Mama Has A Rap Sheet

So…about 3 or 4 months ago, I had to go have a background check for a job that I worked in early June.  I taught at a camp for a friend of mine at her art studio.  I considered this background check to be somewhat of a pain in the ass, but I understood completely why it had to be done, and I just wanted to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.  First, I went to the little police station in Tucker next to the Wal-Mart, thinking that there would be no wait there.  I waited for about 7 minutes while the receptionist finished a personal phone call, for her to tell me that I could not get a background check done at that location, of course.  She handed me a pamphlet that had the address of the location where I needed to go.  Thankfully,  it was not far away, and I knew exactly where it was.  When I got there, I had to go through a metal detector scanner thingy.  Of course, I set it off. I always do.  It was my bracelets this time.  When I got upstairs to the Office of Criminal Records, there was no line, so I walked right up to the window and told the lady what I wanted.  She said it would be $20 cash or money order and she needed to see my I.D.  I handed her a $20 and my driver’s license.  She had me fill out some paperwork and told me to have a seat.  I thought surely I would be in and out of there in 5 minutes.  That did not happen.  I waited and waited.  I started getting worried.  I wondered if there was an outstanding warrant for my arrest that I did not know about.  How could that be? Surely I would know about something like that! Wouldn’t I?  The lady I handed my paperwork to had disappeared.  What if she had gone to get the police? What if I was about to be arrested? I sent a text message to a good friend of mine and let her know where I was-just in case.  At least she could pick up The Baby from school if I was….indisposed…..I knew that Mini Me and The Middle Child had a ride home with my mother in law, so I did not worry about them.  I had broken a sweat and was about to go into a full-on panic attack when the lady came back to her desk.  I looked at the clock for the hundredth time.  It had been about 20 minutes!  She called me up to her desk.  I had to sign some more stuff and she stamped it and handed me this stapled stack of papers and that was it.  Okay. I was done. No police. Thank you GOD.  I made my way back downstairs and to my car, without looking at the paperwork.   I turned on the car and looked at the papers.   On the second page,  about a quarter page down, it read: “This rap sheet was produced…” THIS RAP SHEET?!!  WTF?! I read on.  It WAS a RAP SHEET, and I had RAP! (Record of Arrest and Prosecution, YES, DAMMIT! I HAD to GOOGLE IT!)  Fuckety- fuck me. Seriously?  What the hell?  I had only been arrested once, and that was 21 years ago! I thought that was off my record!  I kept reading.  Oh HELL no, it was not off my record! It was all still there-in black and white-clear as a bell-for me to read.  I had forgotten the date! November 12, 1994.  Driving under the influence. Misdemeanor.  Madison, GA. Narramore, Jennifer Lee.   Tears sprung to my eyes fast.  It all came back just like it happened yesterday.  I turned the car off and sat there and cried for a good 30 minutes.  Tears just rolled down my cheeks and I could not get them to stop.  I knew that this was not going to be a problem for my friend and my job teaching art.  My tears had zero to do with that.  In fact, I have had many jobs in those 21 years, and nobody has every said a word about it.  I was crying for other things.  I was crying for the time.  That time in my life was not a good time. It was a very volatile time for me.  I was dating the only  other significant person in my life besides my husband. The night I got my DUI, he and I had gotten into a fight and I had left in a huff.  It’s okay, those of you who know me now and those of you who knew me then–go ahead and cackle 😉  I’m sure you can see this happening quite easily!  I ran a stop sign at the end of a hill–sort of. Okay, I really ran it and then tried to compensate. It didn’t work.  I went to high school with both of the cops who arrested me.  One did not want to arrest me and the other did.  They called my mother without my permission. I was not pleased.  All the way to the Morgan County Jail, I rode in the backseat but with my elbows propped on the backs of the two front seats, and the three of us chatted.  It was all very friendly.  I was never handcuffed.  I did get the breathalizer when we got to the jail, but there were no mugshots and I don’t think there were even any fingerprints.  They let me write a  personal check for $700 and let me go home with my mother.  I did have to go to court later and had to do community service and DUI School, which I did not complete until the following April. I did not lose my license.  During that period of my life, my boyfriend and I lived together in a very toxic relationship.  We both cared about each other very much, but we were not good for each other, and we both knew it.  There were a series of very dramatic events that ended with us going our separate ways, but I never stopped caring about him, and I like to think that he never stopped caring about me.  I don’t mean that in a romantic sense.  We had a connection that was very important at that time in both of our lives.  We both moved on.    And let me tell you (again, if you’ve read another of my posts) about how I met my husband…we sat beside each other at DUI School…..BWAHAHAHA 😉 Seriously-we did. The Hokey Jackson Driver Improvement School in Athens, GA.  It was love at first sight.  We had to go to DUI School for 2 days. I was so hoping that he would ask for my number before we left the second day.  He did.  Then, he did not call me for a week.  I had basically written him off by then.  I went out with him, though, and the rest is history.

