Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A-hole in One: The Juggler Who Dropped His Balls

This installment of A-hole in One was sent to me by Karen Song, a blog reader from Northern Virginia (DC Metro). This story, involving her teenage daughter, Kate*, is about a shift in perspective and perception after a brief stumble from the deceptive ways of a class A A-hole, a juggler who really dropped his balls. I chose to post this piece because we often preach to our girls the importance of girlfriends- we study it, we have research behind the benefits of nurturing our female friendships. And yet, we still fall short in supporting the idea of a community of girls/ women continuing to support each other and look out for one another outside of our intimate friendships. There often seems to be a quiet acceptance of the idea that in order to pull ahead in a our competitive world, girls, as they mature, must be especially competitive with each other, undermining each other, accepting  an uneasiness or mistrust of one another instead of celebrating each other’s accomplishments or developing a legacy of sisterhood. Here is Karen's story:

My daughter Kate, a junior in high school, is a really sweet kid.  She is 16 and is still a bit shy and insecure but really seems to be coming into her own.  And she is really blossoming in terms of her appearance and the boys are starting to take notice.  She is on the cheerleading squad and a few months ago a boy named Aaron who is a star football player approached her after cheerleading practice. After chatting for a bit, he asked her out on a date.  She was thrilled beyond belief!  This would be her first date and she couldn’t believe he even knew who she was.  But then after a phone conversation or two, she didn’t hear from him. The days went by and he never followed up on the date that he had set.  She was crushed, though not totally shocked, since her friends had warned her that he was a bit of a jerk.  Then, to add insult to injury, she discovered he just started dating another girl named Valerie who is very pretty, popular and, well, rather buxom too. Fair or not, she was quite resentful toward Valerie and bitter over the whole situation. She also declared to me that she now hated all girls with big boobs.

Well anyway, one day during lunch at the cafeteria, Valerie stopped by Kate's table to talk to her.  She asked if it was true if Aaron stood her up, which of course Kate confirmed.  Then Valerie told Kate that she wanted her to watch something.  Valerie walked over to Aaron's table where he was with all of his football buddies.  There was a brief exchange between the two and Kate overheard Natalie say "you don't get to juggle women!"....and then SMACK!....Valerie slapped his face and walked off.  

Aaron sat there in disbelief, rubbing his cheek. Kate took this all in and of course enjoyed every second of it. Valerie then came back to talk to Kate and told her that the slap was for disrespecting Kate. She told Kate that she also told Aaron that she no longer wanted to date him because he was not a gentleman.   Kate was blown away by all of this. 

This has been the gift that keeps on giving as the girls are now good friends. I’ve met Valerie and she is a lovely girl. She is quite intelligent and has been accepted to Dartmouth. She has been a good role model for Kate. Needless to say, Kate is no longer resentful of buxom girls.

I was also contacted by Valerie who was happy that I was sharing their story.
She wrote, “Also, I feel a need to explain myself a bit, since my reaction that day probably seemed overly dramatic, harsh, etc.  It's hard to describe the swell of emotions I felt at that moment.  The very idea that I was dating a guy who treated women like toys was so disturbing and made me feel "dirty" if you will.  I felt I needed to send a strong message that his behavior was unacceptable.”

* All names have been changes

Monday, February 24, 2014

game over, old man winter

I don't remember having a winter without a break in the disorienting gray-hued, snowy landscape. I was greedy for some green- until we had a mini warm up this weekend and the patches of 'green' in our yard were more like the memory of green. Like wilted spinach left in the pan too long-soggy green brown-with a dump of dog poop. When the kids are done with winter, you know the game is over. Do you hear that, Winter? The game is OVER! We are waiting on some Spring like we wait on Santa. I hope we made it on the Nice list and we get lots of shiny, rainbow-y spring baubles and sunshine soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Your Pet Day

In case you didn't know, today is Love Your Pet Day. 

Recently my kids have started to notice that I spend an awful lot of time with the dogs. And they have begun to question whether I love my dogs more than I love my human children. That's just nonsense. It's just refreshing to have someone look up to you every day. Seriously, look at them- always looking up.

