Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An odd random memory surfaced

I was looking at someone's new baby photos. These were from the grandmother and the parents are SO young. I am dealing with and caring for teens these days and praying that doesn't lead to caring for baby for my teen or any other. No one is up to that job.

And yet that hit me hard because I was totally the QUEEN babysitter in Old Town College Park between 1972-1982. One of my first gigs was at the age of 12 . My Pastor called and asked if I could take care of a new one, near home for the night. This baby was 3-4 months old, colicky, it was hot as hell and no AC. The parents spoke no English. There were no cell phones. I was certain the child would die in my care. I walked that child and fed him and kept him dry for those hours. All he did was scream. No one cared. My parents and my Pastor threw me under the bus on this one.
The parents were vey grateful in their language and gave me $20 which was huge in 1972.

That led me down the babysitting path even further. Short torture, good money. It beat retail and fast food. I still do business for other reasons for the people who tortured me with their kids back then. I think they know I did em good and they owe me. No one died. There were never broken bones. One bad fall that resulted in an unclear diagnosis. I hid things to need to be hid
I kept their kids safe, the best I could. As the kids got olderI chased the bad girls out or hid things/ I tolerated the black powder and ping pong ball deal. I was there to take the rap no matter what. I was in charge, so it was my shit to take.

I cared for so many babies and toddlers for so many years. And then some of those households as they got older and situations changed.
Keeping the Judge away from the family room was one of my finer moments. Thank you, Brian.
And I relish the time, not so needed, but wanted, with Jon and Darren. I had kinda been in charge of them, which was like chasing bullets. And then their father, Jim, died. Those days and times changed me and more than a few others.

I keep Jim's photo in my bedroom, that is how amazing he was, and how much he affected me as a person. Anyone who even remotely knew Jim would understand that. He is the best reminder, aside from my father, of what a person can do and how a person can take on life and make it work.

I took care of his kids when they were young and through our hard losses. I do have it in me.

I have had it in me in ways for a long assed time to deal with tough stuff, apparently.

I just took it on with my mother from the other angle. The fathers who took me home and gave me the cash or wrote the check. I had a crush on one, but still admire the man for always being very cool and respectful. He has aged nicely. I'll never forget how gentlemanly he was in that 1967 ish Volkswagon Bug and how respectully he spoke to me, always. He raised the bar in how I wanted to be seen and treated. Sadly that didn't continue. Men take advantage of babysitters, so I suppose that I why I do not encourage Leanne in that direction. Being locked in and assaulted kinda turned me on that for good. Hot 16 year olds with men in that situation is just plain not a good idea.

I treasure the children that I have cared for, the list islong. "Don't hit em in the head" and "don't let em jump off the roof" was the only advice I was given. They did jump off a roof, in my care, but they are still alive. No broken bones, no emergency room trips. I somehow let them have their fun and saved their asses in the end, no matter if they were 3 or 16.

It's good that some old memories surfaced, for whatever reason they have.
I used to kick ass, and I guess I still do...and I need to.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

This is a really good Blog Tag

The rules are as follows:1. Each player answers the questions about themselves: five items per answer! 2. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves a comment letting them know they've been tagged and to ask them to play along and to read your blog.

10 years ago:
I lived in Maryland.
I had a dog I am still missing a lot - Tucker.
I was married.
I was not yet 40, darn that felt good.
My grandfather was still alive - I miss him too.

Today's to-do list: (there really was not one, thankfully, as it was one of those days I had to roll with the punches)
At their request, wake up 3 teenagers at 7:30 am
Clean up sleepover wreckage
Take Leanne and some friends to a 4H Bake Sale
Pick said teenagers up
Take care of myself, emotionally

Snacks I enjoy:

Cheese and Crackers
Really good ice cream
Any kind of pie

If I were a billionaire I would:

Have cozy little bungalows all over the world, for me and of course to be shared with my friends
Fund a home for the elderly that truly takes good care of them...and John and Jane and Mary and Skeet would live there
Travel, travel, travel
Have a huge farm (that might be where the old folks live)
Give a ton of money to certain medical research causes