I was sitting in the car, tears streaming down my face, recalling all of that in my head.  And, thinking about the fact that my former boyfriend had taken his own life a mere 8 months earlier.  My husband went to his funeral with me.  That, my friends, is a testament to 20 years of marriage.  I looked down at my RAP SHEET, and I hugged that thing close to me.  I looked up on my phone about how to remove things from your record.  It can be done-and it’s cheap. But I am not going to do it.  That dumb ol’ DUI is connected to things that are important to me.  I kind of like it being there.  It’s a reminder of my past and my present.  I did not get sober when I got that DUI, but somehow, that thing is also connected to my almost 14 years of sobriety (August 7).   “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it”….. Seeing this DUI in black and white for the first time in 21 years had a very jarring effect on me.  I have no regrets.  Well, that’s not exactly true. I have plenty of regrets! Don’t we all? My regrets are things like:  I should have gone to New York and waited in line for 7 days to see Hamilton ….or I should not have eaten that 3rd cookie last night!…not big regrets about my past.   I gave those up a long time ago.  I do not wish to shut the door on anything.  I put my mini van in reverse and backed slowly out of my parking spot.   I wiped my tears away and as I drove out of the parking lot, my shoulders straightened back up.  I know I should not even go here, but I’m gonna.  I thought about myself and my life and where I’ve been and what I’ve seen and where I might go next. I thought about my tattoos and the Lilly Pulitzer pants I had on (that I got for Christmas), and how I am a walking contradiction, and I laughed out loud.  I thought about all of that shit and my Rap Sheet.  And I thought and I thought. And I looked at it like this:  ALL OF THAT SHIT  +  RAP SHEET =  BADASS ……So….everybody’s gonna just have to live with it.  Mama has a rap sheet. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

The Middle Child, Mothah, Phyllis, Daddy, Toni, and I Take Manhattan ;)

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It was quite a thrill to see and hear my own child, The Middle Child,  sing on stage, on the stage,  at Carnegie Hall. The Carnegie Hall. The one in New York City.  Who actually gets to do that? It’s something most people don’t even dare to dream of doing–simply because it seems so ridiculously unattainable.  The Middle Child just completed her sixth year as a member of The Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde.  Two years ago, she competed in the World Choir Games in Latvia, which was a huge accomplishment and honor.  This year, her group was asked to sing with several other choirs, at Carnegie Hall.

