About a month ago my daughter and I were out driving, running errands and shopping. She saw a homeless man on the side of the road. As we drove by she said “I wish we could help that man” and I told her we could. I didn’t have a single dollar in my purse at the time we were driving by but I did have a credit card and the need to teach my daughter that being part of the world means taking care of each other. I told her how people could help, by giving money or helping find a place to sleep. We talked about how we could help and decided that making packages of things that people might need living on the street may be a good place to start. We went home and I looked up online what other people were putting in these care packages that are known as blessing bags. Half of the food items included were already in our cupboards so I made a list of the other items we would need and headed to Target. I bought four of everything so we could have four bags in the car to hand out. I printed out some free resource phone numbers to include in each bag with numbers to national hotlines for runaways, victims of domestic abuse, drug addiction treatment centers, and veterans assistance and my daughter wrote a note to put in each of the bags. We formed a little assembly line and packed the bags pretty quickly but they were only about half full so I started grabbing granola bars and trail mixes from our cupboards. We were able to fill the bags to the top but I was probably going to have to make another run to Costco to restock our cabinets. No problem, I love that place almost as much as I love Target.
We filled four bags which now sit in my backseat along with the clothes and sheets I am passing on to friends with kids who are a little younger than my daughter. Someone looking in my car would think I lived in there with all the blankets and bags and pencils. I have a car full of love in so many ways.
My daughter was able to hand out a bag yesterday. We passed by the man who we see frequently on our way to Costco. The light was green and there wasn’t a chance to stop so I drove down and turned around so we could come back to him. Luckily we were able to come to a stop with little traffic behind us and my husband handed him the bag. The man thanked us and ran back to where he had his backpack sitting by the road and we went along to run our errands.
As we were pulling in to Costco my friend called to tell me she was driving right behind me. She had misplaced her membership card and asked if she could walk in with us. I was so happy to see her and get a hug.that I almost got out of the car while I was still behind the wheel. Now I understand why the parking lot is always chaotic. People like me are parking their cars badly and running off to see their friends. This is a friend who I see pretty regularly and will not be able to see for a few weeks with our busy schedules, holidays and vacations. I wasn’t expecting to see her until the first week of December, but our little detour to do a good deed put us right in front of her a few weeks earlier.
I love when things like that happen.It’s like the universe smiling down and saying thanks for taking care of each other, now here is a little something to make your day better.
Free dress days are always either a total joy or a total headache depending on two things – the theme and the preparedness of the woman who can’t dress herself in the morning. Luckily today’s free dress had no theme. When there is a theme it is usually sports and in this house a sports theme can be problematic. I always have a shirt or two for my mini me to wear from my alma mater which is diametrically opposed to her school colors. My husband has no alma mater and no opinion about what clothing she should wear on free dress days. He sneaks out of the house to work before she even wakes up. Luckily this morning was a non-themed, wear whatever the hell you want to school kind of morning. Naturally my daughter picked black tights, a black dress and little black ankle boots. She is definitely her mother’s daughter.
We were driving to school listening to Modest Mouse and talking about concerts she wants to go to this year and all of the bands she wants to see. I was thinking about her holding my phone to her head at five months old rolling around on the floor in pure bliss listening to Black Flag and I told her about how she got to hear bands like Tokyo Police Club and The Dead Weather when she was in utero. She couldn’t see Alison Mosshart on that stage, but this little seven year old sure carries herself the same way down the hallway walking into school. She is most definitely her own person. She likes what she likes and she doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks about it. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that she is so self-aware at such a young age and that she can just be herself and do her own thing.
She takes her style from many places. Today is Wednesday Addams and tomorrow will be Harley Quinn, but she makes it all her own, my independent little girl. She is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
*This post is brought to you by brownies and lots of punk rock.
My daughter busted us eating her candy at least three times in the past week. I would like to say that this only happens around Halloween, but it’s not true. It’s an ongoing battle in our house. Whenever our daughter brings home candy she puts it in a cup in the cupboard. She has her daily piece from this stash. My husband also has his daily piece from this stash. I might also dig into the cup now and then depending on which side of the bed my little mini me crawled out of. All of a sudden the candy is gone and everybody is blaming each other for eating it all. The same thing happens with cereal. Anything sweet just seems to disappear in our house. It’s like living with magicians, or burglars.
This year on Halloween we went trick or treating with one of Riley’s classmates. Her parents were gracious enough to have us over even though the Mom was due with baby number two a few days later. We had pizza and salad and the dads took the girls out trick or treating. The moms hung back and passed out candy. It worked out pretty well because I could jump up and get to the door pretty quickly and let preggers take her time to get up to see the kids. After a few hours and several tumbles in the grass our girls and their handlers returned with their loot.
My daughter considered the candy hers and hers alone. My husband figured since he had to follow her around in the cold he deserved some of the candy as well. She tipped us out with chocolate bars that she didn’t like and sent us on our way that night. Since then the bag has been sitting in our kitchen, and all three of us have been eating from it, quietly when nobody else is looking. The bag has started to sag as the candy has gotten up and walked away on it’s own.
