I’ll call her Erin. She was senior to me in the fancy law firm we worked in — seems like a lifetime ago. She was attractive, a model of good taste, not particularly well liked and frankly a little scary. Harsh, is what people said about her. She was playing with the big boys, and had watched the big boys make partner while they passed her over, year after year, despite her superior qualifications and track record. Picture a younger Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada, but a Miranda who has to work under all of the Mad Men.
On the personal side, Erin is single, never married. This made her an expert on dating. Over the years she had a long, too long relationship with an older man who would not commit. She spent the bulk of her last good child bearing years with this man, kind of like Mr. Big from Sex and The City, but not as cute. Following her ultimatum, he finally told her he would never marry. They continued to date and travel together but with no expectations for more. They kept separate apartments in the city.
When I was a junior attorney Erin scared the crap out of me. My work best friend and I vowed never to have a meal with her. But once I matured professionally (and personally) I found myself getting closer to her and we became friends.
By the time my marriage ended neither of us worked at that firm anymore. They never made her partner so she found another firm that did. She had ended her relationship with “Mr. Big Can’t Commit Guy” for good but had no serious relationships since.
I was struggling, this was during some pretty dark times, but I didn’t want her to know how hard things were for me — maybe she did still scare me a bit. Regardless, her intuitiveness and observation skills uncovered my pain. Still deeply wounded by my then soon-to-be-ex’s ability to so easily discard and replace me, I admitted that it had deeply injured my ego and confidence.
Erin had never been impressed with my Ex and she didn’t mince words. Ever.
Erin instructed me:
She further explained that I needed to be around men who will appreciate my good qualities, men who will appreciate my choosing to spend time with them. She elaborated that these dates should not end in sex, and that I should not be looking for a boyfriend or someone to love. These dates should simply be a means to an end, a way to break away from being the wife — the jilted and rejected wife. I needed, she said, to see myself the way others see me– not how my Ex treated me.
I wasn’t really convinced that I could or should take her advice, because I really did not want a man and was still too depressed and wounded (and physically ill) to seriously consider it. She sensed that, and added, in her usual strong, pointed manner,
“Roxanne, he has changed the playing field. You have a right to play on that field.”
I wasn’t ready to take her advice then and I didn’t. But looking back on it now, I see that she is a smart woman, a really scary, brilliant woman.
Just Me With . . . the good advice, that I just didn’t take.
Dating, well non-dating posts:
Thankfully, my kids have all been healthy. Their gross motor skills developed early. Translated, that means as toddlers they were (are still) runners, climbers and jumpers.
Once somebody gave me one of those big plastic houses kids are supposed to play house in. I had space inside so I put in it the family room. Not once did my girls play house in it. No, no. They did, however, stand on top of it and jump off, repeatedly. Had to get rid of it. That cute little house was a safety hazard for my twins, two of whom I call Thelma and Louise . . . but I digress.
We had a long informal dining table, also given to us. With the leaves attached it sat eight people. It was just the size we needed. However, according to my Olympic monkey children it was also long enough to run across. Again, a safety hazard. The table wasn’t that long and once the toddler runs and reaches the end? BAM! No, this was not going to work. I’d caught the kids right before falls on previous table running attempts but sooner or later my luck would run out. My daily goal back then was just to stay out of the Emergency Room (and off the Six O’clock news).
Still, I needed a table, so it could not suffer the fate of the play house. The table and the children must learn to co-exist safely. But the children were still little, they were at that age where I could really only chase behind them. They had no concept of consequences, danger, or any real responsiveness to my voice — they were all,
“Oh I can run, I can climb. Therefore, I will run and I will climb — all the time.”
And all my parental, “No, Stop! Wait!!” and all that jazz — meant nothing.
Absolutely, nothing. Say it again, y’all . . .
Back to the problem. How to keep the girls off the table? (Later it’ll be how to keep them off the pole, but I digress again.) They could only get on the table by first climbing on the chairs, but simply moving the chairs away from the table had not worked. These minions simply pushed them back to the table and climbed up, then a sibling would follow and in a blink of an eye, I had a line-up of miniature Village People looking toddlers on a table.
No, no. I needed something more secure.
I think it started with a jump rope. No, I didn’t tie the children up (not then, heh heh heh).
But after every meal, I would push the chairs in, grab a rope, thread it through the chairs around the table and tie them up in a nice knot.
The children’s fine motor skills had not developed enough to untie the rope. They weren’t (yet) strong enough to pull the chairs away, though they tried.