The Middle Child flew up with her group on Thursday, June 9.  I flew up alone on Saturday, June 11.  Mothah followed and hour behind me and I waited for her at LaGuardia.  At the last minute, I upgraded my seat for $29.  I was in the row right behind first class.  I was in the middle seat.  The guy to the right of me was about 6ft 5 and probably weighed 350.  He was a big guy. I am not making fun of him in any way.  He was just a big guy, and he could not help but be half way in my seat when other people walked down the aisle to their seats.  I felt badly for him.  It has got to suck for him to have to travel.  He was trying his best to stay out of my space.  I finally tapped him on the arm and told him that he was not bothering me at all and to lean back and get comfortable.  The guy to the left of me was playing music on his headphones.  There were no screens in front of us. Dammit.  What the hell was this $29 upgrade for, exactly?  The flight got started and we flew to New York, without a hitch.  When we got to NYC airspace; however, that was a different story!  The captain came on the loudspeaker and told us that LaGuardia was down one runway today.  Now, if you know anything at all about LaGuardia or any NYC airports, to be down one runway makes landing a bitch.  You get to circle and circle and circle.  We did.  When we finally did land, there was no gate for us.  When there finally was a gate, the bridge attendants managed to break the bridge as they brought it out to meet the plane, so we could not exit.  We had already gotten up and gotten our carry on luggage out of the overhead carriers when the captain came back on the loudspeaker and told us that we needed to sit back down and get comfortable.  About 25 minutes went by.  Finally, the captain came back on and told us that there were no other gates to move us to, so they had determined that the best thing to do was to let us off the plane via air stairs.  This meant that the back of the plane would exit first.  So much for my damn $29 upgrade.  I was actually expecting a stair car–that my children have seen pictures of, and also in Arrested Development, but air stairs are actually stairs that pull out from the bottom of the back of the plane.  I took a picture as I descended.

There was a bus waiting for us right at the bottom of the stairs, to whisk us off of the tarmac and to a terminal.  I automatically assumed that it was the same terminal that Mothah would be arriving at soon, so I exited the terminal and went to baggage claim, since Mothah had checked her bag.  I waited and waited.  It finally dawned on me that Mothah might not, (probably wasn’t), be arriving at that terminal.  In fact, she certainly was not.  I texted her to let me know when she was on the ground to let me know what terminal she was in.  Thank God, it was just the next terminal over.  I told her to stay there and I would come to her.  She had already gotten her bag by the time I found her.  We got a bus to our hotel, The Roosevelt, (never again, but thank you anyway, and it took us about 45 minutes to get there.  We were still waiting on our friend Phyllis to arrive.  She had flown stand-by on a buddy pass.  She ended up having to fly to White Plains, NY and take a shuttle to NYC.  When she got there, she found out her bag was at LaGuardia, so she had to go get it.  My Daddy and Toni had arrived about an hour after Mothah, and we were all going to dinner together. Yes, we do have that kind of creepy family that the mother and the father and the father’s fiancée and everybody gets along 😉 We like it like that. That is just how we roll. So there.  Anyway. (We had a few fabulous meals as one big ol’happy familia while we were in the City)  Mothah and I set off for the Empire State Building.  What I had not taken into account, I know not why, was that Mothah, having had her knee replaced last October, cannot walk fast or far.  We got to the ESB, and I did not realize it was going to cost forty fucking dollars to ride the elevator up and get off and look at the city.  Seriously? I could think of a lot more stuff I wanted to do with $40! Mothah said we did not have to do it, but I could tell she really wanted to, so I conceded.  I cannot tell you how GLAD I am that I conceded!!! The VIEW! Oh MY GOD! It was unbelievable.  I cannot believe I have never done that before. Best forty fucking dollars I have ever spent. And I think it was actually like $36 or something.

Anyway.  What was even more unbelievable was the ride from hell that Mothah made me take back to the hotel. On a damn RICKSHAW. Yes. A RICKSHAW.  Mothah could not walk back, and we had trouble hailing a cab, but we had no trouble hailing us a damn rip off rickshaw!!! I thought I was going to vomit.  Especially when the guy started driving against traffic after he realized he was going the wrong way.  I just knew we were going to die.

