I became a praying woman this summer.
"But you are a minister," you say?
Let me rephrase. I became a begging, praying woman this summer.
God, thank you for so many blessings but, babe, these kids gotta go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Preferably a jobs training program, a really intense one. But they gotta go.
Here's the funny thing, at ages 10 and 7 this was one of their best summers ever. They learned how to play together. They weren't whining all the time. They could entertain themselves sometimes. They were funny and happy often.
So what's the problem? I think what got me was the intensity of focus. Those kids spend way too much time staring at me.
"You got something on your lip, Mama." That's a zit, you little twit.
"You sure are white." That's because I don't have adoring grandparents with pool access. And I prefer the term "very light-skinned".
"Your roots are showing." Ok, THAT'S IT! Back to school with you, you little perfectly visioned monster.
It was never ending: You dance funny. Your boobies are ginormous. Your breath smells like raisins and I don't like raisins. Stop falling asleep, I want to tell you something. Rub my back. Scratch my hair. Bake me a cake.
Heh heh. I did bake them cakes. Each odd in its own way. And the little boogers thanked me repeatedly, hugged me, ate every bite, and mourned them when they were gone.
And when they want to tell me something, it is often great. I love the funny little things they tell me about their theories on the origins of humanity. She wants a really big piece of paper to write Earth's family tree on. She says she'll write really really really small. He says she can't because there are several lines of humanity including the crew that came from the mating of the pink-butted with the not-so-hairy primates. Then there are the ones that come from the flat butted and flat forehead mating, and so on.
And I do dance funny, and my roots are showing, and I eat the raisins because no one else will. And we are leaving my breasts out of this.
Dear Divine Force, last night he made sure I ate what I needed when I felt hypoglycemic. She brushed my hair. We held hands to share what we were thankful for at supper at 9:30 PM, in my ex-husband's house because my stove won't boil water. And they were thankful for me. Thank you for them.
Truth is, I cry on the first day of school every year. I didn't this year. My car had to go in the shop. My camera broke. My phone shattered. A very important check was delayed in being deposited in my account. She clogged the toilet. He leaves a mess wherever he goes, and he goes in every room in my house. I took them to school. I took pictures with a borrowed camera. I got everyone in classes with great teachers on time. And I bolted to do 10,000 things on a list that I know I put somewhere safe. No tears.
When I picked them up, they smelled like feet and had trouble staying awake. No tears.
I dropped them off on the second day and she blushed when her teacher told her what a lovely girl she is. And he hugged me extra tight.
"I'm so proud of you, baby" I said to him. As a 5'1" 5th grader he didn't even mind I called him baby and he didn't stop hugging me. I started crying right there in the school hall. Lots of tears.
"I'm proud of you, too," he said. "You didn't cry until the second day!"
Hey, Spirit of the Universe, sorry I can be such a dumbass.