I didn’t realize how weird it was until a friend from out-of-town came to visit. We sat at the table together, ate, fed the kids. When we were finished I cleared the table, got out the rope and proceeded to tie the chairs around the table while we were chatting away.
She stopped talking and said, carefully, slowly, like talking to a crazy person:
“What are you . . . doing?’
Oh snap, sometimes you don’t know how strange and dysfunctional you are until there is someone to see it.
Me: “You mean you don’t tie your chairs together after every meal?”
Sometimes the kids did listen to me, even when I didn’t want them to. See, “Momma said, No!“
I have always prided myself on my test preparation and test taking abilities. Not just knowing the material, but the little things that help with preparedness, like getting on a sleep schedule that coincides with the testing hours, eating brain and energy foods, avoiding things that cause stress, dressing in comfortable clothes, mapping out and timing the route to the test location, even listening to Mozart! Then there’s the superstitions: I firmly believe that sleeping with books under my pillow or next to my bed helps. I don’t care what anyone thinks about that. I believe it.
The bar exam is one pretty big test, at least two full days, depending on your state. Accordingly, one must be prepared and ironically, having graduated from law school has little to do with being prepared for the bar exam. There is a period of two and a half months of bar exam study for would be lawyers. In my infinite arrogance, I decided that unlike EVERYONE else, I would not pay for and take the bar exam prep course. My thoughts were, it is stressful to be around anxious pre-lawyers all day, the course itself is ridiculously expensive. Plus, what do the courses do? They give out materials, go over them, teach and practice test taking strategies and offer practice tests. I can do this myself, I thought. I have always (until now . . . but I digress . . .) been extremely disciplined. I credit my musical training for this. I don’t need a class to give me daily study structure. I can, all by myself, put myself on a study and practice test schedule, every day for eight hours a day, plus a couple more hours at night. I truly thought I would do better by myself. I had never taken a prep course for any of the other standardized tests I’d taken, why start now? Plus, I resented the way in which the companies that sponsor these bar prep courses (not law schools) profited from the insecurities of pre-lawyers. These companies know that we have to pass the test and we would do almost anything to pass the test. No one wants the embarrassment of failing. No one wants to take it more than once. One Tweeter @CriticalA aptly noted: “”I’d rather suck Satan’s d*ck than take the bar exam again.” That pretty much sums it up.
So partly out of arrogance, taking a stand against corporate greed, and, well, I had no money, I decided: No, I’m not going to do it. I will buy the books, but I will not take the course.
Not one other person I knew made that choice. Not one.
But it was all good. I did put myself on a schedule. I never missed a day of studying, except for the Rat In My House incident, all went well. I felt prepared, ready. Mine was a two-day test. The first multiple choice, the second essay. If the test taker scores high enough on the first day, the second day is less important, so most of the prep courses and study focused on the first day of testing. I prepared for both.
As planned, a week before the test I put myself on test schedule for sleeping and eating. I was well rested. I actually felt good. I had passed my practice exams well within the allotted time. I was ready. Nervous, but ready.
On test day, I successfully avoided my stressors, got a good seat. And . . . go!!!!
At some point during the exam, however, I apparently decided that it was time to take a nap.
A nap!!!! I freaking fell asleep.
I fell asleep on the bar exam.
I freaking fell asleep on the bar exam.
There was no reason for this. I was well rested, nourished. All I can think is that my mind had been so focused on getting ready, that when the day finally came, my brain said — “Okay, I’m done now, right?” and checked out.
I don’t know how long I was out. I woke up with about a half hour left and a lot more than a half hour of questions to answer.
I wanted to die.
I finished when they called time, but not with well thought out answers and with no time to spare. I’d always had time to spare in my practice tests. But then again during my practice tests — I WAS AWAKE!!!!!!!
According to my finely tuned text taking strategies and rigid rules, I must not discuss this monumental blunder with anyone. I would only go home, eat, rest and sleep in order to be ready for Day Two. Because I FELL ASLEEP on Day One, Day Two became much more important.
I put myself in denial and robotically followed my plan. I spoke to no one, except my husband, only out of necessity.
I always liked law school essay tests, but since I HAD FALLEN ASLEEP on the previous day’s multiple choice test, I had to do more than “like” these essays on Day Two. I had to ace them.
