I’m a terrible soccer mom

It has been over a year since my mom died, and after her passing, my brother and I had to clean out her house.  It was horrible, time-consuming work, and we were both saddled with guilt over the truck loads we sent to the landfill or off to various charities.  Surely, we should be more sentimental.  Surely, we should want the dozens of photo albums, her full set of china, her old rosary, but we didn’t.  We both had complete houses, full of all we needed.  We saw how carefully she had kept our high school Lettermans’ jackets, trophies, and ribbons.  In the end, we pitched it all.

This memory was brought to mind lately when I was asked to create a framed memory keepsake for my oldest daughter.  It is a tradition at her high school that the moms each put together a collection of soccer memories and display them at the end-of-the-year banquet.  I can’t help but think this tradition was started by one of those scrap-booking moms with loads of artistic talent and way to much time on her hands.

I told Meg that I planned to compete for worst shadow-box of all time.  In my head I keep fast forwarding forty years and seeing her cleaning out my attic and tossing the shadow box in the dump pile.  And I am OK with that because, frankly, a middle-aged woman who hangs a tribute to high-school soccer in her kitchen is kinda sad.

Still, I have to put together this testament to her years of athleticism, and I am kinda pissy about it.  My current plan is to line the frame with money.  Then, in a year I can mail it to her at college; it will have value, and won’t end up in a landfill.

Meg in the goal, 2006

Meg in the goal, 2006

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my track record is suffering

There have been moments since my oldest child was born that I have felt a bit cocky about my parenting abilities.  You know those events when you simply do or say the exact right thing and walk away feeling like the best mother in the world.  Unfortunately, my track record has suffered lately, as I have made a series of parenting mistakes.  For example, I allowed my four-year-old to walk around with pneumonia for three weeks before taking her to the doctor–not a stellar move on my part.  And last week when my youngest was throwing a tantrum over the fact that our new puppy didn’t want to snuggle with her, I said, “The next time you scream like that you better have a bone sticking out and blood gushing all over the floor.”  Perhaps not the most nurturing of responses.

Last night I went out to dinner with my girlfriends.  My oldest daqughter, Meg, was at soccer practice when I left, and I didn’t see her until I returned home.  When I walked in the door, she asked, “So, what teachers did you meet?”

I looked a bit like this:

deer in the headlights

deer in the headlights

as it dawned on me that while I was chatting, laughing, and eating with my girlfriends, hundreds of mothers and fathers where at the high school parent-teacher night, which I totally and completely forgot about.  The other disturbing information that came out of this exchange is that my son, husband, and youngest daughter all knew I was out to dinner, but no one bothered to pass this key piece of news on to Meg.  Apparently, when I am not home no one in my family talks to each other.

stop touching me!

I do not like being touched when I am trying to fall asleep.  Let me be clear, I don’t mind being touched prior to falling asleep.  I don’t mind hugs, shoulder rubs, hand holding; those are all good, but in the moments before I fall asleep, I don’t like any skin touching my skin.  I like to fall asleep comfortable in my own space and fortunately for me, my husband gets that.

Unfortunately for me, my husband is in China, and my bed buddy this week has been my four-year-old daughter who does not appreciate my need for space.  When her dad is gone, she likes to have sleep-overs in my bed.  This has been a long week of glowing-blue night lights, stuffed animals, and feet touching me.

This week I have felt like the five-year-old me buckled in the backseat of our old Ford Torino with my brother on full-pest-alert.  I have found myself screaming inside my head, “STAY ON YOUR SIDE!  QUIT TALKING!”  While on the outside I am quietly telling Ella to, “Skooch over a tiny bit.”

Last night, Ella plopped herself horizontally in the middle of the bed and piled countless stuffed animals around her.  After I mentioned that I needed a bit more room, she replied, “Mom, you have the biggest bed in the house.  We could fit Meg, Cole, Daddy, and Chaucer (our dog) in this bed.  You have a million-times enough room.”

I was too tired to argue.  I curled into a fetal position in the three square feet she had left me, Ella’s feet tapping and tickling the small of my back, and screamed inside my head, “STOP TOUCHING ME!”

the drugs or the porn?

My son has not always had impressive academic success.  He has been known to distract his friends from their studies and scam out of completing homework.

Recently, he and a buddy were trying to solidify weekend plans.

“You’ll have to ask your dad, right?” Cole said.

“Yeah, probably,” his friend replied.

“And since your dad doesn’t like me, it may not work out.”

Cole’s buddy said, “My dad likes you OK; he just thinks you are a bad influence on me.”

At this point, I chimed in.  “Your dad thinks Cole is a bad influence on you?  What does he object to, the drugs or the porn?”

Cole shook his head slowly from side to side.  “Mom,” he said, “When you say stuff like that my friends think you’re crazy.”