First of all, I’ve been told today (at this point, yesterday) is “National Kiss-A-Ginger” Day. My orange haired cat got a big-ass helping of love earlier. Luckily, the other four don’t really care whether they get extra kisses, they just want the Greenies.
Secondly, I know I talk an awful lot about my kids. If you’re sick of hearing about them, you need not keep reading, because the majority of this blog entry has to do with my younger spawn.
At least, understand that my reasons for writing about them is simply because, well, they teach me things about myself. The little things they do, the things they say, you name it. Their experiences (the ones they tell me about) remind me of my own. They made me who I am and in turn, I am STILL learning how to mold them into exceptional human beings that will have a far better life than I did, especially when it comes to school.
I’ll start off with some news about the son, since there is less about him this week. Yesterday, he took his road test. And…he aced it. Which means he is now a licensed driver.
Have I mentioned how terrified I am about this!? I am sure I have. I do have to admit that I am a step ahead of him, here. He will NOT be borrowing my car to get to and from school until he speaks to someone about getting a parking permit so that he doesn’t get me a ticket for parking in the wrong place. This would be a ticket that he wouldn’t have any money to pay, either. So, I told him that until he gets that permit from the main office, he will not have car privileges. I’d also prefer to wait until spring before I allow him to take my vehicle to school, which is 10 miles away from home, 10 miles of winding, narrow, mountainous roads. Did I mention, ICY? This winter has been wack-a-doo, to say the least and I’m not 100% confident in his driving skills, so I’m going to hope he takes his sweet time in getting the parking permit… He takes his time with everything else, why not this, too!?
So, that’s the son. Moving onto my pre-teen...
My daughter revealed to me earlier this week that one of her friends (one of the two girls who slept over at our house before the holidays) is no longer her friend. They’re ‘in a fight,’ she says. What the hell does that mean, anyway? IN a fight? Like, you're IN a pool, IN a car, IN a circus tent? IN a fight? I know, I've got teenagers but my son wasn't big on that kind of lingo, so I'm assuming she left out the words "the middle of" and she's simply saying she's in the middle of fighting with one of her ex-besties. I’m sure there is drama (my favorite!) and that it will continue up until their graduation in 2020. Then, perhaps spill over into their high school years until they realize they don’t remember what they were fighting about in sixth grade and they’ll kiss and make up. (Or high-five, mind you…if she's anything like me, she wouldn’t dare open up THAT can of worms until at least, college!)
Now, I was 11 years old once, so I know how the majority of 11-year-old girls are. They are rotten, hormonal little shits with a bone to pick about every stinkin’ thing. They’re loud, they’re rude and they ONLY care about themselves or their social status. Every damn thing is a competition. Who has better hair, who has better make-up? Who’s got the cutest boyfriend (oh, horrors!!)? Whose mother is the coolest?
(In my daughter’s case, she, hands-down, has the best mother.)
Or, do these little competitions start in high school?
But either way, my junior high days were nothing short of nightmarish and I often went home crying because of the cruelty of my classmates. I was quiet, I minded my own business, I ate lunch alone, I read books, I wrote in my journals. Whenever I tried to get involved in any group conversations or team sports in phys ed, they’d almost ALWAYS find something to pick on me for. I didn’t follow conversations very well. I didn’t run fast enough. I misunderstood something, and they found it funny. This, sadly, was a regular occurrence because of my poor hearing. And, so, I kept to myself for most of the three years I was there. I had a small handful of friends who were too smart to get sucked into the middle-school bullshit. Unfortunately, though, none of these friends went to the same high school as I; we moved to another city the summer after my 8th grade graduation.
My daughter, though, is JUST like her father. Not in the respect that she’s a difficult person to be around. No…she has far more people and social skills than I ever did. She probably STILL has a better chance of making a friend than I do. She’s popular, ALWAYS face-timing one of her friends. She’s got her phone in her hand CONSTANTLY, with the exception for the one week it took to get her phone repaired when she dropped it and cracked the screen. For this, I’m happy for her - at least she’s having a better go at the whole middle-school thing than I ever did. The wasband, too, was a leader more so than a follower, and no one crossed him. She isn’t a fighter or a bully, but usually, she is surrounded by friends and is known to be a good kid, overall and everyone LOVES being around her.
So, she tells me that she and this girl are ‘in a fight.’ I ask her what happened. Immediately, she clams up. “Nothing,” she says. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Still, I pressed on. And she refused to tell me. This went on for fifteen minutes before she had to go to sleep. I figured they’d be friends again before she even told me what they were fighting about, so I left it alone again.
