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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Legacy of The Stars

I don’t try to be a “cool mom”.  Well, not like I’ve never tried, but my attempts always lead to pitiful and sad failure, including the time where I tried to teach a room full of 6th grade girls how to do the Electric Slide for almost 20 minutes before I realized a) I don’t remember and b) my son was angrily and jealously steaming in the other room because I had the attention of the girl he liked and had rather much cock blocked him. 

So, yeah.  Cool mom stuff just isn’t me.

I forget, though, that sometimes being a “cool mom” to someone else is just, you know, being there. 

Jen has a friend over.  I’m trying to let them spend as much time together as possible before we move without crossing the, “OMG I’m so sick of her I want to kill her!” stage.  Jen was there last night and her friend is here tonight.  Since TDO was going to be late, I stalled dinner by telling the girls to have some ice cream.  “For dinner?” Jen’s friend M asked in awe.  “Don’t be silly!  It’s just to hold you over until dinner,” I explained matter-of-factly.  I mean, I wasn’t giving them six gallons of ice cream, but I figured a scoop would stave off starvation and yet not spoil the ever-important dinner.  Plus, it saved me from having to cook twice or reheat for TDO.  Frankly, it was a lazy-mom decision, and I own that, but M seemed dully impressed.

Later, after pulling pizzas out of the oven (yes, yes, I know… lazy-mom decision #138 of the night…) M put on her cartoonish eyes of admiration and love and said, “You cooked for us? We always get fast food when I have friends over!”  I snorted derisively and pointed out they were frozen pizzas - it doesn’t count as cooking and was cheaper than fast food.  She wasn’t to be swayed.  Even Jen seemed appreciative of the pizza.  Sebastian?  Not-so-much.  I think last night’s grilled chicken and veggies were more to his tastes.

Fast forward… TDO gets home.  The reason he was late was because of a really terrible fatality.  (You can read more about it here.)  He was not well - I don’t know if it was so much from dealing with the job (though I suspect he’s not as invulnerable as he pretends) but from a really bad sunburn he sustained along with dehydration and heat exhaustion.  I took some time to baby him and care for his sunburn, get him hydrated, and cool him off before returning to the girls. 

They’re typical tween girls - they don’t really get what’s going on with TDO, they’re just “bored” and want to be entertained.  So I came back and we played a few rounds of Scattergories and then Some Apples to Apples.  Even Sebastian joined in the fun.  Jen seemed to have a good time, but M kept lighting up.  She is a funny girl and was cracking jokes almost non stop.  On several occasions, she said, “I should be part of this family!”

There were a few tense moments.  Some silly things about game rules and even more fragile/scary moments like when Jenica pointed out that every one of M’s siblings had different dads and M asked Jen to stop talking about it because it made her mom seem like a slut.  The, “If the shoe fits” look passed over Jen, but she didn’t voice it and we moved forward from there.  It reminded me of the stark differences in our family environments. 

At around 1am, Sebastian asked if we wanted to walk Tilly with him.  I’m sure Tilly didn’t strictly “need” to be walked, but it was still sort of too warm to sleep and everyone was still wound up, so I agreed to walk with them for awhile.  M and Jen chattered about shooting stars and boys while Sebastian and Tilly marched silently ahead of the group and I trailed behind just absorbing.  I don’t often do “sponge mode” but when I do, I do it well.  M and Jen saw a shooting star and Jen encouraged M to make a wish.

Here’s the thing.

M lives in a trailer with her dad.  Her mom and dad were never married and her mom only occasionally sees her.  One of her sisters is severely and violently bipolar.  To say that the family hails from Dysfunction Junction is hardly a stretch.  In spite of this (or maybe because??) M is an honor roll student.  She is an artist and a dreamer.  She’s great at math, even though she claims to hate it.  Life is, after all, a mixed bag.  But in the end, everyone has stuff to wish for, and if I could have put a wish in on M’s behalf, I’d have been able to come up with a pretty long list.  You know what she said?

“I don’t need a wish.  I have everything I need and tonight is perfect.”

I’d have been less shocked if someone had jumped out of the bushes and slapped me in the face.  It was humbling and left me pretty ashamed of my own belly aching.  Not that it’ll stop me, I’m sure, but… still.

On our way back, the topic of the stars came up again.  It went a little something like this:

Sebastian: Where we are moving there aren’t as many stars
Me: There are as many stars here as there, even if you can’t see them. 
(To be fair, I think we will be able to, but there was no point in arguing the point.  When Sebastian’s mind is set, it’s set in stone.) 
M: It seems like the stars are always brighter when I come visit you guys.
Jen: That’s because you only visit at night!  Or maybe just because you notice them more since we’re so boring here and there’s nothing to do.
Me: Only boring people…
Jen & Bastian: WE KNOW, MOM.  Only boring people get bored!
Megan:  I’m not bored.  And I’m glad that there are stars up there for us to see.
Jen: Me too.
Me: Except those stars aren’t up there.  That’s just old light.  Those stars have been long gone.  That’s just their legacy up there.
(I’ve been contemplating legacy a lot, lately.)

The conversation lead to what legacy means.  M said her legacy was humor, although she did tinge it ominously with, “I’ve hurt a lot of people.  I feel really bad about that.”  Jen said her legacy was her weird/uniqueness.  I think we all want to believe we’re unique. 

All in all, it has been a good night and has stirred up a passion in me that I had forgotten. It was good to remember to check the view from a different angle and to look beyond that which is obvious.  It was good to be with my kids and to enjoy the simple things.  It was good to baby and care for my husband, who so rarely lets me do that.  It was good to just be connected with the universe.

“Each star is a mirror reflecting the truth inside you.”
― Aberjhani, Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry

Posted by Liberty on 07/10 at 03:43 AM
Posted under: See-Through

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