The Santa Photo

The Santa Photo is the single most important of my holiday traditions.  It is the one that I started when Mini Me was a baby, and it has happened every single year, henceforth.   Mini Me has asked for a stopping point, seeing as though he is 17 years old.  My answer was a bit vague….The Baby is only 7.  I am thinking that The Baby must be at least 10, maybe 12, before  The Santa Photo can come to an end, but even thinking about it coming to an end brings me to tears, so I refuse to go there.  Mini Me can just plan on meeting me at Phipps Plaza when he is 30.

Mini Me was born on June 30, 1998, so when Christmas rolled around that year, he was about 6 months old.  In Atlanta, the end-all, be-all; the Alpha and the Omega of all of Santa’s helpers, lives at Phipps Plaza.  Well, you know he doesn’t actually live there, but just go with the story here.  He is, or was, (the original passed away about 10 years ago, but is in half of our photos) the world’s most beautiful Santa.  He not only looks like Santa should look, but he is dressed in beautiful, Christmasy clothing.  He sits on a beautifully tufted love seat, in front of an enormous, gorgeous Christmas tree that is decorated with beautiful ornaments.  All of this is set up right outside of Tiffany & Co. at Phipps Plaza.  Back in 1998, first-time-mother that I was, I had not a clue.  About a lot of things.  But I had no clue that when my mother-in-law and I decided to take Mini Me to get his picture made with Santa at Phipps Plaza, that it was going to be a clusterfuck of such gigantic proportion that I thought I might have a nervous breakdown.  I had not a single clue that it was going to take the entire day and that possibly 1,000,000 other people would be there with us.   I had not a single clue that I would be so smitten with this Santa that I would go on to repeat this insane process year after year.  I was about to be initiated into what became and still is one of my first psychomother obsessions: The Santa Photo.

My mother-in-law and I took Mini Me and his giant diaper bag full of junk, with his navy blue velvet outfit and his giant Peg Perego stroller, that had been the bane of my existence since I took it out of the box, to Phipps Plaza.  It was a weekday morning, so my mother-in-law must have taken the day off of teaching school.  This stroller, the one I picked out prior to Mini Me’s birth, was very difficult to close.  It opened, of course, like a charm.  Closing it, could quite often, not be done.  I had actually thrown the thing across the parking lot at Cumberland Mall, once, after removing Mini Me from it.  It took us 20 minutes to get all of this shit out of my car and assembled, but when we finally got into Phipps Plaza, we found a very, very, very long line.  A long line that was not moving.  My mother-in-law went to inquire.  The answer was not at all what either of us wanted to hear.  We were to stand in this very, very, very long line and wait to get a ticket.  If we managed to even get a ticket–only a certain number of tickets would be handed out–we would come back a couple of hours later to stand in line for a few more hours and wait to see Santa.  Oh My God.  Seriously? We could not even see Santa from the end of this line.  Shit. For that matter, we could not even see the top of the 20 foot Christmas tree from the end of this line.  Okay.  We stood in the damn line and waited.  For about 3 hours.  We did get a ticket, but we were almost the last people who did get one.  We did not want to go home, because really, what was that going to accomplish? We wanted to be as far up in the next line as possible.  Finally, finally, after hours and hours of waiting, it was time to dress Mini Me in his little velvet suit.  I really don’t know how it all went down so smoothly.  It was surely the only time Mini Me has cooperated in his entire life.  At least for that length of time.  My father-in-law and JC came over to Phipps to meet us, just in time to see the blessed event take place.  The world’s most beautiful Santa took Mini Me and held him in one arm and looked down at him.  The photographer took the picture.  It could not have been more perfect.  We got Mini Me back from Santa and made our way to the check out counter.  I could not wait to get my hands on those pictures!  I had not a clue what fresh hell awaited me.  The lady at the counter informed me that I would not be taking the pictures with me right then. I was to pick out the package I wanted,  and then I would have to come back in 5 days and pick them up! Was she fucking kidding me?  I thought I might pass out.  I could hear my heart beating in my ears.  “Is there any way I could pay and put a rush on these?” I asked her.  “No ma’am, ” she said, smiling at me, “they will be ready in 5 days, and you will have pictures you can enjoy for a lifetime.”  Calling me ‘ma’am’ just really pissed me off.  I was 28 years old.  I did not enjoy being called ‘ma’am’.  I had not enjoyed waiting in line for 8 fucking hours with a 6 month old.  I was not enjoying any of this Phipps Santa bullshit.  The mere thought of coming back down there in 5 days made me want to vomit.  I felt my face heating up and I was certain that smoke was starting to billow out of my ears.  I knew my crazy was starting to show and I needed to tuck it back in.  I breathed.  I felt tears spring to my eyes.  “Okay,” I said.  I looked down and wrote the check and handed it to her. “Thank you, ” I said, “See you in 5 days”.  I got a grip and walked away from the counter.  I did not want to make a complete ass out of myself–especially in front of my family.  (Though I have, many times since, I am sure!)  I was new at all of this.  Mini Me was my first baby.  I was so excited about his first pictures with Santa.  I wanted them yesterday.   I was completely deflated, but I guessed I would live.  And I did live.  JC picked the pictures up, 5 days later, as promised, on his way home from work.  They were and are the most beautiful Santa photos I have ever seen.  They are the quintessential Santa photo–in my opinion.  They were definitely worth all of the bullshit it took to get them.  Unfortunately, the next year, photos with Phipps’ Santa were not to be.  Mini Me was sick the day that my mother-in-law took a day off work to accompany us.  We did not know  he was sick until we got down there.  He started running a fever, so waiting in that God forsaken line was completely out of the question.  We took him across the street to Lenox Square, for a less than stellar Santa photo experience, but that is the only  Santa photo, out of 18 years of Santa photos, that has not been made with the famous Phipps Plaza Santa.