While I have solid relationships with my children- better than most by traditional standards, the kids fail to acknowledge that they are growing up and inevitably growing away from me. They don't all want to be snuggled under blankets with me watching Sherlock Holmes BBC on the iPad. The dogs relish the eternal maternal warmth that exudes from my body- the kids pull away. The dogs live to please, they are loyal and forgiving even when I am not at my best. The kids- not so much lately. And that's all okay. That's just the nature of their ages.

The Mr. sensing a bit of internal conflict as I pondered the children's accusation, assured me that he knew where my true love lay. "I know that if the kids and the dogs were stuck on train tracks with a train barreling toward them, you would save the children first."

This is true. How else would I have extra sets of hands to save the dogs?

Love your pets a little more today. And throw your kids an extra bone, too.

Friday, February 14, 2014


Princess Commando is home sick today with a migraine. An unfortunate inheritance from her mother. In her groggy post migraine fog, she stumbled over to my desk and handed me a valentine. Be still my beating heart.

A picture of my new dog, Bridget 

In case you can't make out the writing, it says:
Dear Mother,
Happy Valentine's Day! My love for you is stronger than the Earth's gravitational pull. It is so strong that I feel any of your own pain and sorrow. You are my universe. Thank you for years of kindness. Love, Anna

Whether or not you buy into this day or shun it for it's shameless commercialism, here's my Valentine to you:

At the end of the day, after the routine, the scuffles, the worries, the laughter, the monotony, the excitement, the narrowly avoiding disaster, I wish you all a soft place to fall.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A**Hole in One: Mommy's Milli Monster

The following A**Hole in One story was sent from my friend, Rebekah following a heated bedtime battle with her three year old daughter, Milli.

The other night as we were trying our very hardest to get our daughter, Milli, who has the extraordinary ability to grin and ignore every single direction, request, or plea from her parents, ready for bed, we had this very special episode:

Me: Milli, come in the bathroom it is time to go potty and brush your teeth.
Milli: ( Sings and dances in the hallway)
Me: Milli, it is time to get ready for bed.
Milli: (Sings, dances, grins in the hallway).
Me: Milli, if you do not come here and get ready for bed, we will not read Puff the Magic Dragon tonight.
Milli: (Sings, dances, grins and begins to roll on the floor clearly showing  me there will be a battle should I try to physically bring her in the bathroom).
Me: Okay, you lost Puff.

Daddy: (Comes upstairs from the hockey game) Milli, what is the matter? Did you cooperate? 
Milli: Yes, Daddy. But, Mommy whined at me.
Daddy: Do you want to read Puff?
Milli: (The following said in the most sugary sweet voice) Yes, you can read it to me! I looooove Puff!! He is the bestest dragon ever! I love my comfy pajamas! They are my favorite! I love to snuggle! Do you want to snuggle, daddy?

I watch, sitting on the toilet, tooth brush in hand, in exhaustion and amazement as the little darling skips out the door with daddy.

For more information about how you can contribute to A**Hole in One, please click here. What's  the good in enduring our own crappy experiences if we can't share them later with others in their similar times of affliction? 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

you know, dog

Dog, each morning you wake me
with  Ready- or- not- here- I- come inexhaustible exuberance
mattress quaking, bed sheets lifting and twisting under your dancing paws
Get up! Get up! Get up! Aren’t you happy to be alive?

I look at you and where others might see
a nuisance
a waste of space
a lost cause
a drained bank account
an inevitable heart break
I see beauty

From the familiarity of your not so fresh breath
the worn leather of your nose
the scar from a wound incurred in a former life
the spindly legs
the musculature of your haunches
the great white shark jaw
the glassy marbles in place of eyes
the batty ears that smell of earth
the wag, wag, wag of your tail
the fur of feathers and wisps pungent like wet carpet

You have become one of the most beautiful things of my day
Because you know,
you know when to stop your spinning antics
with that rope toy in your mouth
You know without me uttering a command
to drop everything and settle your body next to mine
Your countenance changes
You know
before a tear even begins to well
that my love meter is down
You know
what my humans overlooked
that I just need a little warmth pressed against me
a reassurance
Someone to have faith in me
When I don’t have faith in myself
You know, dog
you know what symbiosis is all about
this give and take
this loving one another wherever, whenever, no matter what