Friday, February 29, 2008

The big to-do over chicken tenders

Maybe it will become a weekly thing that I write about annoying people at sports matches.

This week I got in big trouble because my daughter had invited three of her friends to come watch her play and they, !!!GASP!!!, ate too many chicken tenders. At these sporting events, there is plenty of food because the kids go directly from school to the games and we want to make sure that there is something for them to eat since we sometimes end up being out from about 3 PM until 7 or 8 PM. Let me just preface this whole thing by saying that my daughter rarely eats anything that is brought for the teams. She doesn't like eating beforehand because she feels sick when she plays and afterwards she just wants to wait until we get home and eat what I've prepared for dinner. So most times, even though we have paid for the food, she doesn't partake in any of it which means SOMEBODY eats her portion and never once have we had a cow over her not getting her food allotment (the whole thing sounds so ridiculous when I am typing it out, but trust me, food is serious business here at the games--it's almost more important than the game itself which tells you all you need to know about what I am dealing with here).

Well....I signed up to bring sweets this week and I had made cupcakes and cookies and when my daughter's friends showed up I told them to make sure they went up to the food table to get some of the snacks that I made. Unbeknownst to me, the three of them grab plates and fill them with chicken tenders and tator tots and went off to watch my daughter play. So far so good.

After my daughter finishes, the four of them head back to the table and my daughter gets a plate and takes some chicken tenders and two of her friends grab plates and fill their plates with chicken tenders as well. They march off happily munching away. Not a minute later one of the mothers comes up to me and says, "I don't know how you want to deal with this but those chicken tenders are for the players only and the players only get 2 chicken tenders a piece(there was NO sign telling anyone that there was a limit on the chicken tenders so I call bullshit on that one), and your daughter's friends are eating a SECOND plateful of food."

I think I rolled my eyes but I'm not certain because it seemed like a moment deserving a major eye roll. I replied, "Oh sorry, I didn't realize this was their second time up there but what would you like for me to do about it now...I mean, they already have the food and are sitting down and eating." She says, "Oh, nothing, nothing, I hate being a food Nazi but I just wanted you to know that they are taking the food meant for the players."

Oh, spare me! If there's one thing I can't stand it's a perennially tanned, passive aggressive, bleached blond haired food Nazi denying she's a food Nazi. I saw the huge trays of chicken tenders and no way did my daughter's friends take anything away from the players. I then made it a point to tell her that my daughter typically never eats any of the food so I don't really see why the one time she eats and her friends have a few, there's a major to-do over it. She reiterated that she wasn't being a food Nazi but I call bullshit on that as well since if it wasn't bothering her she just would have shut up and not come up to me in the first place.

This is just the type of thing that people like her LOVE to have happen so that she can gossip about how so-and-so's friends hogged all the chicken tenders with all the other food Nazi moms who apparently stand guard over the food like we've got national security on the line. I'm sure emails were flying amongst them as well because this is the petty stuff these people live for.

In the grand scheme of things, I simply will never understand this type of behavior. When she goes to bed at night does she feel good about being so spiteful and silly? Sadly I think she does. She's the type who volunteers not because she wants to but because she needs something to feel superior about and she never lets anyone forget how much time she's putting in, how much work she's done etc.

I really have had it up to my eyeballs with ridiculous people.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Parents behaving badly

The other night I was at a sporting event and witnessed a parent behaving very badly after her child lost. What made me sad was that I am friendly with this woman and she knew that I was clearly within listening distance of her tirade. She knew I was sitting in my car because it was cold and windy outside and she was parked right beside me. She had gone back and forth to her car several times and we had talked. When her child walked to their car after the game to unload some equipment, the mother started in on her child. The negativity and shaming that went on was almost too much to bear. I slouched down in my seat at one point because I didn't want her child to see me and know that I was witnessing the severe tongue lashing. All I can say is OMFG. No one should have to hear such terrible things about themselves, especially a child (teen). I don't know what possessed this woman to say the things she was saying or why she would think that being treated in that manner would help in any way.