My kids get “Christmas Clothes” every year–to wear for The Santa Photo.  When Mini Me and The Middle Child were little,  they might be very matchy matchy and her smocked bishop dress would be the same material as his monogrammed shirt….or they would be color coordinated in some way.  When The Baby came along, I just tried not to have them clash.  I think I did a really good job over the years.  This year, though, it was very difficult to please everyone.  The Middle Child chose a really cute dress, but it is not red, it’s burgundy, which throws my whole color scheme off.  I ended up just saying “fuck it” and bought The Baby a sweater from J. Crew that has a somewhat frightening skiing Yeti on it.  Mini Me would have actually worn one, but much to our dismay, it did not come in his size, so he and I set out on a hunt for the ultimate Christmas sweater for him.  We went back and forth on this, and just could not agree.  Reindeer having a ménage à trois just was not going to happen.  Santa, standing next to Jesus,  wasn’t happening.  Jesus, under the caption “Birthday Boy” was just inappropriate, and Jesus, under the caption, “We Gonna Party Like It’s My Birthday” was just beyond words, and I while there was a part of me that found that one hysterical, I knew Mothah might never recover from seeing her darling grandson wearing that one.   During all of this back and forth texting of Christmas sweater photos, I sent Mini Me a photo of a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation t-shirt that read, “When Santa Squeezes His Fat White Ass Down That Chimney Tonight, He’s Gonna Find The Jolliest Bunch Of Assholes This Side Of The Nuthouse”.  I followed it with “LMAO”.  A little while later, Mini Me and I got into an argument over something else–I can’t even remember what about now.  Then I got a text of a hideous Christmas sweater.  It was from the musician Ryan Adams’ website.  It had Ryan’s name on it, and a horrid looking, evil cat with fangs on it. I am not a cat person, and that is putting it mildly.   Since I do not care for them in person, I especially do not care for them on sweaters or any other articles of clothing.  I could not imagine Mini Me at the Phipps Plaza Santa, in that heinous thing.   I sent Mini Me a text back that said, “Hell to the Naw, Naw, Naw”.  If you aren’t familiar with Bishop Bullwinkle, please go to YouTube and look him up after you finish this post.  I don’t know if it is because Mercury has been in retrograde or what, but Mini Me and I have not been getting along very well as of late.  We stopped texting about the Christmas sweaters that night.  A couple of days later I got a text from Mini Me that said, “I will only wear that Jolly Asshole t-shirt you sent the text of, or that Ryan Adams cat sweater.  You decide.”  I have found, over the years, that it’s easier to pick my battles….


