La La How The Life Goes On

Archive for July 2013

Having said that, I’m really hoping this is the year the British Monarchy goes for a nice “Prince David Ben Windsor” or “Prince Jimmy Wayne Windsor.”

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Tough Tacos

Posted on: July 11, 2013

That’s the mantra here at Chez Jones. If I may respectfully suggest, some version of it should apply in your home too. I myself prefer “tough titties” but Dada gave me enough stink eye that I amended it to the above.

Follow me here. Bambina loves performing in shows, musicals, weddings and bar mitzvahs. She had done about three or four shows happily until the dreaded Brigadoon in which she was cast as a MAN. Well, tears, sadness, outrage ensued. Recriminations, expletives and rending of garments followed. All culminating in a Come To Jesus chat wherein I informed her that if she ever wanted to see Stage Left again she had better STFU and suck it up. That I was not going to spend the next umpteen years counseling her through various part losses and crappy attitudes toward fellw cast members who did get the parts. She was going to man the eff up and accept that sometimes she was just not going to get a part, no matter how much of her life’s desire it was. That, I decreed, was the only way acting would work in this family. You want to do it? Accept that it’s not personal and vow to be tough-minded about it. Also vow to be the best oompa freakin loompa they’ve ever seen so that next time they WILL see you as Veruca, because you will have demonstrated teamwork, effort, commitment, good attitude–and you’ll have been studying the girl who got Veruca to see what she can teach you. Any whining? Your show biz career will be over faster than you can say Gretchen Mol.

You know what? Bambina got it. Immediately. And it’s been sunny skies, even if no leads, ever since. So this summer she finally got cast in her breakout role: The Artful Dodger. Dreams have come true, life is grand, she is on top of the world. However her friend did not get her hoped-for part. In order to ensure parts for all participants they switched the songs up a little, so her friend is singing I’d Do Anything, which is usually a Dodger song. Fantastic. Except. Instead of giving her obviously-disappointed kid a Tough Tacos But Sing The Hell Out Of Your Song, Kid, the mom told the child that there are “two Dodgers” in the play, and it’s kind of like she is also The Dodger. What?!!

Not to be an ahole stage mother, but There Is One Dodger. The kid who is the Dodger worked very hard to get that part. Sang her lungs out, thought about how the costume could enhance the character. Did the work. And now she feels confused because her friend’s mom is saying its not really her part. What?! Why are you minimizing another child to make your child feel better? This is life. Life is not always fun or fair. Trying to pretend that the sky is green so your kid won’t cry doesn’t make the sky, in fact, green. It just makes your kid less able to handle reality.

Another example with Baby Sister. She has a pretty sizable scar on her chest from her heart surgery. I found out today that she has been stressed out by kids asking about it (now that swimsuits show it). We arrived at school and one kid was teed up already: what is that thing on her chest? Will it go away? What’s going on there? Poor Baby Sister, I realized, has been getting this question with no idea how to answer. So I said all nonchalantly: “oh, that’s where the doctor fixed her heart. Your heart has different rooms in it. Rooms have walls between them. Her wall had a little hole that the doctor closed, and that is where he did it. No big deal.” Well, you could feel the air pressure around my little one lift by 3,000 psi because her body untensed and she did that Nya-Nya voice to say, “yeah! No big deal!” The kid went, “oh, okay!” And went on his way. My wee one smiled and skipped away. And I found myself relieved that I had decided against ignoring the boy’s question in the name of preserving my child from hurt.

Yes, I want to eradicate anything or anyone who might hurt my child. But you and I both know that impertinently curious kids are here to stay. As are racist fucks, inadvertently rude doofuses, nasty mean people and everyone in between. We cannot eradicate them. All we can do us raise kids with the mental toughness to withstand them.

Mental toughness is the secret sauce in my parenting recipe. You can be richer, smarter, faster, cooler than my kids. But if my kids can get punched in the face 15 times and get up 16, then my kids are going to succeed where you will fail. Every. Single. Time.

My dad always told me I was “made of sterner stuff.” I’m not sure when it morphed from Embarrassing Shakespearean Dadism to something I actually believed and carried with me, but it did. And I want my girls to have the same internal anchor. The unbreakable, unshakeable knowledge that This Is Not How This Ends, that they shall endure and excel and rise above, all evidence to the contrary. How do I do that? Well, first and foremost, we deal in reality. Not how we wish things were, but how things are. We accept reality, THEN we can set out to change it, improve it, beat it. But we never avoid it. If Bambina doesn’t get a part, I do feel for her. But pretending she kind of got the part doesn’t help her at all. When Baby Sister has to deal with scar questions, I feel for her. My upper middle class instincts scream at me to get my 4 year old some plastic surgery to prevent these questions. The working class Scottish immigrant in me smacks my face with the truth that if having a scar from the best cardiac surgeon in the world at the greatest children’s hospital in the world is this kid’s biggest challenge in life, then forgive 99% of the earth for not shedding a tear. Right?