We didn’t. And I did not throw up.  But I did tell Mothah that it would be a cold day in hell before I got on another damn rickshaw with her.   Sunday , on our way to Carnegie Hall, I found the proper head wear for myself: IMG_0540  I was going to buy it and wear it to Carnegie, but I knew that The Middle Child would just die of embarrassment, so I restrained myself, which was really, really hard, seeing as though, I have been looking all my life for this, and it was not millions of dollars.  I may go back and buy if for myself. Don’t be surprised if you see a picture of me wearing it sometime in the future.  Finally, it was time for the performance.  The Treble Concert Choir (TCC) of Atlanta Young Singers of Callanwolde was performing under the direction of famed conductor and composer, Christian Grases.  They would be performing a world premiere piece called Nocturnos y Adivinanzas (Courtesy of the DCINY Premiere Project).  I did not even know ahead of time, that they would be singing in Spanish! And it was not even regular Spanish, but some sort of Island Spanish that The Middle Child knows all the details about and told me, but I was just in such complete awe that I kind of blanked out on all of it.  It was completely and totally amazing.  Our seats were on the third row. (And lest you even begin to wonder, yes, we did all sit together!) I had this feeling of “I am not worthy” just upon entering Carnegie Hall.  That feeling passed, immediately upon seeing The Middle Child walk out onto that enormous stage.  I was worthy! For there was my child, The Middle Child, beaming, standing on that stage, about to sing her heart out.  And that, she did, and her group did, most excellently.  Of course, they received a standing ovation–rightly so.

On Monday, we could finally pick The Middle Child up from her group.  We stayed an extra two days.  We went entered the Hamilton lottery numerous times and lost.  Here is how close we got to Hamilton: IMG_0601

We went to see School of Rock.  GO SEE IT!!!! It ROCKED!!! We think of it as our “Family Movie”.

While I had a fabulous time, as I always do when I am in the City…one thing I do know for sure, finally….I do not want to live there!  I was happy to get home and see some grass. I’m talking about the kind that grows in the yard 😉

Some more random photos:

