Long, long ago when we still carved letters in stone with other stones I was driving a couple of my precious offspring to school. This was a really nice thing of me, since they could have taken the bus and saved me about 45 extra minutes trying to get them to school and me to work, but, hey, I’m not asking for special treatment, and I understand you have your monstrous Science Fair Project (may the inventor of Science Fair Projects rot forever beneath tons of poster board, dead plants and teeth decayed by Coca-Cola) which won’t actually fit on the bus. No one ever mentioned all this in the contract in the Labor & Delivery Department of the Hospital, but that’s my fault for not reading the small print although I could point out that I was IN LABOR AT THE TIME, hello?? and kinda busy.
As we were driving down the street the school bus pulled alongside.
“DUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” screamed my female offspring, scooching down in the seat and covering her head with her arms to avoid the incoming shrapnel.
‘WHAT?? WHAT???” I asked in a panic, searching rear view mirrors and traffic for incoming runaway trains or out-of-control Cadillacs driven by white-haired ladies whose eyes are only 3″ above the dashboard.
“THE BUS! It’s THE BUS! They’ll see you driving!”
Ahhhh. The car is supposed to just drive itself? Levitate? Beam up Scottie and deposit him at the school steps?
Do I have three eyes? Frighten small children and dogs? Severe halitosis?
She used to look at me when I came into the kitchen dressed to go somewhere. She was in high school, she knew styling and profiling. “You’re not wearing that are you?” she’d ask.
I’d look down. Clothes: check. Shoes: check. Boogers hanging out of nose: no. Check.
“What?” I’d ask.
“It’s black.” “It’s long.” “It’s not black.” “It’s short.” would be a reply. The truth was, I looked like a mom.
She went to college for a year and then moved back home from the dorm. Having decorated her dorm room (etched mirror resembling a bar sign, donated coffee table, mis-matched chairs hidden under matching throws, wine bottle vases with dried, dead roses) she knew quite a bit about everything and insisted the bookshelves should be re-done; that pillow didn’t look right, there; what is that plant thing on the table? She’d come in at 10pm with her friends and start making dinner. In the kitchen. Which was next to the bedroom (poor planning, I know. I didn’t build the house). Eventually I had a talk with Hubs. We figured out the cost of the dorm and meal ticket and paid her to leave. Dorm and meal ticket, or an apartment split with a friend, whatever she wanted, $xx was hers monthly, love ya, buh-bye.
The only thing worse was when I hit menopause the same time Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum hit puberty. That all three of us survived is proof there is a God and He doesn’t want me doing time. I would go to pick them up. I was not to leave the car. Preferably the tinted windows would be rolled up and I would remain, still and quiet, hidden behind glass. Apparently my children wanted their friends to think they were spawned in a pond somewhere. One time I had business to do at the school and got out of the car. I visited for a minute with another mother. They came out, horror evident on their faces. “MOM! What are you doing?? LET’S GO! Get in the car!”
I began walking back to the car. As I crossed the parking lot I shouted, “I’M (KID ONE) AND (KID TWO)’S MOM!!!” Other mothers shouted back, “HI Terri!”
And yet, they lived. The earth did not swallow them up despite their fervent wishes.
Now they’re grown up and gone, it doesn’t matter if I get out of the car, and no one cares what I’m wearing. Including me. When it’s warm: my favorite shorts (I have two) and my favorite t-shirt (I have three) or leggings and my favorite baggy t-shirt (one of each). Flip Flops. When it’s cold: jeans, sweatshirt, Uggs.
Sometimes after I’ve been working out I stop at the grocery. I’ve got on wet running shorts, wet running t-shirt, I’ve thrown on an old men’s fleece jacket that I picked up off a race course once (I WASHED it!) and keep in the car for these emergencies. My hair is a sodden ponytail on my head and I’m red-faced and make-up free.
It’s incredibly liberating. I don’t care. I’ve thought carefully about this. Where is my pride? Where is my honor? Where is my sense of shame?
Last night I had to meet the hubs downtown at Fancy Hotel for a trade association reception and dinner. I actually fixed my hair instead of cramming it into a clip on my head. I wore a new dress, which I spent about 74% of the evening desperately pulling down since my knees were showing and I felt it was far too short. I put on makeup. (Note: When you jab your eye with a mascara wand it stings like an SOB and you look like a raccoon. Do not do this.) I wore some cute slip-ons with a 2″ heel. Pearl earrings.
I parked and immediately nearly fell over getting out of the car; my heel slipped off the shoe and I was standing there with the front of my foot in the shoe and the heel of the shoe sideways next to my foot. It took me ten minutes to get to the hotel from the car as I carefully stepped, slipped, tripped, repeat.
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away
Hubs kept saying how nice I looked. He didn’t duck when other people saw me and he held open doors. I just kept walking slowly and regally so I wouldn’t fall on my ass, making my too short dress slide up to my armpits and causing the eyeballs of many people to be permanently scarred from the view of my foundation garments and overflowing white flesh.
Anyway, Ciao! I’ve got to go, need to run to the grocery. I have on one of my favorite shorts and t-shirts, flip-flops, my hair mashed on top of my head with a clip and no makeup. Where is my pride? Where is my honor? Where is my sense of shame?
Crammed in the corner of the bedroom next to the little black dress and those damned shoes. BUH-BYE!!!