Follow My Sorry Ass


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brought lunch to James at school today. He’s had to eat in the office since he’s been on the crutches. Yesterday, the school nurse told me he’d eaten alone (the better to take away the sting about not getting to have outdoor recess?). When I asked him about it, James threw me a soft toss. He said, “Hey, how about if tomorrow you bring me Subway? Do you know my recipe?”

James’ Subway Special
turkey and roast beef on wheat
extra black olives, a shred or two of lettuce
vodka martini vinaigrette, just a splash
shaken, not stirred

I brought it. He seemed stoked. We sat together for a few minutes. This time, his friend Aidan was there with him. Suddenly, he goes, “Okay, Mom, you can leave now!”

So, here I will take the obligatory turn toward the philosophical. This blog would be nothing if not for the flashbacks to my oft-shitty childhood. Oh, it was not all bad; after all, these are letters to Aunt Kay, who was/is my mom figure for reals. Without Aunt Kay, whom my kids refer to as The Great Aunt Kay (or, my favourite, Aunt Kay, The Great), there is certainty in my bones that I could not endure the painful growth of motherhood, the work and humility of it, the shame of getting it wrong and the triumph of getting it right. Nor could I care one iota about other humans. She is truly the reason for the season. However, sometimes when I do something a little bit nice for one of my children (in the spirit of W.W. A.K.D., or What Would Aunt Kay Do?) it reminds me of something less good that happened between me and my parents.

West Hills Middle School, my thirteenth birthday (and my fourteenth), in the large, open front entryway. My mother, in her nurse’s scrubs. She has a huge bunch of mylar balloons; some are pink. It is the timing, really, that is sad. Around lunchtime, and the whole school is lingering. She breaks into a run, which is easy because she is in those orthopaedic nursing shoes that belie her youth. I am impossibly small and under-pubertized for my age, and so very mortified by this random entry of my mother into my everyday life. She envelopes me in a hug, which is so enthusiastic it is almost like a dip between ballroom dancers. I feel so conflicted, so embarrassed. What The Fuck, do you want to scare away what few friends I have? They are watching, and I can feel from across the room that they feel badly for me and are laughing a little. Oh, and right there’s the school bully, who picks equally on girls and guys. He is pantomiming the whole scene in the background, which is hilarious and so unfair at the same time. My mother doesn’t do this shit for me, guys. Ever. Don’t, like, discourage her or something.

So, Thank God. Thank God that James doesn’t feel responsible for all of my feelings at a young age. Thank God he asks freely for what he wants and needs from me, without filtering these things first for possibility. Thank God he has friends, and the front-office staff of the elementary school looking out for him, and M and Q, and a host of good gadgets, and maybe even a flying car for his birthday one day, and as many balloons as he pleases. But not in front of his friends.

1 comment:

Hippy Goodwife said...

That is a classic story. When our middle schoolers cam back from camp last year there was a parent waiting for one of them with balloons and roses. I thought the poor girl would melt right into the sidewalk. Thank the Gods that some of us are learning a few things along the way. Though I am I sure I embarrass them often

enough anyway.