Who knew I was so dang lucky. In my home growing up, being a kid was easy and staying out of trouble was not that hardwhen your mommade it her mission to keep you there. Oh, I got in plenty of trouble, but it took a lot of energy, time and planning. At the time, I wished for nothing more than space, I mean there was really nothing more annoying than a mom in your business when you are busy trying to navigate through middle school clicks and high school trouble. I had a serious dose of middle child syndrome.
I didn't mean to be the trouble child, but trouble did seem to just kinda show up, and so did the Mothership with my Dad in tow. At the time, I was flabbergasted at her intrusion into my world. What really saved me from myself was there was no Myspace or Facebook, otherwise there would probably be a naked photo of me somewhere in cyber space, circa 1983, posted by me. (I kid...my mom would have had my password and she'd have been the webmaster controlling all content) Also, growing up in the Spooner house, phone calls were only as private as the kitchen phone cord was long and that helped in my moms quest to know all things. That strategic phone placement alone made it very difficult to plan any typeof covert and/orunacceptable activities. My mom was a mom and she took her job very seriously. Her job was to raise good, upstanding kids that would not be the talk of the neighborhood, and I was a time or two much to her dismay. She was always fearless, relentless and nothing would stand between her and her goal: raise Barb without any police involvement. I can't thank my mom enough for not growing weary and not giving up on her quest. I will gladly pass it down to the next generation.
If I only knew what my mom knew. Yes, you get to an age when you actually say it and believe it. My mom had a way of raising kids and handling the trials and tribulations that go along with it, confidently and with ease. She knew when to get involved in our problems, when to butt out because it was really no use, and she knew when to call in reinforcements. (Just maybe there was some word on the street in our tight knit cul-de-sac she could tap into) When your child is upset, you want to fix what is upsetting them. My mom knew the only way out of it sometimes was with a hug and some time alone to figure it out. When your child is fighting with a friend or boyfriend, the first instinct is to play meditator and offer up suggestions to help work through it. My mom knew that communication skills were built best when kids find their own style and have the opportunity to see if the relationship is really of value. (If I recall, I had a few that really weren't)
A true lessoned learned for me was when Hayley was being bullied by some mean girls. The funny thing about bullies, is the denial by the parents. You will hear such phrases as "Kids will be kids" "Let them work it out" and the like. Parents of bullies are really no parents at all. I mean, really. Your kid is a total creep and you have no idea? Or, do you ignore their creepiness because it's just easier for YOU to get through the day? When Hayley was in elementary and middle school, she was picked on by a pack of bullies. Thugs in Roxy-Wear. My mom would have stayed out of this one, but she raised me to stand up and speak out and that's what I did. One day after school Hayley got into the car and was crying because a girl called her a vicious name. There was no way I was going to take it for another minute. I marched right over to that mini-van, knowing that this was a teachable moment and found the devil child with her mom sitting together in their pathetic-ness. I mentioned oh so sweetly that one of her girls called my daughter a name that was totally unacceptable. True story: The mom looked and me and said matter of fact-ish "...and your point is?" Hello. This was a life changing moment. Clarity. Understanding. It was as though the seas had parted and I found the way. Crappy parent, crappy kid. PERIOD. This mom (and I use that term loosely) could not have cared less about this little ditty. She could not have cared less about the thousands of crappy things this kid did. She was a sucky parent and my mom probably would have smelled it a mile away and not wasted her time. I do recall hearing that the mom and daughter did bond on the kids 18th birthday by getting matching tattoos. Happy my mom and I found better ways to bond, and happier yet that Hayley has grown into a beautiful young woman that made her grandma so proud.
I always say, if it's not fun, or if I can't make it fun, I don't want to play. That goes for just about everything. I really enjoy vacillating between serious and silly seamlessly. Yes, it's a gift. And yes, it can get on people's nerves if they are not accustomed to the way I operate. There was a beautiful picture taken at my mom's funeral of my entire family. Someone commented, "Wow, everyone is smiling." I replied back, "We had a great mom, there is still much to smile about."
Can you imagine the picture if everyone looked somber, sad or looking down? That'd be awkward. Like when I went to Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. You want to capture the moment, but when you're by his grave, do you smile? Look sad? What? Of course my sister and I went somber all the way and it made for a great photo. Like I said, if it makes me laugh, I am all in.
One of the worst times in my sister's life was when she made the best decision of her life to start a new life back in California. Talk about making lemonade out of some fresh lemons. We took the long way home from Annapolis, Maryland in her Volvo. We laughed, we cried and I toilet papered the Clinton Library for my Christmas card. My sister will talk for years about the best mocha I ever had, bought in Little Rock, Arkansas. (I guess I repeated in the car 100 times to an audience of one that it was FABULOUS!!) That one drink made it possible to forge on to Oklahoma City. Most of the tears shed on the trip were from laughing so hard, because that's how you survive any form of death.
I am so blessed with the funniest friends and family on the earth. As my son would say, you can't soar like an eagle if you hang out with chickens, because chickens can't fly. I choose funny eagles....