happy with what you've got. Such a simple SIMPLE thing but most people don't get it.)

I went to mass today. Yeah, I'm Catholic. But not really. But I am. Maddening? Perhaps. I was raised Lutheran, but if you don't go to church, does it count what label you slap on yourself? So when I got married, I eventually got to the point where I was willing to convert not JUST BECAUSE my husband is Catholic, but because I actually felt like I could feel close to whatever God really is (the smartest human will never even really be able to understand... and I don't think Catholics are the only ones with the red phone hotline right to God... drives my born again Christian friends crazy when I say "so you're telling me God makes beautiful tiny little babies of all races and religions but if they die without "accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior" they don't make it into Heaven? Bullshit...) So I converted and now I'm in the choir and I stand next to ladies who have been in the choir about 20 - 30 years and feel like THEY are real Catholics and I'm not... but weren't the first followers converts too?

So where was I ? Oh, right, mass. And all 300 kids from our parish school were there, and their teachers, and some parents, because the Kindergarteners did the pageant (Mary's veil kept on falling off, the little cutie, it was adorable) and in the prayers we prayed for one teacher's husband who is over in Iraq for what seems like it has been forever now, at least a year, and I hope HOPE that it brought her some small comfort to know that 500 people were all supporting her by praying for him in that moment.

At that mass, there was a little kid in front of me, about two. Now, I *LOVE* kids. It's stupid parents I can't stand. By the end of mass, this kid was melting down. He ended up slapping repeatedly at his mother's head. Did she carry him out by the ankles? No. She let him slap her for a while, dodging and looking distressed. There was a pew between me & him which was probably a good thing. Were he my child my husband would have had that kid in a bear hug ...arms pinned down. You don't have to hit back to get hitting to stop (it's kind of counterproductive!!) but you do need to control your child and not LET HIM hit you. Dummy.

He had no book, no stuffed animal, no cheerios, no sippy cup, no crayons (put four in a baggie for crying out loud and stick it in your purse with a couple of sheets of paper... how hard is that???) "Here kid, sit on this hard seat and sit still and be quiet or Mommy will act like she hates you." That works. What irked me was that she had time to have a beautiful manicure, hairdo, makeup, etc. I'm not saying Good Mom = Ugly Mom...but if you're pulled together visibly you should have also made time to plan ahead for the comfort of your child.

So Dad whips out his cellphone in desperation and gives it to Toddler to play with. Good, let him call China. You won't miss the plan minutes. Bonus if he gets mad at you and throws it. Plus, wave that radiation a little bit closer to his head (my manager once had a cellphone that she got rid of because the feedback to any computer within 5 feet was SCARY).

If I knew her, I could say "oh, I remember those days, I always had to carry around x, y, and z with me, because D was such a wiggler at that age." Not knowing her, I was silent. It's not like I'm The Nanny or something.

God Bless America and all of the soldiers and their families. It's time for me to get back to "making Christmas" for my family.