Now it’s Friday, and they are still at odds.
Finally, I asked her if in any way, shape or form surrounding this ridiculous little fight, she was in the wrong. She nodded her head and admitted that she had indeed done something wrong, but at the same time, so had her friend.
“Well, you know, two wrongs do not equal a right,” I explained to her, “If you were wrong and you know you were in the wrong, then you’re responsible for owning up to whatever it was you did.” She said she understood that, she would when she was ready, and she STILL didn’t want to discuss their quarrel. And, so, I dropped it. Apparently this was something they needed to figure out on their own.
Okay, so this evening at the bowling alley, I had two different experiences that I’ll share with everyone.
The first was with a woman on the opposing team. When I tell you this woman was the biggest whiner I’ve ever met since moving here, I’m NOT kidding. There is a gal on my Monday night league, who loathes J because her high score bested hers. J is the new lady, the outsider…and she single handedly beat this lady's 3-game series and high game one week and since then, has been in the number one slot. I must say I am very proud of my fiancee, she’s turned out to be quite the bowler. Monday Night chick though, is NOT happy and we get a lot of eye-rolling whenever J is on a roll. No pun intended. This lady I’m going to tell you about, though, is far more immature than most five-year-olds I know.
During our 10-minute practice before league play began, the pinsetters were malfunctioning. A first ball would be thrown and if there were any pins left standing, the pinsetter would knock them down instead of picking them up and clearing the excess fallen pins before putting them back down for a spare attempt. This happened several times before we let management know about the problem and we got a late start because their repair person took a few minutes to fix the malfunctioning pinsetter.
Well, it was MOSTLY fixed.
The first problem occurred in game 1. The woman on the other team, let’s call her Whiner, just for the heck of it, throws the ball down the middle. She leaves the five pin standing. My entire team and I saw the pin was still standing when the pinsetter came down and knocked it down, tricking the machine into thinking that Whiner had thrown a strike. An ‘X’ appeared onto Whiner’s score. She was giddy, thinking that we wouldn’t care enough to go and ask for the five pin (the one in the middle) to be put back up since it wasn’t knocked down by her ball in the first place, but by the machine in error. She threw a hissy fit, called my entire team ‘cheaters’ because the machine clearly said that it was a strike, and here we were, saying otherwise. J and the rest of my teammates were sitting there in disbelief while she carried on and on and ON about that terrible injustice done to her. She even went to the front desk and complained to the poor guy who managed the alley. He, too, had to tell her that occasionally, the machines make mistakes and that scores sometimes have to be changed due to those errors. Then he looked at us and shook his head. Apparently this was a crazy he’d gotten used to over the last few weeks.
She huffed and puffed, and then loudly announced that she was going out for a smoke and taking her ‘sweet-ass’ time and ‘didn’t give a shit’ who was waiting for her. Unfortunately for her, by making US wait, she was also holding up her own team. Her husband at one point was telling her to knock it off. Then, she threw a legit strike and nastily hollered in our direction, “should we put the five pin back up again?”
We just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. I wanted to rip off my bowling glove and tell her that we weren’t going to have that bullshit, weren’t going to stand for being called cheaters. We were honest, we all saw that pin still standing. It wasn’t our fault that she’d turned around and was walking back before the pinsetters came down and she hadn’t seen the machine break. Was this woman serious!? I mean, this woman was in her fifties, maybe early sixties. She was acting like a damned child and making a fool of herself at the same time. We were there to bowl and have a good time, and here was this psychopath running her mouth and saying we were cheating, even when the broken pinsetter continued to break down numerous times after that whole episode. To say I wanted to punch her in the face is an understatement, but I don’t think I’d last very long in prison, so I kept my glove on, my hands to myself and my mouth shut.
I can’t...I just can’t with this lady, though.
The second experience involved my daughter. She accompanies J and I on Friday nights to our bowling league. The bowling alley has a nice little arcade and she usually meets up with some friends from school, tonight being no different. First, a different friend was there and hung out with her until the end of the evening rolls around and the friend she’s currently ‘in a fight’ with, shows up. The first friend who had been hanging out with my daughter, subsequently drops her like a hot potato and goes to hang out with the little shit she’s bickering with. The lanes we were assigned tonight were literally right next to the arcade, so I had a view of her the entire time.