It has always been my experience that children respond better to kindness than to anger and negativity. I also believe that we all know when we have not lived up to our potential and that we do not need someone else pointing it out for us. It's like calling a fat person fat as though they have never considered it before. They already know they are fat. They live and breath and anguish over their fatness probably more than any of us can imagine so telling them they are fat isn't helpful in the least. Likewise, when we fail at things, or we lose, we usually know the reasons why. Telling someone they might just as well stop playing a sport because they have an off night seems cruel to me. It sends the message that perfection is expected at all times or else there will be hell to pay. Who can ever live up to that? No one that I know.

Some other things that were said (yelled): That the team was depending on this child for a win and she had let them all down (OMG). That if the child thought the mother was going to waste more money on lessons then the child had another thing coming. That the child was an embarrassment out there. It went on and on.

Sigh. I felt so guilty just sitting there doing nothing to come to the aid of this child but I didn't see how interfering would help since the mother was quite unhinged at that point. She knew I was there and she still verbally bashed her child. It seems a little sick to me that I would have preferred she do it somewhere privately, but that's what I was thinking. I was also thinking that I needed to ask someone to slap me silly should they ever see me treating my own children this way

I think it's bad enough to have your parent berate you in such a manner but to then not care that you are humiliating your child in front of others seems beyond mean to me. It makes me wonder what this woman does behind closed doors if she is so free and easy with the abusive language in public. This woman sits with little index cards at the games and keeps count of mistakes that are made by her child and when her child is done playing, she hands her the card and immediately starts talking about all the mistakes that her child made. Even if she wins, the index cards are all marked up with mistakes that took place on her way to winning! I kid you not. If I happen to be sitting next to her when she does this I always make sure to compliment the good things I have seen because that's all I seem to know what to do. I want her to know that not everyone looks at her and thinks she's a failure. I don't want her to think we are all counting the mistakes she has made so that we can shove them in her face afterwards. I am totally the opposite type of parent. I think the world is cruel enough without also having to deal with parents who make you feel less than everyone else.

I don't know. Sometimes people make me feel so weary. If we could only see how we appear to others when we're making complete buffoons of ourselves perhaps we'd try a little harder to exert a little self control. I think too many parents see their children lose and take the loss on as their own and that's when the real trouble begins. I know this because I have had to fight this feeling myself sometimes. I've had to tell myself that I am not helping my children when I am projecting my insecurities onto them. I am not my child. My child is not me. Losing a game is not the end of the world and I just don't understand why some parents act as though it is. I think negativity begets negativity. I think parents should lift their children up and not tear them down but that's just me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Ok, real quick because I have to watch Survivor....Tammy wrote about bad Valentine's Day presents.

How about this?

A post-it note with a heart drawn in the center that says BE MINE.

That's what I got.

I feel LOVED.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've just about had it with the heat wars in this house. All day long I keep the thermostat either off or on 66 degrees in the winter. If I am alone, this doesn't bother me one bit since I'm generally moving around and so I don't get cold. At night, I like the heat on either 65 or 66 degrees and not one degree higher because I wake up and I am covered in sweat and I hate that. My husband is the biggest baby on the face of the earth. He came down with a "sickness" earlier in the week which means that all he does is whine about how sick he is. I've been putting up with this shit since Saturday---tiptoeing around and getting him drinks and soup and whatnot all the while spraying Lysol around because if I get sick I get exactly 3 hours to GET OVER IT AND FEEL BETTER.

Anyway, just a little bit ago, he asks for a drink and I get him water then he says he wants orange juice so I go and get him a glass of THAT. I leave the room and the next thing I know, we're hearing a string of obscenities because he's somehow dropped the orange juice all over the carpet. I go in to try to help him and do you know what he does? He starts screaming that he's so fucking sick of living in a house that is never warm and that I AM THE REASON HE IS SICK BECAUSE I INSIST ON KEEPING THE HEAT LOW. Yep. Honestly, if you gave him a moment, he'd blame the Iraq war on me as well because apparently I am the reason for anything bad that ever happens ANYWHERE.