Pursuant my test taking techniques, I scanned the essay questions. There was one that I absolutely did not know that answer to. I would still answer it, of course, but it would take some reasoning. No need to panic. And as I recall there was another that was a bit difficult as well, but at least I knew the answer, though the reasoning might be tricky. I did what has always worked for me, I knocked out the easiest ones first, to reserve time for the harder ones later.
In the end, I finished in time, actually with a little time to spare, proofread my answers and tried to put the whole experience behind me.
On the way home, however, I realized —- to my horror:
I’d answered the one question I was initially concerned about but I’d FORGOTTEN TO GO BACK AND ANSWER THE OTHER ONE!!!
I HAD NOT ANSWERED ONE OF THE REQUIRED ESSAY QUESTIONS ON THE BAR EXAM!!!!!!!!!!!
For the second time in two days, I wanted to die.
Let’s recap, shall we? I didn’t take the bar exam prep course that everyone else took, I fell asleep on Day One of testing, and I simply neglected to answer a full essay question on Day Two.
It wasn’t good. Not good at all.
And now the wait . . .
If you don’t know, there is a four-month delay between the date the exam is taken and when the results are published. It was a long-ass four months. By this time, I was working for a federal judge. My co-clerk was a snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge.
The results day came, finally. This was before discovering your fate could be accomplished alone, via the Internet and without human contact. The snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge and I decided that instead of participating in the law clerk tradition of walking to the county courthouse to publicly read the results, we would call the designated a hot line at the State Bar. Good. For the reasons above, I had convinced myself I had failed. I figured that receiving the inevitable news over the phone would limit the witnesses to my embarrassment to just one: the snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge. That would hurt my ego, but it would be better than public humiliation followed by the long walk of shame back to my desk — and my judge.
Snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge and I called the hotline. He entered his identification number and got word of his Passing score. He handed the phone to me.
My head was spinning: Why was I so arrogant? Why didn’t I take the course like EVERYBODY ELSE? Why did I fall asleep? Why did I decide part of the exam was optional? Why can’t I just lay down and die??????? I entered in my identification number, waited, then . . .
Despite it all, I had passed. I had passed. I had passed. Damn, I must have done something good.
Just Me With . . . the ability to say . . . I passed the bar exam in my sleep.
And here’s a bonus, much to the utter shock and dismay of my snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge co-clerk, not only had I passed, but my numerical score was . . . wait for it . . . higher than his. (I didn’t say a word, on the outside.)
And here’s yet another bonus. Years later, I ran into my snobbish double ivy league golden boy son-of-a- judge co-clerk, who actually gained some humility over the years and apologized to me for his arrogance (which is beyond the scope of this post). Then he started telling me how busy he and his wife were:
Him: “You’ll never believe it! I have twin girls! Yeah, it’s crazy!”
Me: “Really? Twin girls, huh? Wow. Crazy. So . . . you have . . . just . . . the one . . . set of twin girls?” . . . wait for it . . . “I have two.”
We had a good old laugh about that.
Him: “You always manage to one up me, don’t you? I guess I’d better just shut up.”
A Rat In My House – Unscheduled study break …
I don’t come from a large family, I only had three cousins in the area. It was my Dad’s sister’s family: two boys and a girl. They were Army brats and moved a lot, but eventually settled on our street. The girl was my age and we were inseparable growing up all the way through high school. She would escape to my house to get away from her pesky older brothers. I had my first kiss at the brothers’ party at their house.
Adulthood happens. Bill, the oldest cousin, was now thirty-two years old. He was married with three children: a four-year old girl, a three-year old girl and a nine month old baby boy. His wife was a stay-at-home-mom. I was also married, but no kids yet.
On October 31st his wife was home getting the children dressed for Halloween. She was waiting for their Daddy to get home from work and take the kids Trick Or Treating.
He never got there.
On his way home from work on Halloween night, he was struck head on by a drunk driver . . . and killed instantly.
His wife, wondering why he was late getting home, had to receive the news while the kids were in costumes. It was the most tragic of tragic — a young mother, children too little to understand, a senseless accident occasioned by stupidity. On Halloween.
Thanksgiving and Christmas were just around the corner –but it would be just the first of many holiday seasons missing a Daddy, a husband, a son, a brother, and there had been no chance to say goodbye. It rocked our entire family. It was devastatingly sad.
The services were, of course, well attended. The steering wheel had gone through my cousin’s chest and broken his jaw, but his face was otherwise intact and they were able to have an open casket. There was a viewing , the funeral itself, the burial and the reception.