My Bad Habits:
I am only spontaneous and carefree when it comes to spending money
I tear the crap out of my fingernails when I stress - at least I no longer bite them, they look like crap still though
I neglect my docs appointments - things like mammograms
When I stress I don't eat well
I tend to be a packrat - throwing things away is not easy for me

Places I have lived:
Columbus, GA
College Park, MD
Hyattsville, MD
Richmond Hill, GA
Ruckersville, VA

Jobs I have had:
Mother, always and forever it feels like :) (the pay is actually the best of all...but I won't count it in my 5)
Kennel manager
Various retail and administrative clerk jobs of no worthy mention
Team and government institutional sporting good sales
Office manager/business operator of a carpet cleaning company, currently
The best job ever had no title - there were too many hats to give it one - working for the Fisher family totally rocked - Jim changed my life and so many others, and I think anyone who ever worked for him would agree. That is why 26 years after his untimely death, his picture is still in my house where I can see it every day.

I need to figure out how to tag Christine...darn.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Why of "The Shovel's in the trunk" as my title

Those words, "the shovel's in the trunk", were uttered to me by my daughter when she was 12 years old. I had just bought this piece of land, my one acre on the lake. The house was under construction. I was back and forth between College Park and Ruckersville watching over and taking care of making this place HOME. One thing I had to have was a mailbox, that had to be put into the ground on the opposite side of the road, at a certain height so the mail person can do their thing. There was much shopping to be done. I think we spent 2 hours at Lowes. One of the things we bought was a shovel. And we bought it because we thought it a good thing to have around the house. (I left 4-5 good shovels at 9500 Narragansett Parkway, darn it, the shed with a tree sticking out of it at the moment, but that is another blog topic.) We shopped and got every thing we could possibly imagine that we needed in this new home.

Later that afternoon we decided to do the last necessary task, put the US Postal Service specified type of post and box into the ground (so the bills could be delivered, mostly). It was stinking hot and humid. We were tired and cranky. Assembling the mail box was a pain in the butt enough. And then attaching it to the post. Then it comes time to put the post into the ground and my ex and I are suddenly clueless. How are we going to get that post into the concrete they call soil here? We were sniping at each other. It was as ugly as we have ever been with each other.
Leanne had been standing there watching us struggle, only because there was no place else for her to be. She was unusually patient and quiet. She stood back and watched us stress out, flip out and treat each other badly. (She was likely afraid to speak, I might have ripped her head off at that point for no reason at all.)

Finally she quietly said "the shovel's in the trunk". We were so caught up in our frustration and exhaustion and being nasty to each other for no good reason that we overlooked the most obvious of all. We had spent a bit more time than was likely necessary picking out that stupid shovel, and then totally forgot that we bought it in the first place and it was right there, the one tool we needed, in the trunk of the car, with all the other crap we bought.

To me it resonates not so much because of what she said, but how she just let us be idiots, how patient she was. Maybe she was laughing at us inside (I hope so). He and I ended up sitting there laughing at ourselves and thanking her for being smarter and kinder than us.

"The shovel's in the trunk" is now what Leanne and I say to each other when once of us gets mindless, thoughtless or misses the obvious.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Super Powers

Someone recently asked which super power I would want to have, and I said "reading other's minds, on occasion".

I have changed my mind, I would rather that my mind could be read. I would give that.

It would save me a lot of talk and energy, and explanation. Plus the repeating the hell out of myself to people who just do not hear, or listen, or chose to ignore.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My reactive crap