Steam Shower Torture Chamber

I went to my Daddy and (his fianceé) Toni’s farm on Saturday to spend the night–for Father’s Day.  I was amused as I drove up the driveway, to see my (city-boy, still working everyday, architect, age 71) Daddy in overalls and a long sleeved tee shirt, with a big straw hat on, driving a big, green John Deere tractor out in the field.  I did literally laugh out loud. The house is not quite finished yet, but almost. It is really fabulous.  It has things in it that my simple self has never even seen or thought of before….like a pot filler. Now, this is a fantastic idea! A pot filler! A faucet right over the stovetop! All you have to do is put the pot under it and turn the damn thing on and you can fill the pot up right there without having to move it from the sink to the stove! Whoever invented that thing was a genius, I tell you!  And the laundry sink….OH MY LORD.  It is a wonder.  You fill that thing up a few inches and push a button, and damn if it isn’t a jacuzzi for hand-wash-only clothes! Or, it could be the perfect place to soak your tired feet!  The little things, people, the little luxuries of life. How is that I have gone 45.5  years and not even heard of such fabulousness?  While these two little things were knocking my socks off, like a country-girl-come-to-town, which was so ass-backwards and hilarious, since I am the one from Atlanta and I had traveled from there to a farm in Seneca, SC, there was one more thing….remarkable sans pareil…..The Steam Shower.  It was a majestic pièce de résistance.  They said I must try it.  I wanted to, but I said I would try it on Sunday morning when I got up.  We had a great day and did things that we like to do.  It was very relaxing.  We had been in New York City earlier this week, so this was quite a nice change of scenery!  I forgot to mention that I brought The Baby with me.  When my Daddy cooked some tilapia on the grill for dinner, The Baby deemed it “the best he had ever had in his lifetime–even better than Mom has ever cooked”, and he looked at me and apologized.  I told him that was totally okay, because it was better than any I had ever cooked!  The Baby then took a regular shower in the Steam Shower and said it was truly the “greatest shower he had ever taken in his lifetime”.  It had already crossed my mind that going home was really going to suck.  No bathroom in our house compared to any of the bathrooms at The Farm, and I could never cook tilapia again, which happened to be one of the few things our whole family would eat.  We all went to bed and slept until 9:00am.  After we had been up for a little while and I had some coffee, I asked if it was okay if I took a shower.  They got real excited. “YES! A STEAM SHOWER! YOU WILL LOVE IT!” Toni said.  I followed her back to the bathroom.  She set it all up for me and told me how to work it.  I was having these flashbacks from when I was a little girl.  We had a sauna in our house.  It was all made of redwood.  We would get in it with Daddy and he would pour water over those rocks and make them steam up and it would be hotter than hell in there.  He would get mad if one of us had to run out because it would make cold air come in.  We would run down the hall and out the door and jump in the swimming pool.  I did not really like the sauna then.  I don’t really like being hot, but I would rather be hot than cold.  I was willing to try this steam shower, but I was not overly excited about it.  I got my shampoo and stuff–for after the steam part–and got in.  At first, I thought I was going to choke.  Should I have brought my inhaler in here?  Was this dangerous for people with asthma? Then I told myself not to be ridiculous. It was probably good for people with asthma.  I looked at the thermometer.  The temperature was rising.  It was at 90° and I was instantly sweating all over.  Why do people actually like this? I thought.  By the time it got to 110°, I was thinking, there is no way in hell I can do this.   But then, I thought, I will not be the wuss that has to get out of here before the timer goes off. I won’t do it.  I started doing chair dips from the marble bench-it was the perfect height.  I did 50.  Then I did 50 more. At least I wasn’t just sitting there, doing nothing.  I was making good use of my time! Then, I decided I would go ahead and shave my legs.  So I did that.  I looked at the timer.  I still had 16 minutes. Oh MY GOD.  50 more chair dips.  I touched the wall, thinking it would be cool. Nope. It was hot.  I stood up. Hot. I kneeled down. Hot.  I found out that Van Michael is right–I do actually have curly hair! It kinked up real good in there. I had never seen it or believed it before, but I do now! If I had been able to take my phone in there, I would have taken a picture!  At one point, I thought I was going to have a panic attack, but I talked myself out of it.  I was sitting there, on the bench, looking at those fogged up glass walls, thinking of writing, “As I Lay Dying….” or perhaps writing out my own last will and testament….but I knew that would not go over well 😉  I looked at the clock again.  Finally…down to under 5 minutes.  I had to get some relief.  I put my hand on the bench.  It was a little cool.  I decided that I did not care whose-naked-what had been there before me, I was putting my cheek (the one on my face!) on that damn bench, and by God, I did.  And it helped tremendously.  I turned my head and put the other one on there.  At this point, I was thinking that governments could use this thing to torture secrets out of people.  I know I would have told somebody anything they wanted to know just to get the hell out of that damn thing when the timer went off.  I looked at the clock and I was starting to get a little light headed.  I could have sworn it said .06 seconds, but damn if it wasn’t 16 seconds! When that thing went off, I turned the cold water on full blast and it shot down from the big, round rainfall shower head like manna from heaven.  I had survived.  I almost burst out with the Hallelujah Chorus, but I was afraid I might faint. I stayed beet red for about an hour and a half.  I have to admit, I felt great for the rest of the day.  If there is one thing I have learned, it’s never say never.…..but I will really have to think hard about doing that one again! 😉

The Baby Conquers Lake Lanier

The Baby. The third child.  I have failed him miserably.  I knew this when we went to Disney last fall.  The poor thing knew who Mickey Mouse was, but had not a clue who any of the other Disney characters were! He had never heard of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. I think he had heard of Cinderella, because, well who hasn’t? He didn’t know about Dumbo or Aladdin.  He did know Jack Sparrow, but I don’t really consider him a “Disney Character”.  I’m talking about the cartoon people.  Belle and Beauty and the Beast, and the candelabra, etc.–The Baby had never seen them before. It was rather sad and I felt like a huge maternal failure.  Mini Me and The Middle Child promised to have a Disney Day with him when we got home, and watch all the Disney movies….but they have not.  It was much better when we went to Universal.  At least he knew those characters.  I chalked it up to him having much older siblings, who were on the edge of outgrowing Disney by the time he was even born.  At least that made me feel better.