It’s difficult to describe how heartbreaking it all was. There were tears from three generations, a pretty and petite mother of three– it seemed like a slight breeze could blow her away, bouncing preschool girls, a cutie-pie fat and happy baby boy, grieving parents, siblings, friends, aunts and uncles, and yes . . . cousins. It’s been years and years, but I still think of it, the horror of his senseless death.
When we arrived at the funeral reception, my then husband turned to me and said something I’ve never been able to forget.
“I’m not going to do this all day.”
Just Me With . . . no words.
P.S. This is backstory. The accident happened years ago, but understandably I think about it every Halloween. The drunk driver did some time, I don’t recall how much. It got him off the road, but it didn’t bring my cousin back. My cousin’s wife grieved hard but recovered as much as a person can. She received a settlement from the insurance and never hurt for money. She eventually remarried a family friend and had one more child. The children grew up well, the whole family keeps their father’s memory alive. That nine month old baby boy grew up to look a lot like the Dad he never knew. The girls, young women now, are beautiful, healthy and happy. His parents routinely visit the grave and leave fresh flowers on holidays. I say all this because I don’t want it to appear like I’m using this horrible tragedy just for blog fodder about me. As I said, it’s that time of year; it’s on my mind. And my husband’s statement to me at the funeral reception has haunted me for years . . . and it’s scary.
Compared to many women, I haven’t been a bridesmaid that often. I don’t come from a large family and only have a small circle of good friends. So I’ve only done the bridesmaid thing four times: two sisters, one high school friend, one college friend. I was a bride once. Yeah, that one didn’t work out. Took a generation not to work out, but . . . I digress. The hundreds of dollars I spent on pictures for my own wedding, the dress — well , it’s all boxed — like some sort of evil time capsule. Wedding Leftovers.
However, hanging in my house is a picture of me in full bridesmaid regalia from my college friend’s wedding. The gown was lilac colored, off the shoulder. I was having a damn good hair day if I do say so myself. It was one of those good hair days that ironically women usually only have at night while home alone. But I was having a good hair day on a day where my picture was going to be taken. Score!!! The picture is a candid of me laughing at the church, fussing over — whatever — minutes before the ceremony. Behind me is one of the other bridesmaids, now twice divorced, also smiling and happy. It was a good day. My friend was getting married to a guy I really liked (this was before he lost his mind), her other bridesmaids were a hoot and it was a gorgeous Spring day. It was before I swore off weddings and became so cynical (in other words, I was newly married and child-free).
The wedding was beautiful, went off without a hitch. My friend was the kind of girl who always had perfection just happen. Unfortunately, the perfection didn’t last, however, and she and the guy I really liked eventually divorced. For as perfect as things were for her then, they got as bad as it gets — i.e., he knocked up another woman — yeah, that bad. So, the guy I really liked? Well, I don’t like him so much anymore. Nope, nope. See Remote Attendance at Weddings — Royal or Otherwise. But she got through it and last year she married a guy I don’t know at all — but he’s a guy she really likes and loves and that’s all that matters.
Recently she came to my house and saw that picture from her first wedding hanging on my wall. She had framed and given me the picture many, many years ago, but when she saw it she did a little double take and said:
“Wait, is that my wedding?”
Yeah, I responded, “I hope you don’t mind, but I looked good and so happy that day and I always liked that picture.”
“No, it’s fine. You did look good that day. And look there’s Molly behind you . . . “
“Yeah, she looked good, too.” She did.
We both smiled silently and my friend went on to look at the other pictures on my wall. It was okay to hang that picture. She was okay with it. Those were simpler times.
My point is this. For those women who tire of always being the bridesmaid, you do leave with pictures and memories that are completely independent of the success of a marriage. Rejoice in them. Hang them. Show them. Photoshop out the bride and groom in later years if need be. But the fun of the occasion, the stories, the mementos — these are things to savor years — and styles, later.
It’s funny, being a bride can be so fleeting. Sometimes, it can be disastrous, and sometimes all evidence of it just needs to disappear. Being a bridesmaid, though, now that’s forever and that’s a good thing — especially if you were having a good hair day.
Just Me With . . . a lilac off-the-shoulder dress, a really good hair day, and pictures from somebody else’s wedding I can happily hang on my wall — even though the bride can’t . . . . because, you know, the groom ended up being such a schmuck and all.
Here’s a fun fact: As children grow they develop fine motor skills.
