Friday, January 27, 2012
My daughter is seven years old. I can already tell that she is growing up to be everything I'm not, and that scares the crap out of me. She's funny, adventurous, popular and a risk-taker. Those characteristics are fine unless you are a mother who is fearful, shy, and an extremely anxious hermit. With her bubbly personality and penchant for wanting to be the leader of the pack, my husband and I nervously joke that she will either be the President of the United States of America, or the President of a high-end call girl business. It could go either way. While I've read the many letters floating around the internet from moms to their daughters, I felt compelled to impart some of my forty-something wisdom to my little girl on the more practical aspects of growing into a woman.
So, without being too sappy, these are some of the truths I want my daughter to know:
1. Don't start wearing eyeliner. Trust me on this. Once you start, you can never stop. You'll think you look weird and sleepy without it. If applied correctly, it looks great. If not, you look like Lindsay Lohan on a bender. Your girlfriends are going to start smearing it on around the age of fourteen because they think it makes them look older. It does make them look older...like an older slut. If you must use it, for the sake of all that is good in this world, do NOT use blue or purple.
2. Study your math. I hate math so much, and so does Barbie. You aren't Barbie, though. You are smart and strong, and if you want to be an astronaut or a bridge builder, you're going to have to suck it up and show calculus who's the boss. If you decide that you would rather style hair or teach yoga, that's great, but you still need math, if only for shoe sales.
3. You should never have to work to keep a friend. We ALL know this friend, the one who makes you work to like them. The one who never smiles or has a kind word or offers to drive or tells you how happy they are for you when you score a great job. They sap every ounce of energy, and they'll drink your last Diet Coke. I have two words for "friends" like this: Move on.
4. Stop saying "like" so much. This is an easy one. Notice how many times you say the word "like" on any given day, and then say it about 99% less than that.
5. Don't be the mean girl. The truth about the mean girls is that they only get their way for a short while, usually until graduation. Don't judge people by their clothes or how much money is sitting in their parents' bank account. That geeky wallflower that you kick to the corner in junior high school may be quietly taking notes so that she can anonymously slam you on her blog one day. (Not that I would know anything about that, of course.)
6. Stay away from bad boys. Yes, they're hot. Yes, they make you feel like you're hot, too. I speak from experience when I say that bad boys will break your heart. While they're breaking your heart, they will also convince you to buy their groceries and pay their car insurance (if they have a car). Your best bet is to only have a poster of a bad boy in your bedroom and have a good guy in your heart.
7. Don't take naughty pictures of yourself. This is how it works - if you take a great picture of yourself, it may very well end up on the internet. If you take X-rated pictures of yourself, they will be on the internet before you get your shirt back on and buttoned. When that bad boy-boyfriend (that you shouldn't have) tells you that he will keep it to himself, he is defining "himself" as everyone on his friend list. Don't do it.
8. Don't fall for every fashion fad you see. I did, and now I have a trunk full of school pictures from the 80's that should be burned. Jelly shoes, shoulder pads, stirrup pants, asymmetrical haircuts - you name it and I tried it. Since fashion seems to have a way of repeating itself, please remember this: if someone tries to talk you into wearing rainbow-colored suspenders or a Member's Only Jacket, run!
9. Eat junk while you can. I hate to break this to you, but the "skinny gene" flew off the diving board and completely missed our gene pool. Eat what you want now because around the age of twenty-five, you will become very good friends with skim milk, running shoes, and Special K. Sorry, sweetie.
10. Your brother loves you. You may not be able to tell it now, but it's true. He thinks you're funny and smart, but he would never tell you that. Be good to each other because family matters. Believe me when I say don't EVER let each other drift apart.
One final note...more than anything, Sweet Girl, I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, I hope you dance....just not around a stripper pole.
Friday, January 20, 2012
As I sat in the carpool line at my son’s middle school the other day, I had a startling realization. This country’s tween and teen boys are facing an epidemic that is being largely ignored. I watched as the sea of primarily brown-haired kids poured out of the doors, each looking nearly identical, necks twitching in an almost syncopated rhythm to a beat that we, as adults, can’t seem to hear. I can pick out my son from the crowd thanks to a recessive gene that gave him blond hair, but that doesn’t make this affliction any less damaging. He, too, is a victim. If left unchecked, this syndrome is going to leave a huge chunk of middle-aged men with arthritic necks like no plague in our recorded history. Not even the methodical head bobbing while stoned and listening to Pink Floyd from a couple of generations back can touch it. I’m talking about the dreaded Bieber Hairdo and the stranglehold it has on our boys, causing them to flip back their bangs every thirty seconds or so, resulting in lasting damage, no doubt, to their developing necks and spines. I’m calling for all parents to take a stand, grabbing your
torch and pitchforks hair clippers to end this madness now.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
It seems as though every other person on Earth and their Grandma have a blog these days, and every other person on Earth who actually writes regularly on their blog will proclaim that they are "working on a book". I guess I was different. The only thing that I've been working on is finding a new way to style my hair and to have someone else feed the dogs and clean my house. Sure, I write my stories but actually visualizing, plotting, and sitting my sorry butt down to write a real book? Hello? Who do you think I am, Erma Bombeck? I happen to really love my couch, and we have a solid date every night of the week. To quote a favorite song of mine, "Don't expect too much from me, and you might not be let down."
So, I have left this beautiful book made exclusively for my words to sit on the credenza, mocking me, reminding me that other people have higher hopes and aspirations for me than I have for myself. I touch it only when I dust, telling it to "stop looking at me like there might be a tiny writer inside waiting to get out." (That book is such a bitch sometimes.)
But something has been tugging at my
A few days ago I decided to approach my friend and ask if she would allow me to write a story about them for my blog. She quickly agreed, but I knew in the back of my mind that this was big, too big for one entry. Maybe two? Maybe five? Maybe make it into a saga that would string along for a year? There was so much to say that one brief article could never do it justice. Not one to ever work too hard, I kept turning this idea over in my head. "I can't write a book. I'm too damn lazy. Who am I kidding? I never finish anything." Then another thought kept pushing its way to the surface, replacing all of the others: "You HAVE to write this book. People need to know this story." (There was probably another voice in there telling me to stop watching so much TV and to log off of Facebook, but I'm not sure...)
So, I am...writing a book, that is.
My friend, who couldn't get the idea out of her head either, called me this morning, and we knew we were on to something. This young man and her family have changed the way that I - a Southern child born during the heat of the Civil Rights movement - view race relations in my small hometown.
I'm hoping that once I finish this major feat that may or may be on my bucket list, I will feel like I have earned the right to open this beautiful journal and write. For now, that book is looking at me and whispering, "Come on, girl...you can do it."