Two Jack’s and a Jen (Conclusion of The Contest)

Two Jack's and a Jen IMG_7389
*Please read “The Contest” prior to reading this story, as this is the conclusion…..

Mini Me and I flew back to Atlanta from Boston on Saturday, August 8, to get ready to leave for Nashville the next day.   We were bouncing off the walls.  Only 20 Vault members won the contest.  Each winner got to bring one guest.  This meant that there would be 40 people, plus The Dead Weather. Oh. My. God.  I kept trying to calm myself down.  On Sunday, the weather was nice in Atlanta, so I got on my giant round float in my pool for a couple of hours before we left for Nashville.  I thought the down time would be good for me.  I could relax and center myself.  Not happening.  I was so excited I could not see straight.  Mini Me and I left Atlanta around 4:30, which was 3:30 Nashville time. We made it in under 4 hours-record time for even a lead foot.  We were staying at the downtown Hilton,  which is not far from Third Man.   We were exhausted.  The traveling from Boston to Atlanta the day before and the driving from Atlanta to Nashville had worn both Mini Me and me out.  We ordered $75 worth of room service for dinner. ( I told you I absolutely loooove room service, dahling.  It’s easy and I don’t ever have to leave the damn room. ) If we were going to party with rock stars, we may as well party like rockstars!  We made our plan to get up early so we could primp and look perfect to meet the one and only Jack White, then we went to bed.