So I did what everybody does, I told him, scolded him really:
“Do not ever unbuckle your car seat. It is not safe. Do you understand me? You will get a time-out for that! It is very, very, very important. Do you understand? ”
Me: “Are you sure?”
Him: “Yes, Momma.” He still called me Momma then.
He could tell when Momma wasn’t messing around. I was using my stern voice, my serious face and my angry eyes. Mission accomplished.
But my little Houdini is not my only kid. I had had five kids in all. The three-year-old was just the oldest. Twin girls, twice, came after. Yes, They are Twins, Yes, they are Twins, Too. Consequently, we didn’t get out much. Taking a preschooler, two toddlers and two infants to any store — well, this was not an outing that a person takes lightly. So sometimes when I had to run errands and my mother was with me we would buckle the kids in the car and my mom would stay with them while I would run in and out of stores. It got us out of the house, sometimes the kids would get their naps using this method, and it gave me a little break.
The very next day after the car seat unbuckling incident and lecture, my mom and I decided to load the kids and run some errands. We pulled into the local pharmacy and I ran in. As per usual, my Mom stayed with them in the car. I was gone only a few minutes.
When I came out, my mom was standing outside of the car, all five kids were still strapped in — inside.
The doors were closed.
“This can’t be good,” I thought.
My mother was distraught. Almost in tears.
“I can’t get in.” She said. “The babies started to cry and I got out to calm them down. I — I — I — closed the door . . . and now it’s locked.”
We, the adults, were locked out. The children were locked in. Turns out I was right. This wasn’t good. The keys were in the car.
I tried not to panic. After all, the car was running and the air conditioning was on, so they wouldn’t cook in there . . . but still, it’s not good to leave five children alone in a car and I didn’t know how much gas I had.
Options: I could run home and get an extra set of keys. But that would take too long, and my mother was losing it. I didn’t want to leave her alone with the kids. My husband was never really available during the day and worked too far away, anyway. I could call my Dad to do it, but he’s hard to get a hold of . . . so . . . I guess I’d have to call the police to break into the car. This was not a proud moment. “Why? Why, do I ever leave the house?” I wondered.
Well, hello there, Mr. Panic.
Then I remembered — my son — the big boy, the one who has motor skills!!! The boy can get out of his car seat and unlock the door!!! He has the ability. He has the manual dexterity. I’ve seen him do it — just yesterday. “It was worth a try,” I thought.
And so . . . one day after having scolded the boy for unbuckling his car seat and making him promise never to do it again —
I begged, “Honey,” I spoke kindly but loudly through the closed window, “Momma wants you to UNBUCKLE YOUR CAR SEAT and UNLOCK the door!”
He looked away from me. “Clearly,” his three-year-old mind must have reasoned, “This is some sort of test and I’m not going to fall for it, nope nope.”
I cooed, “No Honey, it’s okay, it’s okay, really, Momma says it’s okay, PLEASE get out and let us in. Please, you won’t be in trouble!!!! I promise!!!!”
I saw him roll his eyes toward the ceiling, away from me. His hands stayed at his sides. He was more still than any three-year-old could possibly be. It was impressive, really.
My mother was crying by this time and apologizing, she felt really, really badly. But I had to get to the kids.
Me to my statue-like son, “Honey, please. Please!!!!!! It’s okay, I promise. Get out of your car seat. Momma needs you to get out of your car seat! PLEASE!!!”
This child would not even acknowledge that I was talking to him. Again, it was impressive. And comical. I had literally just made him promise never to get himself out of his car seat and here I was begging him to do just that. It was like a sitcom.
“Pleeeeeeease!!!! Momma says it’s okay.” But that boy was NOT going to fall for my obvious trickery. “Momma said no,” he must have thought, “Momma said no.”
We had started to draw a crowd. I was beginning to tear up, too. The girls were useless, too young to manipulate their car seats, arms to short to reach the locks. And . . . they’d started to cry again.
This was not good.
In the end, my obedient son never unbuckled his car seat. Some nice gentleman drove me home (I wasn’t far, and thankfully I’d left the house unlocked). I got my spare keys and everybody was fine.
—- Except my mother. It took her a long time to recover.
We didn’t go out for a while after that and when we did, no matter what the kids were doing, my mother never got out of the car again.
Just Me With . . . five car seats, a mom, and a son who had learned his lesson, damn it.
I used to teach seminars relating to discrimination in the workplace, specifically, sexual harassment. You know, those annoying people brought in to identify improper workplace behavior and talk about how to respond, etc.