Our family was invited to go to the lake last weekend.  We did not make a big deal about it to The Baby.  He doesn’t care for new things.  He gets very anxious about stuff like that.  When Saturday got here, we were all getting ready.  He came into my room and had on regular shorts.  I asked him which bathing suit he was going to take and he said he wasn’t planning on getting in that stupid, dumb lake.  Then he hung his head and stomped out of my room.  I called him back in and explained that his dad was very excited about us going to the lake as a family, and that we rarely did things like this because we were always so busy, and that I need him not to complain like that in front of his dad.  He stomped off and I continued getting ready.  I wasn’t thrilled about going to the lake either, to be honest.  I hate lake water, and Lake Lanier gives me the creeps.  The mere thought that it was built on top of a community just totally makes me cringe, but JC very rarely wanted to do this kind of shit, so I was willing to go along, happily, with no intentions of getting in the lake myself.  A few minutes later, The Baby stomped back into my room in a bathing suit, and pouting.  He asked me to help him tie the bathing suit.  I asked him if he wanted to wear his Birdwell Beach Britches that match Mini Me’s and he snarled that he couldn’t find them.  I told him I was sure I could find them and he snarled back NO.  So I tied the one’s he had on and went back to getting ready.  JC was gone to the store and to take The Middle Child to church because she was going tubing on the Chattahoochee with her youth group.  A few minutes later, The Baby stomped back into my room and asked me if I would find his Birdwell’s.  I started looking.  After 15 minutes of searching, I finally asked Mini Me if they were in his room, since they are just like his, but smaller.  Bingo! I had accidentally given The Baby’s Birdwell’s to Mini Me.  Unfortunately, Mini Me had taken The Baby’s Birdwell’s to a pool party, thinking they were his….but he couldn’t get one leg in them….bwahahahaha. Sorry, Mini Me.  The Baby is 8. Mini Me is 17.  The Birdwell’s are deep purple.  We ordered them right after Prince died.    Anyway, back to the damn story…. I got The Baby in his Birdwell’s and we got ready.  JC got back and we packed the car and left 15 minutes late.  Luckily, the people we were meeting called and were also late, so we stopped for Starbucks.  People who know us will be saying, “Imagine that.” Between our house and Starbucks, The Baby found out that we were going to be on a boat.  He was not pleased.  JC and Mini Me got out to go get our coffee.  The Baby and Mini Me’s girlfriend (who I consider my other daughter, as they have been dating a year and a half!) Allison, and I were still in the car.  The Baby told me he was really scared that he was going to get seasick.  “In fact, ” he said, “I am seasick right now, I think”.  “Oh shit”, I thought to myself.  “You will be just fine.  I promise, ” I said to him, “It is not like going on a big cruise ship or anything.” All the while, thinking about the wake when another boat goes by…..I told him he just needed to put it all out of his mind and not worry about it at all and he said “okay”.  When we got back on the road, this  is when I found out how big of a failure I am.  The Baby started asking questions like, Are there sharks in the lake?  Are Nemo and Dorie in the lake? Are stingrays in the lake?  Oh Lord.  When do kids learn the difference between saltwater and freshwater? Mini Me was in the way back of the car, laughing his ass off, saying stuff like, “NO! There are redneck fish in the lake! Fish that you eat like catfish and trout!  There are NO sharks in the lake!”  I was just up in the front shaking my head.  We finally got there.  Much pouting ensued when The Baby found out he had to don a life vest the entire day.  And…I forgot his sunglasses. Mini Me was so kind as to let The Baby wear his sunglasses.   We got out onto the lake and lo and behold, guess what? The Baby liked it.  Imagine that.   We stopped so all the kids could swim.  Guess what? The Baby jumped right in! And he LOVED it!  He would climb back onto the boat and jump off over and over!  He went tubing and LOVED it–did not want to let anyone else have a turn! He also tried wake boarding.  And when we had to go home, he wanted to know when we would get to come back!  We all had fun on Saturday.  And I managed to not get in the lake at all.  I would say it was a complete and total success…..😂

Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence….