After being disrespectful to me, yelling, and blaming me for his illness due to the fact that I keep the thermostat too low, he starts using his nice voice to try to get me to clean up the orange juice on the carpet!!! Not so fast, sick boy. I told him that I was planning on helping him clean it up but since he went into his little unnecessary tirade, that he could clean it up himself. He said he didn't want to breathe in the fumes. Well, either do I, sick boy. I then went to the thermostat and jacked the heat up to 85 and I am currently sweating bullets but if he wants a hot house, he's getting a hot house.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's all about the drama

"Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others. Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back." ~Mignon McLaughlin

Tensions have been high this week between oldest daughter and her father. I'm just going to put it out there that we are a family who cannot seem to have a discussion without it descending into a shouting-fest of some sort. It's disheartening and discouraging to know that nothing of importance can be discussed rationally here. I think I've been living this way for so long that I would spontaneously combust if we started acting like normal people for even 5 seconds.

So the other night I get three quick pings to my phone alerting me that I have some new text messages. It's my oldest daughter letting me know where she is and then she proceeds to leave this gem, "...and please tell Dad to stop calling me because I have nothing to say to him..."

I am, above all things, a very patient person. You can push me and push me and push me but I will remain calm in the presence of all this pushing. I will be giving the benefit of the doubt during the initial pushing and even when I'm up against the wall from the pushing, I will do my best and try to see things from the perspective of the person doing the pushing, knowing full well that they will not afford me the same courtesy unless I scream that no one ever looks at things from my point of view and then, begrudgingly, they might take a peek but not with any seriousness, not with anything that tells me that they value my point of view at all. I may be patient, but I am not stupid.

About six months ago, I read about the "Drama Triangle." Reading that article felt like I was finally seeing in print how my life is being played out. The drama triangle consists of a victim, a persecutor and a rescuer. We tend to rotate through these roles during our lives but I think that mostly, I am a rescuer and certainly, in my role in this family of mine, (husband, wife, 3 children) I am always the rescuer because I get dragged into it by the victim and the persecutor (which probably makes me a victim but for purposes of this post, I will maintain that I am the rescuer).

Here's how things work in my family. Daughter and/or son have problems with father because father is rigid and opinionated and loud and forceful (in a loving way). They start arguing and before I know what has hit me, I get dragged into their battles even when I don't belong there. Son or daughter will give me messages to give to their father and father will do the same thing. I never win in this position, not that I am looking to win anything. All I know is that I never feel anything but bad when I allow myself to be dragged into the triangle. If I side with my husband because I agree with his position, then I am the good wife but the bad mother. If I side with my children because I believe they are in the right, I get told I am being disloyal and I am asked to "just go along" even when my heart is telling me that going along is the wrong thing to do.

I spend a great deal of time being the middle man here. At least once a week this drama triangle plays out. Father will see daughter's messy room and tell me, "You need to sit her down and talk with her about her sloppiness." I'll reply, "Why can't you tell her this?" and he will say, "Because I'll lose my temper and things will get ugly." So the threat is made that a potential storm will erupt if I do not step in and tell our daughter what HE wants to tell her. To spare us all (rescuer that I am), I step in and deliver the message then I get to bear the brunt of our daughter's scorn for being asked to clean up her messy room that I didn't care about in the first place. This is a trivial example but I'm trying to prove a point. I wasn't concerned about her messy room, HE WAS, and yet I had to take his fight on as my own. I end up feeling resentful towards both of them. I crave peace and so I tell myself that my resentment is a small price to pay for that peace, but lately, I am not so sure.

I keep trying to break this dysfunctional cycle but mostly, I fail because disengaging from the drama triangle means that I am left to deal with all those uncomfortable feelings I'd rather just ignore. I have to prepare for everyone being angry with me and I am a people pleaser of the highest order. I have to be prepared to hear things about myself that are probably untrue. but are said to me as a way to get me to join the triangle.

When my daughter text messaged me to relay a message to her father, I had had enough of all their bullshit and so I replied, "I am not your messenger girl. Tell him yourself."

Guess what happened? He called her until she picked up her phone and they talked. Surprisingly, the world did not end.