Well, one fine Spring I was sent to a company to teach a series of these seminars. I stood, mostly, in front of a class for three hours at a pop. What was different about this time was that I was pregnant — with twins. You know how women “show” more quickly with the second pregnancy? Well, with twins it’s even faster. However, I hadn’t told anyone at my job that I was pregnant — again. One pregnancy was tolerated in my white shoe law firm, but two? Oh no.
So I was trying to do the “pregnant professional woman hide your pregnancy” thing as long as possible. I was about four months along, looked bigger, but mostly in the belly, hips and thighs. There was one skirt suit I could still wear if I didn’t button it. It was the kind with a longish jacket that required no blouse and a matching skirt just above the knees. Professional, but not stuffy. But, because of the pregnancy, it was tight. Yeah, that skirt was screaming.
And I was tired. I had a two hour commute to the location of this particular seminar and I was pregnant and bloated and uncomfortable in my non-maternity clothes. Plus, I couldn’t even complain to anybody because it was my big secret.
At the seminar I talked incessantly about the hostile work environment kind of sexual harassment where it’s not that someone is saying have sex with me to keep your job, but where the environment is sexually charged and makes an employee uncomfortable because of his/her gender. You know, unwanted touching, dirty jokes, leering, flashing, and I talked about how dressing provocatively could make co-workers uncomfortable. I noted that sometimes bad behavior is not legally actionable harassment but there simply needs to be a conversation. Often the offending party doesn’t even know he or she has made someone uncomfortable, I explained. These required seminars can be a pain, but the important thing employees are supposed to get out of them is that they understand the law a bit, along with the corporate policies, and most importantly, they know what to do if there is a — situation.
The seminars went well, people stayed awake and were engaged. I felt like crap, though. and was so, so very tired. Any chance I got during the program, I would perch on a desk.
After the seminar, a woman came up to me to ask a question, or so I thought. She really wanted to inform me that while I was up front discussing inappropriate behavior, and how people act and dress in ways at work that make others uncomfortable,
. . . the whole class could see up my too tight skirt.
I played it off and said that this is exactly what I was talking about. My “reveal” was accidental and I, of course, did not mean to make anyone uncomfortable. I thanked her for coming forward and offered my apologies if I offended her. (By her demeanor, I clearly had offended her.) She said that she thought I’d want to know since I was talking about all “that stuff.”
Epilogue: Told work about my pregnancy when I got back. Switched to maternity clothes immediately.
Just Me With . . . an unintentional crotch shot and the ability to laugh at myself.
Last night I went to a jam session. I took my kids and one of their friends. I have hopes that someday my kids will participate. They take lessons, they have some chops, but they don’t have the confidence or drive to get up there. So last night they were there to listen. Still, something beautiful happened. They clapped . . . for me.
I played multiple times, I took solos, and after each, they clapped . . . for me. (In case you’re wondering, they weren’t the only ones.) But as I look back on it today, the fact that I got applause from “those people I made” is something I really needed. They were there, in my element, watching/listening and clapping at the appropriate times. They showed genuine appreciation for the music, for me, and for the other musicians. They may never get up there. But they know their mom can, does and loves it. They know I have credibility with other musicians — something which has nothing to do with them or being their mom.
I’ve had a hard time with my particular situation, the demands on me, my current place in life and the journey that brought me here. I’d been feeling a bit beat-down lately. Periodically, or sometimes consistently, leaving the “me” behind to meet the needs of my children and be there for them had been taking a toll. I’m a sensitive person, but you gotta have a thick skin to raise people, and sometimes, it’s well . . . hard. But last night, things were different, so different things were almost upside down. I wasn’t one of the many supportive parents taking pictures and cheering my kids on at a school performance or sporting event. They were there watching, clapping for and taking pictures of — me. And it was good — to play music, it was good to have a respectful audience, it was good to back burner the “mom” nameplate yet still have the children with me. In short, it was good to be Just Me.
After a while it was getting late, and they were ready to go, as was I. As we got up to leave I was asked to play one more set. The kids didn’t seem to mind that much. I played. They clapped. No complaints. At the end of he night I thanked them for coming. (Mind you they did get some food out of the deal.) But the lack of eye-rolling, whining, fighting and squirming — and their applause . . . they don’t even know how much I needed that.
Sometimes a girl just needs a little applause. I may call my mom and just clap for her.
Just Me With . . . my music and my kids . . . . just being me.