Monday, September 12, 2016

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Every year for the last 20 years I have made the same first day of school speech to my Princes’ teachers.
“Hi, I’m Linda, Tim/Matthew/Christopher’s mom. If there is a problem with my kiddo, please call me and we will work it out. You will never hear, “Not MY precious darling!” from me. I have your back. Teacher burnout is not because of the children, its because of the parents.”
Then they usually tear up and ask me if I will be the homeroom mom.
This year Prince #3 is starting high school. I know. How did that happen so quickly? I swear that just yesterday I was stepping on Legos and sweeping leftover Goldfish crackers into my mouth. Wait, I still do the Goldfish thing.
On the eve of the first day of school I sat him down and gave him this speech.
“Christopher, darling, light of my life, it is high school time. To celebrate this grand occasion I am giving you the gift of more autonomy. I will drive carpool when it is my turn, I will cheer for you at sporting events and I will write the huge #$&%ing tuition check every month. And that’s it. You are on your own. Mommy is tired.”
Last Tuesday we were put to the test.
I had to be at work at 8am. I walked out the front door to mount my awesome Tiffany blue scooter. I’m the one zooming around with the red lady bug helmet on. I am quite the site. Don’t run me over.
Up rolls the family we drive carpool with.
“Well, hi there,” I say. My brain spins. Is it my day to drive? Have I screwed up? How am I going to fit 2 kids on the back of Turk the Scooter? Wait, I only pick up, I never take them to school. What the hell?
“Is he in there?” I casually ask gesturing back towards the castle.
“I don’t know Linda. IS he in there?” For just a nanosecond I think this knowledge is something I should grasp but then dismiss it.
“Let me check.”
I saunter to the door before breaking into a quick run to the lost cavern of boy smell. I open the door and what a sight to behold. Snoring softly with his head nestled on his pillow is Mr. Freshman, completely oblivious to the productive world around him.
“Hey, Worm, your ride is here.”
“Huh, what? Uh. Oh crap!” Panic ensues.
“Not my circus, not my monkeys Mr. Man. I’m not going to be late. See ya!”
I rode off, slightly giggling and wondering if he made it there on time.
It has been really interesting to see the reactions of other moms when I tell them of that morning’s events. Some are aghast, some nod and consider this, most wish they were me. I leave them with this- “We aren’t doing these kids any favors by continuing to rescue them. I would rather them screw up now then try to learn these lessons at college when it is costing me tens of thousands.”
Can I get an Amen?
Reign On!
Queen Linda

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Prince #1 Leaves the Castle

I can’t quite remember the first time I looked at my adorable first born son and thought, “Jeez, when does he leave home?”
When he was 5 months old still hadn’t slept for more than 2 hours at a time?
When he changed his artistic medium from the Crayola 4 pack to a diaper pail palette for his wall art during his Picassoesque brown period?
When he suddenly had big hairy legs, a blooming complexion and a vocabulary downsized to one-word sentences? Yeah. Fine. Whatever.
Maybe it was when he called and said, “Mom, I’m fine. But the car….”
It doesn’t really matter, the day of departure is at hand.
Since infancy I have trotted out my best major league umpire imitation and promised “Four years, any state school and yerrrrrr out!” After completing his degree at A&M Tim is headed to the Department of Justice. I could tell you more but I’d have to kill you.
A week ago I ambled into his room with my tape measure. “Don’t mind me, “ I said as I found the perfect spot for my desk. “Great natural light in here Tim.” 
“What are you going to do to my room?”
“I don’t know honey. Artist studio. Yoga retreat. Padded cell. Whatever I want it to be.”
Yesterday I put paint swatches on the wall.
But wait! I just had him.  I still have the baby weight to prove it. The time goes so quickly!  In the blink of an eye my gap-toothed toddler has disappeared and has been replaced by a handsome man that I hope will remember to floss. It seems like he just got here and now he’s leaving.
I see lots of young moms and kiddos at my grocery store gig. The moms will ask for advice, the kids will ask for stickers.  I get to hear about school choices and loose teeth. Testing and toys. I love to return to little kid land, if only for a few minutes. When the groceries are rung up and paid for, I’ll hand the mom the receipt and say, “Enjoy them.”
And I don’t mean the juice boxes.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Oh! THAT'S What You Said!