It was over just like that.  I did not spontaneously combust, as I had thought I might.  I did not collapse in a sobbing heap of tears either.  Mini Me graduated and I actually lived to tell about it!  Also, I did not embarrass the hell out of him by crying the loudest.  It’s okay.  I’m still a little shocked, myself.  Let me fill you in on the Merry Month of May at Chèz Psychomother….

May 4 was our 20th wedding anniversary.  Just in case you ever wondered,  JC and I met at DUI School.  Yep. That is TRUE. We met at the Hokey Jackson DUI School in Athens, GA.  I figure that when you meet somebody at DUI School, marry them, and stay married to them for twenty years, that is pretty damn close to the definition of “true love”.  When we met and told our parents about each other, both sets of parents just shook their heads and said, “why can’t you just meet somebody nice at church?”….Anyway.  Seeing as though we had racked up 55,000 Aveda Pure Privilege Points, with JC using quite a bit of “Be Curly” and the rest of us using a bunch of other Aveda shit, we qualified for 3 free nights at the Aveda Sugar Ridge Resort in Antigua.  All we had to pay for was our air fare.  Since 20 years was a big anniversary, we decided we needed to celebrate big.  We bought an extra night at the resort and booked our flights.  We were gone May 4-8, and it was a fabulous beginning to the busiest month of our year.  Our room even had a plunge pool in it!  I had never seen water so blue.  I did not want to come home.  I am not joking. I was trying to figure out how I could just stay and send JC back.  Alas, on Mother’s Day, I did get on the plane to come back.  I figured it would scar my children for life if I just never came home.  The fact that our return date happened to be Mother’s Day would have just made it worse, so I figured I’d better go on back. Dammit.  When we got home, the days ahead were nothing but complete and utter chaos–a  lot of it my own making.  I decided to make burlap pillows for Mini Me’s teachers.

  I did not limit it to his teachers this year, but I allowed him to give one to each and every teacher who had ever meant something to him in the 5 years that he had been at Dekalb School of the Arts.  This meant that I made about 25 pillows.  Each pillow had a saying painted on the front.  I made piping.  They all had zippers-all except one because I ran out of zippers at the very end.  I also made tassels.  The pillows were not small, either.  I think the smallest one was maybe 5 x 8? I think I bought 28 bags of stuffing.  The whole house was breathing burlap fibers.  Every time I would think I was finished, Mini Me would think of someone else who needed a pillow.   JC decided to talk to me about my “project”.  He started out by saying he “wanted to help me out….next year” and went on about how “I do this every year”….he thought this “little talk” would be helpful.  It was not, as you might imagine.  I tried to be nice and listen.  In the end, I’m sure it will not surprise you to hear that I ended up telling him to fuck right on off.   I do not do this every year. YES, have done it before.  Last year I did not do it. Last year was very easy.  He only remembers the years that I make it hard on myself.  I did get it all done. Imagine that.  I always do.  Imagine that. Moving on….. The Seniors got out of school the Tuesday before the Monday of graduation. This proved to be somewhat of a pain in the ass.  This meant that my Senior wanted my car and wanted to do whatever he wanted 24/7.  I was not ready for that yet.  I think he should have had to go to school until Graduation, but I had no say so in it.  I could not work on his scrap book because I was still sewing the damn pillows and he was at home!  (The Middle Child goes to the same school, so she was delivering pillows as I finished them) The weekend right before Graduation, I started to come a little unglued. Okay. A lot unglued.  I was a little weepy.  Okay, I was a lot weepy.  I thought this was a precursor to what Graduation was going to be like, and frankly, I was getting a little concerned.  Okay, a lot concerned.  I did not want to embarrass Mini Me or my family by being this sobbing, hysterical mess…