In the morning, Mini Me got ready quickly.  He doesn’t really need to primp.  I changed clothes 5 times.  I finally decided on something hip yet not too old, with Mini Me’s help and a little eye rolling.  My heart was starting to beat faster and I was starting to get nervous.  I am an extremely star-struck person.  I am not sure why that is.  I have always been this way.  I always wanted to be a star, but every time I would go out on stage, I got this same feeling and I would shut down.  I took a breath and decided that a second cup of coffee was not  the answer.  We packed up our stuff and called for the car and headed downstairs.  We would not be coming back to the Hilton after Third Man.  We would be driving back to Atlanta.  We were a little early to Third Man.  They had re-done the store since we were last there, and it was larger and there was more to look at, so we walked around and looked at things we might buy after the listening party.  Somehow, Mini Me and I ended up being first in line to enter the listening party, and our photo was put on Third Man’s official Instagram page.  One of the employee’s came up to me and asked me if I minded if they put our photo on their Instagram page.  I said, “Of course not! Please! It’s not already on there?!”  We were treated like rock stars.  The guys and girls who work for Third Man walked around and made sure that we had everything we needed at all times.  Did we need something to drink? Something to eat? Our wish was their command.  We got a full tour of Third Man Records, which was a lot like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  I have never been in a more fun place in all of my life.  When it was time to listen to The Dead Weather’s new album, Mini Me was first in line to enter Jack White’s famous Blue Room.  This room has a giant elephant head hanging on the wall.  Jack White was on the show “American Pickers” and that is where he found this elephant head.  The Blue Room is where you can occasionally go hear live music at Third Man Records.  I was not with Mini Me when he entered the Blue Room.  I had befriended a girl from Birmingham, Alabama, and her 7 year old son, as well as some other people, and I had been chatting with them.  When Mini Me walked through the door of the Blue Room, Jack White  was standing there to shake his hand! He shook Mini Me’s hand and said “Jack” as to introduce himself.  Well, you know that Mini Me’s name is Jack too.  So Mini Me shook Jack White’s hand and said, “Jack” back to him.  This kind of stunned Jack White and he did not know what to say.  We think he thought Mini Me was being a smart ass.  Since I was not there to interject, “He means his name is also Jack”, nothing else was said and there was just awkward silence.  So….we moved on into the Blue Room and all sat down.  There were bean bag chairs and sofas and other chairs.  They had a bar set up in there.  It was 11:00 in the morning, and nobody was really drinking–like heavily drinking.  So we sat. And we waited.  And oh yeah, they had taken my purse and our phones at the door.  We could take no photos or anything since the album was not going to be released until September–they could not risk anyone having a recording device in the Blue Room.  So we are awkwardly sitting there with no devices to play on.  How weird that is.  Anyway.  I think it may have been Ben Blackwell, Jack White’s cousin and right hand man, who introduced the album and it started playing.  Then Jack White started circulating and talking to people.  The music was really loud.  I looked over at Mini Me and said, “Are we dead?”  He said, “No, Mom, I don’t think so.”  “Okay”, I said.  I smiled at him.  My heart was still racing.  The next thing I knew, Jack White was standing in front of me, handing me a glass of champagne.   As of August 7, 2015, I have been sober for 13 years.  When I first got sober, I made deals with myself.  Ridiculous deals like “I will stay sober until something horrible happens like……” and so far, nothing that horrible has happened.  Another deal happened to be, “I will stay sober until my favorite rock star hands me a drink”….Well….fuckety fuck me.  Here I was. This was never supposed to happen.  Here I was, sitting in a bean bag chair, with Jack White the Beautiful, staring me in the face, handing me a glass of fucking champagne.  