Last month I expressed my wonder at what was up with Prince #3 using profanity at school. One would think he would be watching his step, so close to Christmas and all.
When he got home from school that day I said, "$%^@ &%# it Christopher! What the &$%& did you say at school today?!"
"What? I don't know what she is talking about! I don't remember!" 
Yeah, right.
Today I popped by the school and just happened to see his math teacher. 
"OMG!" (Have I mentioned that she looks like she is 12?) "I have to tell you what Christopher said that got him in trouble."
"Ah, yeah, about that, I was kind of wondering...."
"He announced to the class that he thinks Donald Trump is a sexist asshole."
I'm so proud.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Jeez! Santa Is Watching!

This is what I got from the school today:
Description: MATH - Christopher needs to refrain from using profanity in the classroom. This is the first offense, so just a warning. I hope he will make better choices in the future despite his passion behind what he was discussing!

Monday, September 14, 2015

How Was Your 1st Day of School? GREAT! I Called 911!

I am not kidding.
The first day of school was a half day. Ahh the half day, the bane of working mother's everywhere. 
Anyway, Prince #3 had permission to walk with his peeps to the taco place for lunch. He had to text when he got there and when he got home. No exciting news in the text messages. I think I got a 'here' and a 'home'
So why did the lad call the po-po? It appears that some misguided soul was attempting to break into a car in the strip parking lot. Unaware of the eagle eyes of eighth graders he was employing a bent hanger as well as a crowbar. A little heavy handed for a guy who might have just locked his keys in his car. Plus the boys said he looked 'sketchy.' There you have it.
When asked what they did after reporting such criminal activity he stated, "Then we booked it!"
Let's hope they paid for their tacos first.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different

Fellow Queens,
Some of you might remember that a million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I completed my first marathon. It was 2 days after my mother's death, a total blur, but I finished. The 10th anniversary is upon us and I have signed up to run again, only a half marathon this time. The forms ask why you are signing up. I'm sending this link, its the best answer I have. 
Thanks for indulging me.
Go chase those boys!
Queen Linda