On Graduation Day, Mini Me had to go to practice.  This gave me a few hours to vacuum, mop, dust, put shit away, and whip together his surprise scrapbook that I had left to the last possible minute.  Imagine that.  Mothah would be there by lunch.  The rest of my family would be there by 3:30.  Surprisingly, it all got done.  All except that I should have left for Graduation about 2:00 and saved 11 more seats.  Thank GOD for my mother-in-law, who left about an hour earlier than we did! As we pulled into the parking garage, she sent me a text that read, “How many seats do we need? No seats left on lower floor. We are in the balcony.” I immediately sent her a text that said, “We need 10 seats”, thinking that we were going to be spread all over the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts at Emory University.  The next text I got back simply said, “done”.  We got into the building, and it was jam-packed with people.  We made our way upstairs and The Baby announced that he had to go to the bathroom.  I waited on him while everyone else went to find our seats.  When The Baby and I got to our seats, everyone stood up to let us in.  I thanked  my mother-in-law for saving us the seats.  This woman.  I cannot tell you.  She saves my ass on a regular basis.  Sometimes I am glad I married JC simply because I got her in the deal.  About the time I got to my seat, The Middle Child decided she needed to go to the bathroom.  Now please visualize a lot of eye rolling and sighing going on–much of it coming from moi.  I was damn near the end of my rope.  Traffic had been terrible driving to Emory, and of course we had not left in time.  I was a wreck.  The Baby wanted to sit where nobody was sitting in front of him, so he and JC swapped seats just before The Baby was about to lose his shit.  I am telling you,  people, I was on the edge.  About the time that the faculty started to file in and the organ music ramped up, a young man came in and sat down next to my in-law’s, who were actually in the row behind me.   I saw him lean over to his own father and I heard him say, “Dad, when ** comes out, we are gonna yell so loud! We are gonna be the loudest family in here!”  I was a little shocked.   Surely they had more class than that.  He had to be joking….right?  Oh hell no.  He was not joking. Not one little bit.  I tried to put it out of my mind. I teared up a little when Pomp and Circumstance started and we saw Mini Me walk down the aisle and take his seat.  He was #6 in line.  He last name begins with the letter B.  After that, it was really hard to get sentimental and weepy with the catcall’s and the whoop-whoop’s that were going on in both ears.  At first, I thought it would surely lighten up.  It did not.  It proceeded to get worse and worse.  They would even loudly comment on what each speaker was saying! I found out later that Mothah was down at the end of our row making my brother laugh.  Every time the people behind us would get rowdy with their obnoxious cheering, Mothah would lean over to my brother and say, “Oh! I guess they thought that one might not make it!”     At some point, someone pulled out an air horn.  I don’t think it was them,  but it was so loud that I jumped up out of my seat.  I was a little disappointed in the lack of decorum. We were not on a football field!  And…while graduation is a huge milestone to be celebrated, at my house, it is expected.  I couldn’t help but feel like some of these people thought they were cheering for a quadruple major-PhD-summa cum laude….or perhaps an Oscars Lifetime Achievement Award.  With all of that going on behind me, it was really hard to get all sentimental and weepy, which I guess was a good thing. I am also pretty sure I lost partial hearing in my left ear…..


I wonder if I destroyed all of the pictures and his diploma–if we could just pretend this whole graduation thing never happened?  Couldn’t we go back to the way things were?😂 There would be no hard evidence…only circumstantial…..I mean, really, how well does that hold up? 😉

Why were we at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts at Emory University, you may ask? I will be glad to tell you why! Our wonderful little school, Dekalb School of the Arts, recently ranked #3 in the State of Georgia and #102 Nationally by U. S. News and World Report, does not have a facility to house the talent that rages within, much less the talent plus the families….We cannot all fit in the theater or the cafeteria or the gym…..The facility that we currently have is falling in around us.  We are hopeful that with the recent election victory of SPLOST, that this will change, but it has been a long time coming.  These children deserve so much more.  As president of the PTSA this year, I sat in on a focus group of students for the marketing committee.  I heard things like “We make do with what we have” and “We make the best of this situation” more than once come out of these teenagers mouths.  They may have to say that about their homes,  but they should never have to say that about their public schools.  Our county should be ashamed.

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