I have been giving a lot of thought to my first blog about my daughter's comment about being "inferior to the pretty girls". I was so stunned to read that that I just reacted...without thinking it through. Without realizing the buttons it pushed in me. Without thinking about why she would say something like that, something that rings false with me...knowing her as well as I do (or think I do). The first button it pushed was just that, that perhaps I do NOT know this child of mine so well. Crap, how could I not see her insecurities? Next button/issue was, crap, how much am I/was I like that? How much am I still like that? How much was I at her age? And then, crap - all of the above. And then in a week or so I went back to button #1 and realized I do know this kid well, better than anyone. I watch her and listen to her and see the choices she makes. I know her closest friends well, and their mothers. We are all over each other. She knows me in ways better than I know myself, and vice versa. And we occasionally point that sort of stuff out to each other. We all do so, ruthlessly, from time to time.
My darling daughter, in my opinion and belief, in no way feels inferior to anyone, in any capacity, except her running speed. She might want some more attention, especially from members of the opposite sex, and the men in her life, but I truly belive she does not feel inferior. Nor should she. I think she does not want others to feel inferior to her in the pretty department, so she said what she said. I know who her true heart-felt friends are. That is the sort of thing she would do or say to make them see her in a different way. She is a pretty girl who is not judgmental. Nor am I (hah, I try). Her best close bare it all pals are NOT all the "pretty" crew. She said that to make them feel better, and herself, maybe, unknowingly. That is kinda sad, but understandable I suppose. It is how we are sometimes. She and I do tend to bend ourselves a bit far to make other people feel better. Her heart is in the right place, but geez. It was nice to hear a 19 year old male pal say that he was sorry that his gender laid this kind of " need to be pretty" weight on her. He has a point. But I took the weight off of him, after thanking him for his thoughts. We can't blame men. Not if we are smart enough to know better. Nor can we blame society or economics or culture, not at this point. Why bother? I think the kids coming up now are going to change our world...and I think for the better. I am doing my part to contribute to that betterment, in ways I suppose, through these kids.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why I do the things I do

I've been feeling really introspective lately...more so than usual, and it is tiring. I suppose it is an emotional closet cleaning thing. It seems to be necessary every few years. I've been giving my self a good going over, cleaning out, re-arranging a thing or two.

One of the things that's been part of it is questioning my true reasons for doing some of the things I do. (Some things I really just HAVE to do - part of the jobs that are mine).

My friend Christine prompted me to think about this again tonight. She was asked why she paints her nails - and she said, for herself (good answer, in my opinion).

I have gotten so wrapped around the question that I even question why I pet the dog. Is that for ME? Is that for HIM? Mostly it is for both, but on occasion it is ALL ABOUT ME and he could give a shit.

My daughter and I volunteered to assist a disabled man who lives nearby with some basic stuff around his house. I have talked to him about this. I realized that I decided to do that as much for me and what I get out of it as for him. Maybe I get more out of it than he does. I don't know. He and I have decided it is fine, and we won't worry about it either way on any given day. He says I am the blessing in his life - it might be the other way around though.

I've always thought of myself as a pretty unselfish, giving sort of person but I wonder.
How much of what I do in that name is really about feeding MY sense of self.
Most of what I do is done without condition, or so I think. Maybe more of it is about what I want and need afterall and not so much about others.

I do believe I think way too much some days.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My daughter

I just read this on her myspace and was a bit saddened. She said...

' I still feel inferior to pretty girls. Since my parents split up I have become pretty independent and self-reliant. There are some people I'd kill for, less that I'd die for. You know who you are. "

I responded to her in writing. That was my first reaction. This was my her myspace thing.

"You are quite independent, in some ways. And self-reliant in some as well. Not enough though. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and taking out trash do help and count.

You ARE one of the pretty girls. I never was. I know how that feels. But YOU truley are pretty. Ask Mike, ask Stedman. As Becca, she is pretty, and honest. You are not a cheerleader, you are not all fancy pants, priss pot, look at me.
And there are lots of lovely girls in your school. I think Kamika is stunningly beautiful, for example.

But so are you.
You are a pretty girl. Ask anyone.

What matters more chicka is this - you are kind, thoughtful, generous, patient, smart, a citizen of your community in all ways.

THAT will get you through life. Being pretty is a bonus.
A bonus that you have.

I love you,

At the moment I finished writing that she walked into the room, searching for printer paper, and I decided to chase her back across the house and make her talk about this a bit. She cannot explain why she feels inferior. So I wrestled with her physically and verbally and threw all the dog toys I could find at her as she shut me out. It is what we do to each other.

Next verbal exchange will be about who she would kill for. That disturbs me as well.
And who she would die for. And I wonder which list I fall into.