I need to remember this...that they do not need me to rescue them even when they are begging me to do just that...that I do not need to rescue others to feel that I am important or loved in this family...that refusing to be manipulated by the people I love is letting them know that I deserve better, and more.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


In seventeen years, she has aged seventeen years, while, I, her mother, haven't aged a day (curious, I know!). There hasn't been a day in seventeen years that I have not loved her. She came into my life when I needed her most, and so I think of her as my very own earth angel. She came after I already had a girl and a boy, and after I had learned the very painful lesson that to wish for anything other than perfect health in a child is foolish and reckless and selfish and wrong. My wish came true with her because she was born in perfect health, and the instant I saw her face, for the first time in 5 1/2 years, I felt safe in this world again.

To say that she is amazing is not enough. To say that she changed my life and filled my heart with the most awesome love is saying only part of what she means to me. I have always dreaded the time she would grow away from me but as it draws nearer, I'm less fearful because I'm finding that what I'm focusing on now is watching how she takes on this world because, trust me, you will not forget her. She is going to do great things. I love just watching her

She is
goal driven,
wise beyond her years,

...and then sometimes, there are moments when she forgets that she is carrying the world around on her shoulders...and she heart-attack-laughs with me like a crazy person. I love those times. I carry them with me always.

In all of this world, I loved her first.

I loved her first.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Little white lies are still lies

All my life I have struggled with telling the truth. This is not something I am proud to put into writing. I remember the first time I got caught telling big lies. I was attending a Catholic school, in the fourth grade, and when we got graded tests back, we were to bring them home and have them signed by our parents. I can't remember the subject, (I'm leaning towards it being History) but anyway, I failed a number of tests and I could not bear the thought of having to bring those failing grades home and having to face the disappointment of my parents and so I did the next best thing and forged their signatures.

I don't know what possessed me to do this or think I could get away with it, but I suppose at the time, I thought I was clever enough to outsmart everyone. I got away with the forgery until my report card came home and there was a big fat D glaring out at all of us and my parents wanted to know why they hadn't been informed. It all came out then, the forged signatures (and I remember practicing writing my mother's name so I was pretty calculated in my deception), and my terrible lies. I know my parents were tremendously angry with me for a very long time and I also know that I continued to justify my behavior to myself by saying I did it to spare THEM. I am older now and I know without question that I did it to spare ME.

I would like to say that this little incident was a light bulb moment for me and that I never again told another lie but that would be untrue. I have continued to skirt around issues and tell little white lies when I have felt cornered and when I have felt that it would be to my advantage to omit the truth. I've tried to figure out why it is that I choose to tell lies instead of the truth. I think it has to do with not wanting to deal with people being angry with me. I think I believe in my deepest of hearts that there are some people who do not really want to hear the truth if it's not what they want to hear and so I tell them what I think they want to hear instead of what is real.

My husband hates it when I carry around a lot of cash so he will ask me how much cash I have on me and even though I know I have $100 on me, I will tell him $40 because I know that he won't start in on a lecture. I know that $40 will be an acceptable amount according to his estimations and so that's the number I give him. I tell myself we can both feel good this way--he can feel like I'm not carrying a lot of cash and I get spared the tirade I'm not in the mood to listen to anyway. It's a win-win in my eyes even though I know that at the core of it all I am not being honest. It's not that he would begrudge me spending that money anyway. It's just that he thinks it's stupid to carry cash and I don't happen to feel that way. I could give you a truckload of ways I am dishonest like this. The lies slip out easier than you would imagine.

I try hard not to lie about big things but that's such a subjective statement. Who am I to qualify lies, to measure them out and say which ones are acceptable and which ones are not, which ones are little and which ones are big? There are probably people who are horrified that I lie about the cash I carry while I go around telling myself it's no big deal. I also give myself points for fessing up if I get caught in lies. I'm not afraid to admit that I've lied if I've been caught or if I feel too guilty and rat myself out. At night I ask to be forgiven for those things and I also ask for help in being a better person because I think each day is a new chance for me to start with a clean slate and that makes me feel hopeful about maybe being able to actually achieve that goal some day.