I had very little time here, people.  VERY LITTLE TIME.   Like less than 20 seconds.  You have NO idea what things were going through my head.  Yes, I will tell you.  Things like:  He is NOT hitting on me.  This will not end that way.  Yes, he is in my top 5 freebies. Hell, he is 4 out of 5 of my top 5 freebies, but this was not going in that direction! It was 11:00 in the morning.  Shit. I had totally not expected this.  My KID was sitting RIGHT THERE for the LOVE OF GOD. HE WILL BE A TATTLE TALE.  And OH MY GOD NO! I CANNOT DO THIS! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS TO MY FAMILY OR  MYSELF!!! OK.  I really knew the answer from the minute I looked up at Jack White, but, the reality is that all of that really did go through my mind because I am HUMAN.  But WAIT!!!  should I take it and say thank you and set it down beside me and just leave it? Hell no. That was not the answer either! I looked up at Jack White and I screamed “NO THANK YOU” because the damn music was so loud, he could not hear me otherwise.  He gave me an oddball look, but took his champagne and moved on.   I was completely deflated.   I absolutely must find a way to let him know the reason why I could not accept the champagne.  I could not let him think he had a Bible beater in his coveted Blue Room! Don’t get me wrong.  I am a spiritual person, but I would rather Jack White know that I am sober than think I am a Bible beater any day of the week, and I will not apologize for that.   A little while later, I got my chance.  Since Mini Me is a musician, he often looks like one too.  That day, in August, he happened to have on a black leather jacket.  So did Jack White, by the way.  Jack White came and sat down by Mini Me, which put Mini Me between myself and Jack White.  The music got a little quieter and I knew it was now or never.  Jack White had his right arm around Mini Me and was leaning in, talking to him.  I put my left arm on Jack White’s arm and leaned in behind Mini Me’s head.  “I NEED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING” I said as loudly as I needed to.  Jack White leaned in so closely I could have kissed him if I had drank that damn champagne.  Well, if I had drank the whole bottle of it, maybe I would have. (Lucky for everyone involved, I did not)  Anyway. So I said, “I HAVE BEEN SOBER FOR 13 YEARS!” and with that information, Jack White threw his head back and laughed and he looked at me and said, “AND OF COURSE I WOULD BRING YOU A DRINK! I AM SO SORRY! BUT I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! HANG ON JUST A SECOND, ” and with that, he got up and walked over to the bar and brought me back a Coca Cola.  The can said “Sis” on it.  I thanked him and he and Mini Me chatted.  I do not normally drink regular Coke, but you can bet your ass I drank that one.  I also brought that damn can home with me and it sits next to my side of the bed.  Jack was posing for Polaroids and Mini Me and I got one with him.  I then took the opportunity to tell Jack that Mini Me’s name was also Jack.  He started laughing, remembering how Mini Me greeted him at the door of the Blue Room.  He asked me my name.  When we were getting ready for the picture, he said, “Well, we will call this one ‘Two Jack’s and a Jen’ “.  A little while later, I had the chance to talk to the girl I had befriended from Huntsville, Alabama.  I was telling her about the champagne.  She asked me why I gave it back and I told her.  She said, “Wow.  Just Wow. Well, I have 3 months sober.  I saw you give it back and I knew then that if he brought it to me, I could give it back too.”  Then it was my turn to say, “Wow. Just Wow.”  With 13 years of sobriety, I don’t really think about it all that much sometimes.  Especially when I am off doing stuff with my kids.  That entire day had been completely off the chain.  I was so glad that I had been able to give the damn champagne back to Jack White–not just for me and my family–but for that girl and her family.  It just goes to show that my actions do affect others–no matter where I go.  I need to remember that.  Mini Me and I rode back to Atlanta that day on an adrenaline high that got us almost all the way home, then reality set in and we all know that reality bites hard.

