Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yes, I Still Love the Man and all Those Kids

Last week when I was doing that lucrative, exciting job I have called subbing, I had an interesting conversation with a mother that came to help in the classroom. 

Of course this converesation took place between snippets of other conversations with kindergartners that went like this:

Kevin, get those scissors out of your mouth.


Kevin, put your shirt back on.


Teacher, Delia says I have a girl cousin and I don't.


Teacher, Delia says she knows karate, and she doesn't.

And it took place between activities like

tracing letters,

pin art,

the alphabet song

and coloring cherry trees because it was the Thursday before President's Day and they were learning that George Washington cut one down and didn't lie about it which is all a big lie. . .

Remind me again why anyone needs a degree to teach kindergarten?  Oh yeah, because the government won't let you teach unless you have one.

Anywhoo this story is not about kindergarten and pencils up noses and and imaginery girl cousins, and public education, it is about love and motherhood.  

While I was making sure nobody imbibed glue while attaching cherries to their trees, the mother helper asked me how many children I had.  Her jaw dropped when I said 7.  Her next question was, are they all yours?  More jaw dropping.  I answered her next question before she asked it.  "Yes, I'm crazy," I said, "and I'd do it all again."

Her next question surprised me.  "And," she said, "do you still love your husband?"

"Yes," I replied with no hesitation.

She touched my arm, looked into my eyes and said, "Really? You really love your husband after all those years and kids."

Yes, yes, yes, yes, I love my husband after all those years.  I love my husband because of all those years.  I love my husband in spite of all those kids.  I love my husband because of all those kids.

I love the movie Yours, Mine and Ours.  It's about a widow and widower who get married and have 18 children between them.  The following scene takes place as the husband Frank is leaving the house to take his wife Helen to the hospital to have "their" baby which will be child number 19.  Helen's oldest daughter Colleen has just had her boyfriend chased out of the house by one of her step-brothers for making inapprorpriate advances towards her.  Colleen is thinking maybe she's being childish not to give into her boyfriend's demands.

Colleen North: [Helen is about to have a baby] I know this is a terrible time to talk about it, but Larry says...
Frank Beardsley: I've got a message for Larry. You tell him this is what it's all about. This is the real happening. If you want to know what love really is, take a look around you.
Helen North: What are you two talking about?
Frank Beardsley: Take a good look at your mother.
Helen North: Not now!
Frank Beardsley: Yes, now.
[to Colleen]
Frank Beardsley: It's giving life that counts. Until you're ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won't keep it turning. (Yes this is a 60's movie.) Life isn't a love in, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and... ground round instead of roast beef. And I'll tell you something else: it isn't going to a bed with a man that proves you're in love with him; it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts.
[Leaving the house, they say good-bye to the little kids]
Frank Beardsley: I suppose having 19 kids is carrying it a bit too far, but if we had it to do over who would we skip... you?
Helen North: [getting into the car] Thank you, Frank. I never quite knew how to explain it to her.
Frank Beardsley: If we don't get you to the hospital fast, the rest of it's going to be explained right here!
Love isn't something you fall into, and it's not something that grows on you with little or no effort like a fungus or a mold. It's something that you're committed to day after day, bill after bill, kid after kid.
So yes I'm crazy--CRAZY IN LOVE with my husband!

I so should have written this post on Valentine's Day. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lock Down

Today there was a lock down at our high school.  I heard about it when my daughter, Tess called me from the middle school to tell me not to come and pick her up and take her to the high school for her basketball practice.

I’ve had kids in school for 22 years and never had a lock down.  “Lock down” gives you that same queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach as cancer, or Josh Powell, or Columbine.

Of course I immediately texted my daughter, which is something I’m not supposed to do during school hours but is something I always do during school hours because what would be the use of giving a teenager a cell phone if you didn’t text them?  Just sayin.  Unfortunately, my carrier, whose initials are T Mobile, has terrible service inside the school, or no service at all, at least for calls that is, but I can usually get a text through.

My daughter called me back on somebody else’s phone, who doesn’t have T Mobile, and told me they were actually on “Shelter in Place.”  When I asked her what that meant, she had no idea.

“Where are you in the school?” I coaxed.

She answered that she was in her sign language class.

“Is the door locked?” I asked.


“Are the windows covered?”  I prompted.


For a sign language class, there was a lot of talking going on.  I could tell that the mood was fairly light.

“Mom,” Morganne said, “I just wanted to say if I’ve ever done anything wrong, I’m sorry.”

Being the kind, sensitive mom that I am, I answered, “Morganne what did you do wrong?”

“Nothing,” she said.  “I just want you to know that I love you and that you’re the greatest mom ever and you’ve always done everything right.”

I’m quiet for a moment, a little concerned about the solemnity in her voice.

“Morganne, are you a little bit worried?” I ask.

“No,” she sighs.  “I’m just giving you crap.”

We both start laughing and I tell her to call when she can come out of her classroom and I’ll pick her up.

“Mom,” she says again.

“Yes,” I answer.

“I really do mean it.  You are the best.  I love you.”

“I love you too, Morganne.”

The “lock down” or “shelter in place” or whatever you want to call it is over.  My kids are home safe and should be in bed. . . And I am very much aware that this wonderful life I live could be dramatically changed at any time and I am grateful, and humble, and determined to be nicer, kinder, more loving, more forgiving. 

So, on the day after Valentine’s Day, when my Tess pointed out that all her friends got Valentines from their parents and she (along with her siblings—because I don’t discriminate) got a big fat nothing, I just want to send my LOVE to these people I call family.  And I want to remind them of what Morganne told me earlier today: “. . .you’ve always done everything right,” which is true with maybe the exception of forgetting to get you all Valentines and letting you eat ice cream and cold cereal for dinner.  But hey,  nobody’s perfect, right?  Thanks for loving me, cellulite and all.



Thursday, February 2, 2012


My husband is a list maker.  I am not.  Lists are pressure I tell you. They are proof that you are failing.  For example, what if I actually wrote on a list, write on my blog?  It would be staring at me every day making me feel really guilty when in reality I only feel a snidge guilty but I can usually smother a snidge of guilt with a bit of chocolate.  This is like that whole Pavlov's dog thing only the bell is guilt and the dogfood is chocolate and most of the drooling is ommitted; so how bad can a little guilt be?  Not that bad--at least until you have to buy new pants or undo the button on your pants and wear long shirts.  But I'll tell you what, sweats and pajama pants are oh so nice.  They actually make you feel comfy while your equator expands.

Butt, back to lists.  My husbands puts things on his lists and crosses them off at the end of the day.  Those few times that I made a list and didn't lose it, I usually ended up staring at it at the end of the day and feeling like a LOSER because I couldn't cross off anything because who knew that Pinterest could totally suck me in, or that I'd have to find a math assignment under the couch and run it to school, or that it takes a lot longer to get crayon off a wall than on a wall, or that a hot shower could feel so good and last so long????

At the end of the day when my husband is doing all his list crossing-off with that smug look of satisfaction on his face I sometimes make an end-of-the-day list.  IF I feel like it. 

It looks something like this:

Get up
Make sure the kids go to school
Kill an hour on the computer
Eat a brownie
Brush my teeth
Take a nap
Don't write
Talk on the phone
Pick up some pizza for dinner
Don't go to the gym
Make this list
Go to bed

I then cross everything off the list and go to bed.  My husband says this is cheating while I point out that I crossed EVERYTHING off my list and he still has a few items left.