Thursday, December 10, 2009


In case you are not the mother of a teenager these days, you may not be familiar with the fact that what we used to roll our eyes about is now openly called "ridiculous." Among those things considered "ridiculous" are shoes purchased for one of my daughter's roommates by her well intended mother, Accounting 210, and me wanting her to leave Tuscaloosa before it got dark tonight so she would get home at a somewhat decent hour. I mean, we aren't geriatric, but about 9:00...Big Dave begins fading as fast as a snowman in Alabama in July.

Back in 1990, when I was handed the little bundle of pinkness that grew up to be Jill...I didn't think it ridiculous that she had to eat every three hours and cried if a dog three neighborhoods away barked or the wind blew hard enough to move the holly bushes in our yard. I just figured that it was part of being a baby. A strong willed and temperamental one...granted. (Wow..."temper"-a-"mental" pretty much descibes her at this age...never saw that before. Frankly, that describes BOTH of us...I had to leave her in her baby seat in the closet while I went out to the front yard for a primal scream after a particularly bad marathon of screaming for no reason except the moon was in Venus and the temperature was 47 degrees or something equally random.)

I didn't dismiss the fact that she had an insistence on "ME do it" starting at age one that meant that everything was subject to taking five times longer than necessary or meant impending disaster. The disaster defined as painting her own toenails without regard to the fact that the the bottle was turned on its side...all over my buff colored carpet. Ah yes. "ME do it" indeed... But was it ridiculous? was a little independent spirit with an early affinity for pink nail polish.

At age 2 1/2, I dressed Jill for "picture day" at the daycare. I decked her out in a cute little white top with pink and purple accents and ponytails with one pink and one purple bow on each side. As I was dropping her off...I reminded her that it was a big day. Yay! Her response? "I not have my pitch-her made today." I should have known then. Three weeks later, I received the coveted pictures and could not have been more surprised. Now dubbed "Portrait of a 2 Year Old" and shown to everyone who will look at it (including having it in the senior video at school) shows my little precious scowling at the camera. David kept the 5 x 7 in his office for years. Ridiculous? Nope. A nearly three year old poster child for James Dobson's megaseller "The Strong Willed Child."

So, why is it that after surviving fashions that made me cringe and a couple of boyfriends that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck...why have I suddenly become ridiculous? I guess I'm just at that odd crossroads just before "bless her heart" that will make me endearing once again.

She is almost home as I write this. The almost 20 year old little girl that stayed in Tuscaloosa long enough to pick up something that one of her roommates should have filled out days ago and for a young man to finish working out so he could load her television into her car. Personally, I think that she could have loaded that TV herself...but...oh well.

I suppose that being ridiculous means that I have finally flipped the page to being an adult...much like having to check the box that reads 46+ instead of the more desirable 34-45 box I had to abandon last March...dang it. I don't really mind getting long as I know that one day I will quit being ridiculous in the eyes of my children. Oh, I see glimpses of it now and again...but then I go and do something boneheaded like call them five times in a four hour period...and I go back three squares and end up falling down a chute instead of climbing a ladder.

Oh well. I knew that motherhood was not for sissies. I guess I just hoped I'd be the Barbara Bush or that woman who keeps having kids and is up to 17 or something...and the names all start with the letter "J". Alas, no. How does that woman keep up with all of those names anyway? I grew up as "Jean Harry Pitta" when my grandmother wanted me. I knew who she meant. Imagine having to go through enough names to fill out a football roster.

I'm breathing deeply and hoping that this will be a good holiday for the both of us. It would certainly be ridiculous if it weren't. After all...I've invested HOURS in putting up decorations to set the mood...which...if you truly know me...would seem completely ridiculous. :)

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