Monday, July 29, 2013

This Is Where Friends Would Come In Handy

Husband informed me this morning, as he was walking out the door, that he would be having dinner out tonight and so would be home late.  "Okay," I said.  On the outside.

An hour or so later, Eighth Grader to-be asked if she could sleep over a friend's house tonight.  "Okay," I said.  On the outside.

We all went our separate ways for the day - Eighth Grader to sports practice, me to work, Sophomore to-be not yet out of bed - and that completely filled up all of the space and time otherwise available for restless contemplation of what I am doing with my life.  Until sports practice ended, at which time I retrieved Eighth Grader and brought her home to get ready for her fun night out.  Sophomore to-be was up by then, sort of.  She was vertical.  Yet unkempt.  In other words, she appeared to have no plans brewing.  Yay!  Time with Sophomore to-be!  She scowled at me when I asked if she had done the few chores I left for her to do, and I took this as confirmation that all was right with the world.

I went outside to tidy up my car while I waited for Eighth Grader to-be to finish getting ready.  What should I offer to do tonight? I wondered.  Dinner?  Shopping?  Shopping is always a winner.  I felt happy.  I went inside.  I went inside and almost ran smack into Sophomore to-be in the kitchen:  dressed, made up, wallet in hand.  "So-and-so is picking me up in a minute."

I did not feel happy anymore.

"I thought we could go shopping," I offered.  She nibbled the bait.  "Until when?"  Uh, wow.  "Never mind," I said on the outside.  On the inside, I threw up a little.

I may have then said some other things on the outside.  I stopped short of reminding my firstborn that I labored for twelve stressful hours to bring her into this world, because surely that is always top of mind for a teenager, making it unnecessary to point out the obvious fact that Mom wanting your attention always trumps everything and everyone else.  Wait, I think I did say all that.  It didn't resonate, apparently, as a girl in a piece of crap car pulled out of my driveway with my daughter in the passenger seat.

Honest to God, it was just this morning that I was thinking about all the marvelous things I want to do with my time once these kids grow up and get out of here.  I was dressing for work and imagining what it will be like to not have to do that someday.  Everyone will have a college education and my food bill will be slashed to almost nothing.  I can go anywhere, anytime, with anyone I want.  Now here I am with a perfectly free evening on my hands, out of the blue.  Know what I feel like doing?  Lying in the fetal position while stuffing potato chips in my face and watching Friends.  Because those are probably the only ones available on short notice.  Ladies and gentleman, in case you wanted to know, I invented pathetic.

I suppose I will take the other one to her friend's house and then go drive around in circles.  Maybe bring my journal with me.  Stop and get myself a giant hot fudge sundae and use my journal as a portable table for eating my giant hot fudge sundae.  Or I can go roam around a bookstore like I used to love to do, back when I didn't completely hate myself for not being committed enough to my writing.  I think they sell coffee and pastries at the bookstore.  That will work nicely to wash down the sundae.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Someone brought a dog to church yesterday.  I'm still shaking my head.

There was a baptism being held of a biggish baby boy - you know, a baby, but not exactly a newborn - and the proud parents had assembled enough supportive family to fill three pews at the front of the church.  There were two sets of grandparents, although the Grandmas sat separately from the Grandpas; a Godmother, clearly a sibling of the baby's mother, dressed appropriately for the occasion in a dress that barely cleared her rear end; a pair of preschool-aged twin boys, brothers to said baby, busily playing on their iPads; a cute little girl, sitting with Grandma, who I'm guessing belonged to Miss Hot Godmother; and in pew number three, Lucky the Labrador.  The woman who brought Lucky looked to be a sibling of one of the baby's parents, but as the adults of this family did not so much as look at each other throughout the entire baptismal experience, it's hard to say who was connected to whom.  And to be clear, Lucky was not a dog with a job to do.  He was just big, yellow shaggy animal trying to get comfortable on the floor inside pew number three.

Religion is not a subject I talk about with ease.  Case in point, I've never before mentioned here that I regularly attend church.  I struggle with faith as I imagine most people do.  After fitfully exploring other denominations in my twenties and thirties, I returned to the one I was raised in and I am doing the best I can to help the Tornadoes form a foundation in it.  I believe it's important for them to have, so that when they get done flopping around in the narcissistic, spiritually bereft cesspool of American youth, they will have a reference point for figuring out what's next.  Also, I find that I like the practice of my faith, much in the way I like working out and writing:  I like having done it.  Not so much having 4:00 Mass looming ahead of me on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon.  But around 5:15, I feel pretty good.

So I'm not perfect, and I try not to judge.  But this family, with the biggish baby boy?  Oh, Lordy.  As it turned out, Lucky was the best behaved of the bunch.  I really tried not to stare, as I'm sure most everyone else tried not to, either (except for a couple of old ladies who were just not having it.  They stared with every ounce of their nun-raised indignation, dear things).  I tried not to stare when the twin boys paraded up with their family to the baptismal font with their iPads in hand; when one of them, grown bored with his baby brother's ceremony after ninety seconds, parked his butt on the steps of the altar and played his game for the crowd; when Lucky was walked outside to do his business just as the collection basket approached his owner.  I tried to avert my eyes when Bored Twin began beating on the pew with the cardboard box from his brother's candle.  It was a little harder to not see him dodging his mother with a smirk on his face as she tried to grab the front of his shirt.  Then he ran down the center aisle and out the door with this mother in pursuit, so, you know.  We all got back to business.

Lucky returned in time for Communion, but the concept seemed to baffle the entire family.  I'm not sure any of them had ever actually been to church before.  Which is fine, but begs the question:  why are you here now?  After some fidgeting and individual contemplation (like I said, zero interaction the entire time), a few of them chose to belatedly participate.  Namely, Hot Godmother and her offspring.  They cut the line in different places.  Hot Godmother did not wish to wait the extra second for her morsel of bread to be placed in her hand and instead snatched it from the woman's approaching fingers.  Her daughter, upon not finding this filling enough, returned to her seat and produced a large, noisy bag of snacks which kept us all occupied for the remainder of the service.

I think those old ladies would have liked to offer their congratulations to the parents afterwards.  Unfortunately, the whole hot mess practically ran to their cars.  Their three separate cars.  Parked very far away from each other.  What else can I say?  I'm guessing there was no after party for that baby boy.  On a positive note, I can now check "seeing a dog in church" off my list.