The Contest (Part 1 of 2)

In August I entered a contest.  I never win anything, but the minute I hit the “send” button, I knew I had won.  I am somewhat of a sensitive and have recently recovered some of my sensitivities, but this story is not about that.  I am just telling you that I knew I was going to win. I was on my way to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, using Uber, at 6:00am, headed to Boston to retrieve Mini Me from his five week stay at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.  He had been awarded a partial scholarship for their five week summer program.  He had to take so much shit with him that one of us had to go up with him and one of us had to go get him and bring him back, so that we could carry-on his extra shit. Anyway.  I was checking Facebook, and saw that Third Man Records was having a contest.  It was for gold and platinum Vault members only.  I happen to be a Platinum Vault member.  Mainly because you have to be 18 and Mini Me is not.  Also, Mini Me cannot pay the $60 fee that occurs every 3 months.  We do get amazing stuff every 3 months–stuff that cannot be bought in the Third Man storefront, nor can it be ordered.  It is all special stuff.  Let me back up for those of you who may not be familiar with Third Man Records.  It is the record label of legendary musician Jack White, formerly of The White Stripes, presently of The Racounteurs and The Dead Weather and probably some other bands that I can’t think of off the top of my head.  Plus, he produces a lot of other stuff and does a lot of other stuff.  It’s just all too much for me to write about.   Third Man Records is based in Nashville, Tennessee.  So…the contest was this:  The Dead Weather was coming out with a new album.  Third Man was having a listening party on Monday, August 10.  All I had to do was send my name and my email that was connected to my Vault account.  Done and done. Winners would get to bring 1 guest.  My plus 1 would be Mini Me, since he started out as our family’s number 1 Jack White fan.  Now he and I fight over that title. We eat, sleep and breathe Third Man Records at Chèz Psychomother.  Anyway.  I was in like Flynn and I knew it.  Today was August 7.  And I was headed to Boston.  And Mini Me had just missed the entire first week of regular school.  Shitola.  Oh well.  Maybe I hadn’t won.  I would cross that bridge when I got to it.   I got to the airport and flew to Boston.  When the plane landed, I checked my phone.  There was a text from Mini Me.  It had a link to the Third Man contest, and said “Hey Mom, PLEASE enter this contest!”  I answered him back, “Already did that. Just landed. Don’t get your hopes up.”   I got Uber to my hotel, checked in, and ordered a light lunch from room service (because I absolutely loove room service, dahling). I had forgotten about the contest for the moment.  I went to the gym, because I am obsessive like that, and then went back to the room and showered.  Mini Me was still in his last classes at Berklee, so there was no need for me to rush over to him.  I was drying my hair and decided to check my email on my phone to pass some time.  There it was.  “Congratulations Vault Member! You’ve Won!”  Holy shit.  I knew it. I knew it.  My intuitions were on like Donkey Kong.  Oh Lord.  I had not even told JC I had entered this contest, but in my defense, if you will remember, I entered it on my way to the airport, and I had gone to the airport, to Boston, to the gym,  and now I was back in my room, so I had not actually had time to tell anyone. Plus, who would have believed me if I had said, “Hey, I entered this contest and I happen to just know I am going to win it, so we need to go ahead and make all the arrangements?”  I tried to call him. No answer.  I texted him.  He answered.  He was in a meeting.  He thought it was awesome.  He also thought Mini Me and I should drive to Nashville on Sunday and get a hotel room and spend the night, instead of driving up and back to Nashville on Monday…..awesome husband I have. I do love that man. The next thing was to call the principal of Mini Me’s school.  Now, the only thing I had going for me there was that I happen to be president of the PTSA this year.  Mini Me has done himself no favors at school.  I guarantee that if I were not doing anything at the school, this situation would not have gone over well at all.  This is not to say that I got any special favors by being PTSA president, because I certainly did not.  I’m just saying that by volunteering my time, the school knew more about me as a person.  They knew I was not an absentee parent of an obstinate kid.  They know me and maybe they feel sorry for me because I have an obstinate kid… At any rate, I made the call.  The principal laughed and told me that Mini Me was to have no more fabulousness this year!  I assured her that I would try my hardest not to let any more fabulousness happen.  I was so excited at this point that I could hardly contain myself. What I think I failed to tell you is that not only  was this a listening party for The Dead Weather’s new album that was not going to be released until mid-September, but The Dead Weather was actually going to BE there with us!  That meant that Jack White was actually going to be there, in the flesh. I was not going to call Mini Me.  I would tell him in person.  I started rushing to get ready.   I decided that I could walk the three blocks from The Hotel Commonwealth to Berklee faster than calling Uber, so I started hoofing it up Commonwealth to Mass Ave. When I got to Berklee, I walked in and looked around. At first, I thought I probably just blended in. BWAHAHAHA.  Let me rephrase that.  At first, I hoped  I just blended in.  I had not felt so old   in a while.   I stood there with my sunglasses on, inside the main lobby and just looked around at the kids for a minute.  Then I heard Mini Me’s familiar voice say, “Mom!”  I had not seen him in 5 weeks.  I turned and there he was.  He looked a little older and perhaps a little wiser, I must say.  It seemed to me he had grown another 3 inches, making him tower over me even more than he already had.  We hugged.  I stood there and stared at him.  I could not stand the suspense any longer.  “Well,”  I said, “Do you think you could go to Nashville with me on Monday?”  He just looked at me with this look of complete shock on his face.  It was one of the only  times I have ever rendered Mini Me speechless.  “WE WON?” he said.  “NO!” I said, “I WON, and you are my plus one, ” I said, emphasizing that I was the one who won, and that he had nothing to do with it.  “OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS?” he said.  I said that yes, I was serious and I showed him the email.  I told him I had already cleared it with school, etc.  Unfortunately, that took over any excitement that he may have had about my coming to Boston to take him home from his awesome five weeks at Berklee.  I felt kind of bad about that.  He had a really fabulous time at Berklee,  and had made the top ten in the Singer/Songwriter Showcase.  I hated for this contest to overshadow something that had been such an integral part of his education, but life seems to be one experience after another, and we just have to roll with it.  So, we did.

