parenting

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I Wasn’t Invited

Published March 23, 2014 by mssprinkle

I think I was a little hard on the smart-alecky fifth grader who showed up at my classroom door with three blue envelopes in his hand.  He was popping gum (never allowed) and waving the envelopes over his head.

“Three lucky people invited to my party!”  He shouted when he opened the door without warning.

“Not on my time!”  I exclaimed, without taking time to think.  “Unless you have one for everybody, you may not distribute them during school time.”  I did not actually shove him out the door, but I am a large lady and when I advance menacingly, most people retreat hastily.

“Aw!  I bet one of those was for me!”  whined one of my less-sharp little tacks.

“I bet it wasn’t!”  Responded my meanest girl.

“MATH!”  I practically roared, and class resumed.

Last night I missed the wedding of a young woman of whom I am very fond.  She is the same age as my daughter, and they grew up together in church and school.  They were not best friends, but because their parents were friendly and their paths crossed constantly, they knew each other well.  I was not invited to the wedding.

I know the mother felt awkward about this.  She and I really have been friends. We never actually spoke about the decision, but as the wedding approached she avoided me more and more.  When it was impossible to do so she frantically directed any conversation toward other topics as we stood around before church choir or met up in the grocery store.  I ached to pat her on the arm and say, “It’s okay,” except that it wasn’t.  I WANTED TO BE INCLUDED.

I understand why I was not.

I’ve had to cut those wedding guests lists down before, and it’s painful.  And I know that my ex-husband and his new wife may be closer socially to their family than I am now.  Most of all, I understand that the estrangement between me and my daughter complicates something like this very nastily.

I got a nicely detailed report from friends who did attend.  It’s not the same as going, but it’s good.  My daughter was there, she was beautiful, and she has a new boyfriend who met with greater approval than the previous beau.  The bride was lovely, the service was sweet, and the party was fun.

Hopefully now the mother-of-the-bride and I can settle down and say “Hi,” without the nervous twitching.

Hopefully soon the achey little place in my heart with catch up with my sensible thoughts.

I already had another friend who grabbed both my hands tightly and said, “Listen to me.  This will not happen for our wedding this summer.  My son loves you both and you’re both invited.  Don’t you worry.”

I am sorry my friends are stressing about this.  I am stressing about this.  Nobody tells you when you finally say ENOUGH and rearrange your life that the weddings of your children’s friends will involve such troubles.

I think I shall go and grade some math papers.

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Thank You, Daddy

Published February 25, 2014 by mssprinkle

I turned 12 only a few months after moving from a big town to a little one, after my parents finally got divorced, after it was becoming far too obvious that something was simply wrong with my mother.  

Memory is very kind.  Looking back on that twelfth birthday, I know there was ice cream involved and my mother flaked out, again.  I don’t remember the guest list or exactly why some of the other possible adults didn’t figure more significantly into the memory-worthy frames (Grandmother?  Aunts? It’s hard to think they weren’t around – they usually were — oh wait.  Perhaps they were and they were dealing with MOTHER directly…).

Somehow it fell to Daddy.  And I was deeply involved in h-a-t-i-n-g my daddy at this time.  But 38 years later when I look back on that birthday I see a tall, skinny, awkward engineer with ice cream on his tie, trying to be friendly to middle school girls he’s never met, and making my party possible.

How did he even get there so fast?  How did he know I needed him?  Why wasn’t my venomous blame enough to keep him away?

Just so you are reassured, dear reader, I have indeed thanked him.  I have asked him those questions.  He laughed, and cried a little, and he didn’t really have any answers for me.  He teased me about the over-the-top parties I have thrown for my own children, and gave me a gruff little hug and ambled out into the garage.

 

“Who are you trying to fool here?”

Published January 12, 2014 by mssprinkle

I understand that negative comments are just part of internet life.  If I am brave enough to hit “publish” on my little musings and send them out into the blogosphere, I have to expect that some percentage of the responses I may get will be negative.  Okay.  Got it.

After my first couple of happy days filled with nothing but cheerful affirmation, this morning I finally had that expected negative comment.  “WTF – who do you think you are trying to fool here?”  said some snarky person who was passing by my little corner of the internet.  I was very comfortable with hitting “trash” on this comment – this is my little corner, after all, and I don’t have to let anybody else rain on my parade.  I don’t condone meanness in any other context and I was prepared to just sweep this away as nothing special.  

Then I noticed the name.  The name was familiar.  Hmmm…

Turns out the person who made the first unfriendly comment here is the author of a blog I really like!  I do not know this individual personally, but after running across their writing as part of the Zero to Hero assignments, I have spent quite a bit of time enjoying their work. 

Hmmm…

I seriously considered going right straight over to their blog to give them a piece of my mind.  Much like when I rolled down my car window to chastise some random children I encountered playing in the street on Saturday.  “Does your mother know you are playing in the street?  Get out of the street!”  (You may have an inkling of why my own children sometimes found me a bit embarrassing – one of my quirks is that I can’t always leave that teacher voice at school!).  But it strikes me that this is probably not a child doing something dangerous.  It’s an adult doing something unkind.  And we adults really don’t have much right now adays to expect each other to behave kindly, do we?  

“There is no excuse for rudeness.”  “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  We tell children these things.  My mama was really big on that first one.  I bet she had a secret tattoo of that someplace – in the seventies most mamas did not have visible tattoos.  But she said that ALL the time.  “There is no excuse for rudeness.”  Okay, okay, mom, I get it.

So I really can’t go over to that blog in good conscience and respond in kind.  Besides, I LIKE that blog, even if I now realize I might not like that person all that much.  I expect my mom is someplace feeling proud of me.  I hope the things I said to my kids ALL THE TIME stick with them as well.