I can’t promise that instilling mental toughness (or being the kid having it instilled) is easy or fun or even remotely pleasant some days. But I can guarantee that if you really truly do care about your child’s happiness, success and general well-being, you will make life a little harder for her now so that it’s easier later.

The Artful Dodger himself said it best: If there should chance to be some harder days, empty larder days, why grouse? Always a chance to find somebody to foot the bill, then the drinks are on the house!

Today marks 15 years since I became Mrs. Dr. Baby Daddy. Like today, that day was blistering hot and we were in crazy youngster love. Unlike that day, we now have gray hairs, massive eye bags, and two precious darling chilluns responsible for both. We look like hell, but we’re happy.

So what, since you haven’t asked, keeps this marriage workin’? Well, let me tell you a secret: it ain’t love. Friends, if the primary thing that you boil it all down to is love, in my 2-bit opinion, that ain’t much.

Of course I love the BabyDaddy. But love can’t do it alone when the world is raining sh$t down on you. “Love” is the last resort when you’ve got nothing else. But your marriage has got to have something else to be worth it, not to mention be a joy rather than a chore.

You gotta have Commitment. To the relationship. To each other. To the happiness and fulfillment of the other person. BBDD and I have got this in spades. You step to my husband, personally, professionally, socially? Get ready for a fistful of Mama to your throat. You will not take him or me or us down. You will not divide us. Because he and I are a team, come what may. Even on the days when we seem to be talking past each other and fundamentally misunderstanding each other and maybe kinda sorta not feelin’ it for each other because he chewed his food wrong today in my humble, cranky opinion: you come at us, you are still going down. Because nothing is more important to us than us.

Which means that I genuinely want good things for him, completely independent of what those good things might mean for me. Seriously. If you are with someone who doesn’t in his bones want you to be as awesome and happy and fulfilled as you can be, dump that trash today. Now. Put away the blog and get to dumping. Certainly there are days when I wish he weren’t traveling for work or riding his bike or whatever. But that’s because I am prone to selfish bitchery when tired. 🙂 But I wouldn’t want him to give up anything that truly gave his life a sense of joy. If there were a husband corollary to Happy Wife, Happy Life, I’d subscribe to it.

You gotta have Trust. IMHO, once the trust is gone, the marriage is gone. I can love you a million ways, want to be with you for a million years, but if I can’t trust you it has to be over. Trust is the strongest, most necessary and most fragile element of a relationship. You break it? Please collect your belongings off the lawn and don’t impede the locksmith, because we have nothing left here to discuss. Oprah always liked to end her magazine issues with “What I Know For Sure.” I thought it was a wee bit cheesy until I actually comprehended her goal. It was not to Know For Sure that, say, Dustin Hoffman is a national treasure. It was getting at those things your soul can count on. Well, one thing I know for sure us that I am safe with the BBDD. That this guy is solid. That he is what they meant when they invented the word Trustworthy. If you can’t say the same, get to dumping.

You gotta have Fun. The BBDD still makes me laugh. Still laughs at my lame jokes too. Now, granted, we used to have a lot more high-dollar, no-kid fun back in the day. But to everything a season. This is our season of child-rearing and less spending and me trying to stop GVHDing. The wacky fun stupid money days will return. And in the meantime we know that our fun is not defined or circumscribed by our circumstances. We can laugh hysterically over a Subway footlong as easily as a 6-course white tablecloth dinner. Hell, we got engaged over a medium cheese pizza from the Mellow Mushroom! And it was AWESOME. So the fun continues even as the kids grow tall and our days seem long.

You gotta have Reality. “My husband is the funniest, hottest, most patient, most scintillating human specimen on the planet!” FALSE. I am the hottest, nicest, sweetest, most giving wife on earth. FALSE. And that’s a good thing. Good lord, what pressure to put on another person to be your Everything! The reason hilarious guy friends were invented was so your husband could be his own funny self without having to be The Funniest Guy EVER. The reason your girl friends were invented was so your husband could be there for you without having to be The Best Listener EVER. Give a guy a fighting chance, for heavens sake. He doesn’t have to be your best everything. He just has to be himself, and you just have to know that everything he is, is what you like best.

All of which is to say: Happy 15th, Baby Daddy. I do indeed like you the best.

barrowman

This is the delicious actor John Barrowman on the right. Delicious actor John Barrowman who is now legally spoken-for to Mr. Scott Gill in the state of California. Delicious actor John Barrowman who was supposed to become, via whatever means necessary and semi-ethical, MY husband.

Now, it can never be. Just one more example of how The Gays and their pro-love agenda are killing the dreams of this country. One suburban housewife at a time.

Thanks a lot, Gays.