Read the conclusion of this story in  “Two Jack’s and a Jen” Up Next on


movie star EYesterday, The Middle Child auditioned for musical.  I think that sentence should have read: Yesterday, The Middle Child auditioned for the musical.  The spring performance at The Middle Child’s school (and also that of Mini Me) is always a musical, and is simply referred to as musical until they (whoever they are) decide which musical is going to be performed.  Sometimes, auditions for musical begin prior to this decision being made.  Anyway, as I was saying, yesterday, The Middle Child auditioned for musical, and, according to her, she bombed it.  She was not crying when she got home.  She said that her monologue went fine.  “What was the problem, then?” I asked, wondering what the hell could have possibly gone wrong.  “My voice cracked in two major places,” she replied, her face heating up.  My heart sank for her.   I wanted to cry for her.  She had worked so hard on her audition piece with her voice teacher.  She was more than ready.  “You know what? They KNOW you can sing.  You do not need to worry about this.  You gave it your best shot.”  I said.  Of course that did not help.  I knew that nothing I could possibly say was going to help.  She let me think that it helped, because that is who The Middle Child is.  I let her go upstairs.  My mother in law had brought her home for me.  She and I analyzed the situation to death, trying to make ourselves feel better.  It did not work.  My mother in law left.  I went upstairs to check on The Middle Child.  She said she was fine.  I gave her a hug.   I sat down on her bed and put my arm around her.  She never did cry–or at least she never let me see her cry.  This kid.  The things this kid has done! I cannot even begin to compete, myself! And I was the one who wanted to be a movie star! I could not even get more than a C in drama in high school because I was too shy to get up and play charades in front of the class!  Well, there really is more to that story.  There was this girl who unzipped my pants that zipped up the back…they were kind of like harem pants.  They were really cool pants from this store in Athens. So this girl unzipped my pants and when it was my turn to get up and play charades, the whole class got to see that my pants were unzipped in the back.  And everybody laughed.  And I thought I would die.  Wait.  Stop.  Put your tiny violin away.  This story  is not about me.  I let The Middle Child study for her science test.  I happened to be upstairs when I heard Mini Me come in from the gym.  He must have remembered that The Middle Child had auditioned for musical, because he came running up to her room.  I heard him ask her how it went.  I cringed when I heard her tell him she bombed it.  “What do you mean?” he asked her.  I listened as she described what had happened.  Then I heard the most beautiful words I had ever heard come out of Mini Me’s mouth.  “Oh MY GOD! Eliza! Please! They know you can sing! Do NOT let that bother you at all! Let being an eighth grader worry you, but don’t let that worry you!”  It was basically the exact same thing I had said to her earlier, but I knew that she might actually hear it coming from Mini Me.  I wanted to give him a great big hug, but I knew that would not really be welcomed…..Anyway. I was not really supposed to be listening to this conversation in the first place.  I kept minding my own beeswax and Mini Me went back downstairs.  I walked back into The Middle Child’s room.  “Did anyone else have a resumé?” I asked her.  She and I had stayed up the night before, preparing a head shot resumé for her to take to her audition.  “Not that I saw,” she said, “they said it looked very professional.”  Well, at least there was that!  The resumé was not a requirement, but I knew that it would make a statement.  When I began listing her performances and accomplishments, I was shocked.  This Kid.  This 14 year old kid has a resumé that will make some Hollywood professionals look not so professional!  I don’t care if she is in the eighth grade or not.  She has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  So what if her voice cracked? Some days your voice might crack, some days it might not!  This child, My child, The Middle Child,  has the voice of an angel.  Sorry.  It’s not really bragging if it’s the God’s honest truth, and it is.  She has a gift.  It is a gift that I do not have.  It’s a gift that not too many people have.   I think that she is going to go very, very far–regardless of whatever happens with musical.  I can only hope to ride her coat tails for as long as she will let me.