Last week my daughter finally organized all of her candy. She gave some to me, some to her dad and the rest she put back in her bag. I don’t know if she has created a candy spreadsheet, but she is definitely trying to control her inventory. She has taken stock of the laffy taffy and starburst, the jolly ranchers and twizzlers. She knows exactly what should be in that bag. I’m not going to tell her about the skittles wrapper I found while doing the laundry last night. I think her dad may have helped some little rainbow candy escape a child’s mouth. The wrapper was tucked into a box of dryer sheets. The garbage can was two feet away but I’m sure he had just been scolded for the wrappers she found in the kitchen garbage can while he was trying to hide the evidence of his latest theft. For a sugar junkie he’s really bad at covering his tracks. I mean, come on man, it takes two seconds to wrap it up in a kleenex or something else gross she would never touch while looking in the garbage. Total amateur.
Over the summer she bought herself a little locker to protect her valuables. She doesn’t keep her jewelry or money in it, she hides her candy from her parents. I’m guessing she will put some of her Halloween candy in there. It’s only a matter of time before she realizes that the bag is dwindling at night. Luckily she has given me the combination since she thinks it is only her dad who eats her candy while she sleeps.
When I was in high school I got into a lot of trouble. I was young, immature, and doing stupid stuff all the time. I was in detention a lot, mostly for being out of uniform because I wore combat boots with my plaid uniform skirt and I always wore black socks instead of navy blue or my shirt was pulled out just a little too far so it could be considered untucked. I didn’t really mind detention because it was a place to get all of my homework done in peace and quiet. The one detention I am proud of was for throwing another girl up against the lockers. Now I know this is probably not something most people would be proud of, but to me, then, and now, it still is.
I threw that girl up against the lockers because she walked up to my friend after religion class where my friend had just asked us to pray for her cat who had been run over by a car and whispered in her ear “I ran over your cat”. To this day, I do not remember that bully’s name or why she would say something like this to my friend, but in that moment my reaction to someone hurting my friend was to throw her into the lockers. I served my detention for fighting in school. Sometimes people just need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to say mean things to other people.
Years later I still have this kind of loyalty to my friends. Years later I am also still the one a lot of people look at twice because I wear Doc Martens with my jeans or my sleeveless band t-shirts to the gym. And most importantly, years later I still don’t care what other people think about me. I like me. If other people like me, that’s great, but if they don’t, I’m okay with that too. Just keep it to yourself. It’s really not my business if you like me or not.
Last week a friend of mine shared a post on facebook of a picture collage of a bunch of famous people who have had mental health issues and died. It was to break the stigma attached to mental health and was a positive post. Some woman who she didn’t even know but was a friend of a friend of a friend asked her if she had mental health issues in a comment on this post. I read it and asked myself “who does that?”
I know who does that. It’s the same people who call me weird because they don’t understand why a middle aged woman still loves punk rock and wears doc martens with her jeans. It’s the same people who think that their worth as a person is based on how much money they make or what kind of car they drive. It’s the same people who are not okay enough with themselves to just be themselves, flaws and all. My favorite parts of people are their scars and their imperfections because that is what makes them truly unique.
My dad has a scar on his forehead where he went through the windshield of his car when he crashed racing to be at his friend’s side after his father died. I loved hearing that story growing up, not because my dad was hurt but because he was going to be with his friend who needed him. That story taught me how being loyal to a friend in need is important. I was driving to the hospital to see a friend who needed me over the weekend when my phone rang and my friend who posted the facebook post asked if I knew who this woman was who commented. Apparently the bully and I went to high school together. It would be really funny if it was the same bully who picked on my friend years ago, but it wasn’t. It was just another mean girl who grew up to be a mean woman and bully people on the internet. In that moment I did the same thing I did as a teenager, but instead of throwing a girl into the lockers I commented back to her on facebook and asked her if she had Asperger’s Syndrome. If she does I can totally understand why she asked the question and she would have gotten a pass. That wasn’t very nice of me either, but sometimes people need to be shaken and told that it’s not okay to be mean on the internet and attack people publicly. My husband has commented that it’s possible that both my father and I have Asperger’s Syndrome because we don’t pick up on social cues and focus on what we are interested in very intensely. Personally, I think we are both just sarcastic assholes who are loyal to our friends. She never responded and she deleted her comment so mine went away with it.
I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom…
I would consider myself a kind person. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes before I open my mouth and I know that everybody has their own stuff that they are going through but that woman just really needed someone to put her in her place and I don’t mind being that person every now and then. Yes I was being childish too, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me. I had just been in a situation the day before where some people were passing judgement on me for dressing like an angsty teenager when they don’t know me as a person at all. I am still sometimes an angsty teenager and that is what makes me unique.
I thought my days of detention were over years ago, but alas they are not. My husband put me in detention after I told him this story. I guess sometimes when you act like a teenager so much you better accept being treated like one sometimes. Hey at least I got some writing done in my detention!
**I wrote this story while drinking lots of coffee and listening to The Interrupters “Fight the Good Fight”