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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mom of the Year I am Not

Mom of the Year I am not, but please don't talk about me behind my back. Okay, so that does sound a little paranoid. Still, I know how people are, making comparisons between themselves and those of us parents who are, by nature, less than perfect.

Thursday, like a good mother should, I attended my 12 year-old son's middle school soccer match. His team played like the brainy-acks that they are. They lost. It didn't matter. I sat on the uncomfortable metal bleachers. I yelled. I cheered. I tried to keep up with my three other children who took the opportunity to get into mischief during my distraction. I patted the boys on the back after the game and gave them words of encouragement.

Then I snapped up my son, hustled all the kids to the car, and drove down the interstate like a blue-hair on Quaaludes. We had four more team practices to make that evening and my husband, the coach of two of the squads, kept calling to check my ETA.

In a ten minute break between pick-up/drop-off stints, I pulled out my calendar to check scheduling conflicts for the following day. My heart immediately plummeted like a rock kicked off the cliffs of the Grand Canyon. I forgot to provide drinks after the game for the my oldest son's team. Weeks before, I had promised the team mother I would do it and gushed about how thrilled I was to have the opportunity to support the boys in their athletic efforts. I had written the note to myself in my calendar in bright green.

Later that evening, I apologized to my son. "It's okay," he said. "We had drinks after the game. One of the parents realized there weren't any and bought some at the concession stand." Air whistled past my heart hurtling down toward the canyon crags.

"Who," I wanted to know. But being a boy, and 12, he didn't care or remember who.

My husband comforted me, "No one but the team mom would know it was you that forgot. Call her tomorrow and see if you can take care of drinks for another game." But my self-centered, inner voice, that thinks the eyes of humanity are upon me at all times, especially when I screw up, kept telling me that while I perched in the stands hooting and hollering, the other parents clustered together chattering about my parental deficiencies.

Again, to stop my ruminations, my husband reassured, "They didn't know it was you. They would have reminded you so you could go buy the Gatorade. Get over it."

The next day, Friday, I e-mailed my apology to the coach and asked if he could tell me who supplied the drinks, so I could make things right. It turns out, the team mom, who sat in the bleachers with that group of parents, and with me, noted my omission and rallied assistance from the other adults, but never said a word to me.

My heart splattered on the rocky riverbank of the Colorado. My inner voice rambled on about all my other flaws exposed to the world. And my confidence leaked like melted ice from a cooler drain.

Okay, I know. Mom of the year I am not, but paranoid, maybe.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'll Rewrite This One Tomorrow, So Read it While You Can

Why is it that people who smoke think the world is their ashtray? They carelessly flick their cigarette butts to the ground after that last lung coating drag. I have overlooked it all these years. I'm a good southern girl, driven by my genes and upbringing to generously fling warm smiles and kind words, even to people who have not extended the same courtesy to me.

I'm a good southern girl who does not indulge in confrontation, course language, or crude behavior. But whoa dang if I'm going to go to my grave without telling you I would like to thump the knuckles of the Gamecock fan who didn't even bother to stub out the glowing tobacco on the end of his cancer stick before dropping it into my flip-flop while I was walking up to Gate 6 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday!

That being said, I behaved like a lady and let not one vulgarity cross my lips while hopping around trying to shake free the fiery paper adhered to the soft skin under my toes. I heaped a pleasant thank you upon the Georgia gentleman who offered me his beer to pour on my foot to put out the flame. And even as I felt my skin blistering and swelling, I smiled broadly at my husband and father, and said, "I'm okay. Let's go or we won't make it for kick off."

It's bad enough that Georgia lost that game and I had to tolerate my spouse blaming the shirt he wore (one that I gave him) as I hobbled back to the car, but it's even worse that I will feel guilty all week, probably all month, for slipping into unseemly language here in this blog. And I'll likely edit it tomorrow to say nicer things about the jerk who torched my toes.

(If you're just now reading this, it is tomorrow and I have edited it. I couldn't live with myself, knowing I had not only used inappropriate language unbecoming to a lady, but I had also used it in print in a public place. I apologize to the young man in question. May God show him mercy for cheering for South Carolina. May the next cigarette butt he tosses out the car window blow back in and land in the collar of his burgundy shirt, as well.)