|(No purpose for this– just cracked
I didn’t even mean to– the week just went that fast!
So, on Sunday, a friend came by, (well, officially Squish’s friend’s mom, but yes, a real life, near my house friend for MEEEEE!!!) and we chatted, and I mentioned dying my hair like I’ve been putting off for weeks.
She said, “I want to do it! Bring the dye over to my house– we can do it there!”
And for a minute I balked– not because I didn’t want my hair done, and not because I didn’t want to spend time with my friend, but because work was backing up and it’s the busy season and…
And on Monday, I’d planned to go watch Mate coach and Zoomboy practice, and again, I was going to back off– oi! So very much to do and…
And I went to both things.
And it was awesome.
Because when I was at practice I talked with the moms and we complained about our son’s rooms and how we didn’t even want to walk in them and how our daughters were neater somehow, and how our kids were awesome but they drove us crazy. One of the moms has a job in a mortuary, and we discussed how if you think a knife fight is going to break out at your funeral, you should probably clear the air, and I remembered, “Oh yeah! Friends in real life… go figure…”
And on Tuesday, I went to get my hair done, and Squish’s friend, (who hasn’t started school yet) was talking and talking and talking and talking… just like Squish! And she was charming and delightful and pushy and impish and clever and wanted to be a grown up…. just like Squish! And I got to talk to her mom, who is funny and who did AWESOME things to my hair and in general, I made a stunning realization.
Sometimes you need to talk to other parents to remember what being a parent is like.
Yes, yes– I actually have the children in my home, and I feed them and hug them and love them and drive them (oh God, I do drive them) and that’s all parenting–but I get mad at myself when I get upset with them. It’s like, “I signed on for this parenting gig, why aren’t I doing a better job???”
Talking to other parents reminds you that yes, parenting is awesome, but you essentially asked a little alien being to live in your house, and no matter how hard you work at raising this little alien being, it’s not an adult, and it doesn’t share your brain, and it’s going to have a whole different agenda than you do at any given time.
At the very least, acknowledging these things doesn’t make you feel like a complete tool when you hold your hand to your face as you pass your son’s room and say, “Don’t look don’t look don’t look don’t look… the crap will grow sentience and mobilize itself out the door some day, as Goddess is my witness!”
And all of that remembering that I”m a parent with other parents gave me the bravery to do this today.
See, I’d just dropped off Squish and Zoomboy. For the record, with the exception of Squish’s first year, when her dad walked her up to her room, they have been remarkably easy to send to school. Other kids need mom and dad out on the playground. My kids are like, “No, we wanted you to bring the dog, we know that means you have to stay in the car. So, you know, stay in the car.” It’s not a question.
But I do wait until their lines start moving to their classes before I pull away, and as I was waiting there, a young mother pulled in front of me, and sort of parked–as in half in the street– her car. She got out, obviously dressed for work, and let her Kindergartner out of the car, and then walked her to the sidewalk. “See there, baby– you need to walk over there to where your class is. See? Just follow that line. That line that’s disappearing. Please? Please hon? You got to. I can’t walk you. I’ve got the baby in the car and the car’s not parked and I really need you to do this by yourself and…”
They were both almost in tears.
Oh God. I could so see this situation. I’ve probably had this situation between Big T, Chicken, Zoomboy and Squish. There has, at sometime, been something I’ve needed an older kid to do on his or her own, because there was a baby in the car, and oh please, please, can we just… just do this thing, this one thing that will let mom get on with her busy day, without enough sleep and too many things to do, oh please…
I got out of my car. “Hey, ma’am? My name is Amy, and I’ve got two kids in that school named Squish and Zoomboy. Would you like me to take her?”
The mom almost cried. “Would you go with her, hon?”
Oh no– not this perky little girl with the red pigtails and the kitty cat skirt and blouse. She wasn’t going with a stranger. But then Johnnie stuck his head out the window and barked, and her face lit up. “Here, would you like to pet the dog?”
Oh yes! I tucked the dog under my arm and Mom watched as I walked her to the school entrance and then up the walk toward her classroom. I even knew her teacher–she’d been Zoomboy’s teacher when he was in Kindergarten.
Mom had pulled away by the time I got back to the car, but the incident– and the two days actually talking to other moms– made me think.
About six years ago, I almost decked a bitch for whining, “It takes a village to raise a child!” because she didn’t like the fact that I wouldn’t let Squish get away with murder in the middle of Arco Arena. It wasn’t because of the “village” thing, it was because her way of “raising” was all about telling me how to raise my kid.
It wasn’t about empathy or help or giving a hand up.
About sixteen years ago, when Big T was still throwing tantrums and Chicken was still in diapers, I had to take them to the grocery store after work. T was upset– and I couldn’t figure out why, and he was howling bloody murder in the middle of the produce aisle, and I couldn’t take it. I burst into tears.
And suddenly the whole produce aisle was lined up to hug me. Because moms need to know that moms understand. Big T stopped tantrumming (I was getting more love than he was!) but that moment there– that needs to be remembered.
We are not doing this alone. Empathy and giving a hand up can mean the world to someone having a shit day. Being with our fellow humans and talking about the things that make us similar is healthy, and we should do more of it.
And taking a day out to get your hair done and chat with a friend is not a crime.
(And btw– the hair? Doesn’t it look awesome?)