At one point, she was sitting by herself next to the air-hockey table. The friend she’d been hanging out with for the last hour and change, was now standing on the opposite side of the arcade, with the ‘frenemy.’ They were chatting about likely everything and nothing, and my daughter looked bummed out in general.
Deja-vu hit me then. I flashed back to when that was ME, standing alone, because kids were too cruel to consider how I might feel. Then there were the other two, kinda rubbing it in her face, eating ice cream and not speaking to her or including her in their conversations. My heart broke a little bit. (Okay, a lot.) I wanted to smack some sense into the kid she’d been hanging with before the other one’s arrival; that was flat-leaving and I wasn’t cool with it. It’d happened to me too many times when I was a kid…they’d hang out with me only if there was no one better, but when their real friends arrived, I was a thing of the past.
That shit hurts. BIG time. I could tell that my daughter wasn’t enjoying her alone time, but she was trying. She was playing with her iPad and doing a pretty good job of ignoring the other two. And the other two were giggling and having a great time.
Oh, hell no. My maternal instincts were SCREAMING. WHY am I not doing something? Why am I not getting involved? Why do I not have my daughter’s back, here? How do I even do so?
But at the risk of further mortifying my daughter and wrecking her social status and jeopardizing my cool mom status, I did nothing, even though in an alternate reality, I would have LOVED to travel back in time and have my 11-year-old self punch them in the face, too, because this was all too familiar to me. We were almost finished when I noticed she was alone, so it would not have made any sense to say anything, as much as I wanted to. Once our balls were packed and our jackets were on, I called her and let her know we were leaving.
She came out of the arcade with a grin on her face. In the car on the way home, she told J and I that she HAD made an attempt to apologize for her part in the ‘fight.’ She said she verbally apologized and when she was ignored, she sent a long text to the other girl, and in turn, her nemesis ‘blocked’ her phone number. Then she referred to the ‘first’ friend as a “fake” friend, for having left her high and dry upon the arrival of the other kid. I told her that I had noticed that too, and that it was NOT cool in any way. She should never do that to another person. It’s just a damn shame that she’d experienced it first-hand, but I guess it’s all a part of growing up. Is THAT where the term ‘growing pains’ comes from? Wouldn’t surprise me.
I told her I was sorry to hear that her friends (and I was referring to both girls at this point) were ‘fake,’ stuck up and rude, but was proud of her for owning up to her contribution to the whole situation. I then told her that the ball was now in her ex-friend’s court and that it was now up to her to make the next move. My daughter claims she doesn’t care and that she isn’t bothered by any of it, but I know better.
See, she is big-hearted and sensitive. Yes, she is a headstrong and pigheaded pain in the ass at times but she is also someone I have raised to always, ALWAYS think back on her actions and if she’s wrong, she’s responsible for admitting to it and then freeing her own conscience. She needs to ask herself if she did the best she could to rectify a situation. What she does with that information is entirely up to her and I’ve always told her that she can confide in me about anything, whether she is right or wrong. In this particular case, she didn’t want to talk about what she’d done, but judging by the behavior I’d seen the two girls display, I sincerely don’t care if they’re ever friends again. If they are, great, because I DO think that a small part of her cares more than she’d like to admit. If not….oh, well. Still, it's a loss she'll feel more than I, and that's not something I want her to experience, so young in life and over something undoubtedly petty and silly.
I have to admit, she eventually made me think about the Whiner as well as this 11-year-old brat my daughter once considered to be a friend. I think it’s amazing how she and I both had to handle ourselves in two unrelated situations this evening and ultimately, we both learned something new tonight. I'm not sure how to put into words what I learned, other than some people never grow up and it's better to allow them to make an ass out of themselves than to put myself in a bad situation by losing my own shit. She, though, learned an important lesson.
She understands that we're simply not responsible for how other people act. We're accountable only for our own behavior and how we handle any form of conflict. Punching other people in the face, although tempting, is never the answer, as that's likely to land us in jail facing assault charges. As we go through life, we're going to be repeatedly upset or offended by the words and actions of others. Learning how to handle such situations is important, for the people we keep around us in the long run end up being the people who are also well-learned in the same form of mature conflict resolution.
I guess it takes some people longer than others, though. I'm truly proud of my kid, though; she's certainly better at it than I was at her age. My mother NEVER talked about these things with me, so I was ill-equipped to deal with any form of confrontation and as a result, a very weak child. So, mission accomplished, on that. ;)
I am now going to extend the "National-Kiss-A-Ginger" Day and give my boy some more love before I hit the hay. That is, if I can find him.
Til next time.