My body is a temple.  And not the temple of doom.
I was a late bloomer to physical fitness.  I had an idyllic childhood spent exploring creeks and riding my bike through the neighborhood without a helmet.  We played on Clifton Avenue until the street light came on signaling our return to the house for bedtime.  We weren’t involved in the organized sports that now over-schedule our children and provide an avenue for parents who through their kids wish to re-create their glory days on the pitching mound.  When my children ask me what the name of my T-ball team was, the All Stars or maybe the Wildcats they guess, I tell them we didn’t have a name and that our roster was made up of whoever was around.
My junior year of high school I started walking through the neighborhood after dinner and homework.  I had one mile route where I regularly saw a lady walking her yippy dog and the wheezing jogger guy.  I used the time to think, decompress and try to push aside racing thoughts about grades, boys and the looming SAT test.  I got faster as I later continued my walks at the athletic center of the university I attended.  I remember one guy incredulous at the fact that I could walk faster thank he could run.
After college my exercise consisted of navigating the streets of Manhattan and later chasing my kids. Four years ago a YMCA opened in our neighborhood.  I realized that after three pregnancies and a combined two years of nursing that my body was mine, mine, mine!  And it was time to whip it into shape. 
I started slowly, 20 minutes on the treadmill, a half an hour on the stationary bike and then worked up the guts to take a step class and body sculpting class.  I got toned, lost some the last niggling baby weight pounds and could choose to take a nap when the baby went down instead of involuntarily crashing along with him.  I was feeling good.  Then came the dare.
After congratulating my fellow gym rats on their latest marathon finish one spandex clad goddess said, “I bet you could run a marathon.”
“Can not!”
“Can to!”
I sounded like a six year old. 
“You could and you know you could,” was her parting shot.
Me?  A marathoner?  They had to be joking.  I had never run in my life, except when being chased.  I don’t want to do something I like for five hours never mind something I loathe.  I am in my forties, for goodness sake, and I happen to be very fond of my knees the way they are thank you very much.
But the seed had been planted.  It was nurtured by a group of fabulous marathon mommas, my husband and my three boys.  If they all said I could do it, that they would support me, and me being the kind of person that hates to lose a bet, I decided to do it.
We started training in May, six months before the race.  Following the bizarrely named fartleks method the plan was to run four minutes then walk one as we built up the mileage over the weeks.  Our runs took place early on Sunday mornings first through the neighborhood then around Dallas’ White Rock Lake.  I think what kept me going we the deepening friendship with my four fellow weekend warriors.  I had known Meg for years; she and I had walked a previous half marathon together.  Mary and Brenda had boys who attended the same school as my oldest son; Lisa what a good friend of theirs.  Our runs became a forum to re-hash the week, ask advice and laugh a lot.  Our runs morphed from simply catching up to school concerns to frank advice about aging parents and religious platforms.  It wasn’t simply a long workout anymore; it was an hour’s long therapy session.  We all felt rejuvenated, healthier and confident in following my gut.
    Three weeks before the race I got a call from my sister saying that my Dad had brought Mom to the hospital.  No need to go up to Tulsa he reassured me.  Everything would be fine. They were just running tests.  I wanted so much to believe that that I stayed put, reassured late that night by another good test result.  The next morning was a big run, 18 miles, two times around the lake.  I checked in with Dad after the first loop.  Mom had a good night he reported and they were on their way to the hospital to see her. When I told him I was half way through my workout he told me I was crazy and should go back to bed.  After the second loop I checked my voice mail, my sister had called, Mom was on life support.  My friends watched me alternately keen and walk in circles in the parking lot as I got the details, assuring my hysterical sister that it would be all right.
“I’ve got to go, I gotta go,” I kept repeating.  I insisted on driving the three minute trip to my house with Mary riding shotgun.  The only thing I remember was her saying, “Taking that turn a little fast.”  I was in such a hurry to leave that after I insisted that I didn’t even have time for a shower Mary said, “For everyone involved, please take one.” As I washed away the morning’s workout, they finished packing my bag.  After Brenda led a quick prayer in my driveway I was off.
The next three weeks were spent in the ICU vortex.  You don’t know what day it is, what time it is.  You just sit, keep vigil and wait for the inevitable end.  Mom died two days before the race. 
I decided to run.  The staid statement - Mom would have wanted me to - doesn’t work here.  Mom briefly did Jazzercise and after that thought that serious workouts do your body more harm than good.  Then again she was the kind of woman that, if she wished, could talk you into believing that cigarettes were good for you.  I truly imagined her, with heavenly bourbon in hand, laughing her head off at me. 
While my sisters shopped for an urn I started the race.  My friends figuratively carried me across the miles.  My husband and kids cheered along the way, my 4 year old running along side me until he was out of my husband’s view and then turned back.  With one mile to go I spotted the finish line.  “I’m going!” I threw over my shoulder to my friends as I pulled ahead.  I thought about Mom’s departure from this world, the soaring peace she must have felt at the end, finally free from tubes and monitors.  I imagine that she raced to it.  My paced picked up and I began to sprint trying to match the speed she must have flown at.  I thought that if I went fast enough I could insure her serenity, if I went fast enough I could mistakenly dodge the looming grief.  I crossed the finish line at full speed and into my husband’s arms.  I looked over and saw my Dad, kids, sisters, nieces and nephews beaming at me.  The race was over, my goal achieved. 
Completing that marathon turned out to be so much more than just achieving a goal toward a healthy lifestyle.  I got to deepen friendships, feel the never ending support of my family and face loss. 
Yes, my body is a temple and in it reside love, support and Mom.