Mini Me is Surely Gonna Be the Death O’ Me ;)


I am writing today with a very heavy heart.  My dear, dear Mini Me is very ill.  He is suffering from a terrible case of what is known is Senioritis, and he has one of the worst cases I have ever seen.  Senioritis causes its victims to not want to do things like their school work, homework, go to school at all, or anything that they are required to do by anyone of any authority whatsoever. It can also cause strange psychotic outbursts for little or no reason at all.  I thought Senioritis struck after the first semester of the senior year, but Mini Me contracted it early.  Actually, Mini Me contracted it in the fourth grade, but it could not be diagnosed as Senioritis at that age.  Anyway, yesterday afternoon, we were all minding our own beeswax.  JC was working at his desk.  I was ironing.  Yes, people. I iron.  I actually enjoy ironing.  I turn on whatever show I am watching and I iron away.   So…I was ironing.  The Middle Child was upstairs, singing, or doing whatever The Middle Child does upstairs in her room. Hell, people, I will get brutally honest here,  she could have been watching triple x rated porn for all I know, but I seriously doubt that.  I will try to remember to go check her history later. I said I would try.   The Baby was playing on his appropriately parental-controlled  iPad in the den.  Norman Bates, um, sorry, I mean Mini Me came stomping upstairs and practically growled and gnashed his teeth at me before snarling out, “IS THE BONFIRE STILL HAPPENING IF IT’S RAINING?”  The youth group at our church was supposed to have a bonfire from 5 to 7.  I was a little startled.  “I have no idea”, I replied as he stomped into the kitchen.  I heard JC tell him to take the initiative and text his youth director and ask her, which Norman, um, sorry, Mini Me did not like.  “NO! I DON’T HAVE HER NUMBER! YOU DO IT! STOP BEING A DICK!”   I was more than startled.  I walked into the kitchen.  “What is your problem?” I asked.  “NOTHING IS MY PROBLEM! DAD IS BEING A DICK!”  “Stop saying that.  He is not, and that is not appropriate language.” I said.  “YES HE IS! AND I DON’T CARE! DICK! ASSHOLE! DICK! ASSHOLE! DICK! SHIT! DAMMIT! ASSHOLE!” Mini Me spat at JC and me.  I just looked at him.  I saw this 5 foot 10 inch little boy standing there, stomping his foot, having a temper tantrum, yelling out these words, trying to get a rise out of us.  It was almost funny.  No, it was funny, but I could not laugh.  So I did not laugh.  I sent his ass to his room.  “Go to your room right now,” I said, “and I don’t care if there is a bonfire–your ass is going nowhere.”  Mini Me stomped off downstairs, yelling, “I DON’T CARE! WHATEVER! DICK! ASSHOLE! SHIT! DAMMIT!”  I looked at JC.  We rolled our eyes at each other.  We heard the door slam downstairs.  “Did we do anything to warrant that?” I asked.  “No.” he said.  JC went back to his work and I went back to the ironing board.  The Middle Child came downstairs.  “What just happened?” she asked me.  “I am still trying to figure that out,” I said.  We did not hear from Mini Me for about an hour.  Then I got a text asking me what was for dinner.  A little while later, I got an apology.  I told him he needed to apologize to his dad.  He said, “I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE TO HIM. HE PROVOKED ME.”  I said, “Well, then don’t apologize to me.  Nobody provoked  you.  You do not speak to us like that.”  He went back into his room and slammed the door.  The next time I saw him, he was not feeling well.   I offered him some Aleve, but which he turned down.  The next time I saw him, was at dinner, and he had calmed down.   I am not sure if he ever apologized to JC or me.  I think that by then, we had both just moved on.  I happen to know that there is another component of Senioritis.  It is the stress of the college applications and the essays and the deadlines…..and the trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life at the ripe old age of 17.  I am trying to deal with this component without winding up on the 11:00 news.  I am trying to be understanding and overlook behavior that I normally otherwise would not.  I. Am. Trying. But Dammit! That Mini Me that I love so very much! Sometimes….sometimes….I swear he is surely gonna be the death o’me!!! 😉  and I know that Mothah thought the very same thing about ME, so I need not wonder where lil’ ole Mini Me got ‘it’ from…..

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