Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Traditional Mom

Tradition, tradition – all this talk of the tradition rich schools that our offspring attend makes us sound like some kind of tradition-whores. Seriously? What about MY life? MY traditions? Seriously? I have no life. I feed, encourage, support, teach, guide and document these young adults who are still under my care. Can’t I have a few traditions too? Yeah – it’s my traditions right now. Because I said so.

The traditional ‘what am I going to wear today?” ritual – in which I pick through the huge pile of clothes on the chest beside my bed to find something to wear. I wear the same thing over and over and over again, simply based on its location in the pile. I do smell them before putting them on. This week I found a skirt that has been missing since I went to the Latin convention in April. I thought I left it in the hotel, but it surfaced this week. The benefit to choosing from the pile in the dark is that I don’t see the wrinkles and the food spills until I get to school – where ever-observant middle school students point out the stains, while the tres blasé high school students pretend not to notice but titter amongst themselves about the remnants of oatmeal on my skirt. As if I am not standing 3 feet away. Once I wore (on purpose, as a test) the exact same outfit to school every day for a week. No one said a thing. Black skirt, denim shirt, clogs. 5 days straight. It helped that it was on top of the pile every morning. They were so kind not to judge me. Hah!

Traditional Post Labor Day White-Putting-Away. The Sophisticate, PPP and I wore all our favorite summery white clothes all of Labor Day Weekend. I wore my white sunglasses until the last glimpse of the Gustav tinted sunset disappeared Monday evening. And now the sunglasses, along with the daughters' sundresses are retired. If I had white shoes or white pants, I would put them away too. . . forever. I am using “put away” loosely, as in relegate to the bottom of my pile of clothes. A few weeks later, the white sunglasses are now “put away” on the kitchen counter. But I am GOING to put them in the top drawer of my dresser. I hope I remember that when it’s spring, or in the bleak midwinter when I want to pull them out to remind me that summer is coming.
The traditionial "I hate to make the lunches" rant. The rant rages on in my head. I am OK if I get them made while I am cooking something else. I am unhappy if it's sleepy time for me and I have not made PPP's crustless chicken salad sandwich and grapes, or our very lean Young Son's two ginormous meaty sandwiches plus all the other caloric things I can find to put in a bag. It's a good thing they can get food at school, because the twin to this tradition is the traditional "I forgot to make the lunches, do you want string cheese and mandarin oranges, or do you want to get something at school?" I think the Sophisticate is sneaking in and making her lunch when no one is home.The traditional after school snack followed by nap on the couch. I walk in the door starving, a left-over primordial response to the end of the school day, and sleepy from getting up in the middle of my biorhythmic night. (see above: I'm not the only one who indulges in this one.) I eat a very healthy snack, like Toaster Strudel, with the little white icing squeezed out of the plastic packet, which looks alarmingly like toothpaste. I then sit down on my couch and consider my need to grade papers. I fall asleep instantly, a direct physical response to being in a small enclosed space with children grades 6 – 11. It’s a day full of drama and hormones. It’s exhausting…trying not to laugh at their self-absorption. I meant to say it’s exhausting preparing interesting and challenging lessons and then presenting them in a dynamic and engaging way. While planning two weddings. And wrangling this household. Any of that. All of that.

BigD’s ritual call on the Friday afternoon drive home. BigD works in a town other than our own. He drives home on Friday afternoon. He texts me when he leaves.
BigD: I’m just now leaving and I will be home at 8:17 pm.
Me: OK.
BigD: I have a ham. (I don't even ask).
Me: I’ll be asleep on the couch when you get here.

Then, when he’s about an hour away I text him:
Me: We are out of Dog Food you better get some, if you want to make it up the back steps.
BigD: I have this ham.
Me: We don’t have any Diet Coke, either. If you want some, bring it.
BigD: OK, anything else?
Me: M & M’s.
“M & M’s” signifies the end of the traditional Friday night phone call.
The traditional Friday night dinner ritual: “What kind of take-out are we having tonight?” All that stuff we bought and cooked last weekend, to be prepared and all that? It's gone. There is no cooking on Friday night. We go through take-out phases. There was the pizza phase, which lasted roughly 17 years. Then there was the Chinese phase, when we were deluded into thinking that it’s OK to spend all that money on Chinese food for these hungry people, because we will “have leftovers all week.” We don’t have leftover anything. Ever. We are currently in a sub sandwich phase, and we order the large size sandwiches, so we can have leftovers. We don’t have leftovers, but we order as if we will. The leftovers are gone by 10 pm.The FOOTBALL thing – My tradition is the chatting and the picture taking and the talking about how interestingly the other parents behave. I do pick up crowd signals, so I pay attention when things get exciting. Or someone gets hurt. It also changes dinner into Corn Dogs.Traditional stalker pics. I love it when they don't know I'm watching. Traditionally.

The traditional sock basket. We've had a sock basket since PPP was a baby. Theoretically, one sorts all the socks into a basket as they come out of the dryer, or when found stuck in a nightgown or down in a corner of the dining room sideboard. The idea is to immediately pair the socks up and voila – socks, in pairs for all. Our version? We dump the socks into the basket and when someone needs socks, he/she goes into the sock basket and finds two that are similar enough to wear. So, tradition lives on, and our Young Son is found digging through the sock basket every morning. And it seemed like such a good idea. The cat sleeping in the sock basket tradition. OR, the traditional cat gives-birth-in-the-sock-basket. Self explanatory.


Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Great to see a new post from you. Fun to read, and I adore the photo of the kitties in the basket.

Insane Mama said...

I totally know wht you mean by it is a ritual to forget to make the lunches... I ALWAYS forget

Anonymous said...

All so true! Love the post..

Liz said...

I fall asleep when I get home too! In my perfect world I'd eat dinner and go to bed at 8. No kidding.

Mike and Katie said...

I love the tone of your posts. It's this quiet resignation that your children are growing up and you're trying to stay out of their way while they do so. It's tough to let those visions of what we wanted our kids to be and allow them to be who they have become. You're doing it with a great sense of humor.