Monday, May 10, 2010

Mothering

Blue: "I'm confused about how I feel about our country."
Me: join the club! "How is that?"
Blue:  "Well, it's a really great place now but when I think about how it started, I feel kinda sick."

She's gobbled pioneer fiction which led to Native American fiction and now she's "Really in to Black History."  She and Coyote play "Underground Railroad" through our field... tearfully reuniting with me and telling me how Harriet Tubman helped them and they followed the Drinking Gourd.  A friend sympathized, "No wonder she can't find anyone to play with at school, most third graders wouldn't even know what she's talking about!"

Naturally, when the class trotted to the library to find biographies, she chose "From Slave to Abolitionist: William Wells Brown."  It's at her technical reading level, but content-wise, I'm pretty sure a new nine year-old isn't built for reading about that stuff.  By the time she got home, she'd already read the worst of it, and needed to talk it out. 

The next week, she was informed that she has to impersonate this person in a living history exhibit at school.
Me: "oh man.  How are we going to do that?"
Blue: "I've already thought about that and it's actually going to be pretty easy.  I just need to get some black face paint."
Me: "Oh lord, you can't do that."
Blue: "Why not?"
Me:  "White people used to do that and then act really stupid to make fun of black people."
Blue: "I know, but that's in the past and I wouldn't be making fun of them."
Me:  "Just... No.  And that's all."
Blue: "Maybe I could take black construction paper and staple it in to a cone and put that on my head to symbolize black hair."
Me:  "NO!!!"
Blue:  "Maybe I should have picked Helen Keller."
Me:  "I'm not sure that would have been any easier."
Blue: "You know... I feel kind of bad about this, but sometimes it's kind of funny to think of Helen Keller doing things."
Me:  "You're not alone.  We have a proud history in this country of really funny jokes about her that everyone feels really guilty laughing at."
Blue: "You know... I just realized something... Helen Keller couldn't have been racist."
Me:  "Seems like that would have been difficult."
Coyote pipes in: "MAYBE SHE COULD SMELL THE DIFFERENCE!"

Little League, T-ball, Soft-ball, baseball (and don't get them mixed up!) is taking up, literally, two to four hours a day, six days a week.  What the hell?

And they both LOVE it.  When I told my friend, she gasped and cried, "Oh god, you'll have to do this every year!!!"   I know... I know...

It has been fun, however, to watch Blue, who hasn't clicked with anything before, get into ... um... Soft! ball.  She's got the ready-stance.  She's got a strong throw.  And she hits the ball every time.  Unlike soccer, softball allows her just enough time to zone out between plays so that she seems to be able to actually pay attention to the game... when it's actually being played.

Watching Coyote has revealed to me why his teachers love him.  He's got this starry-eyed look on his face (that I recognize from when my sister was a kid) whenever the coach is talking... this pleasant rapture of learning glazes over his eyes.  And he has this dreamy little run.  He gets that run from Huck, who runs like a gazelle, fast and light and rhythmic as a waltz.  When I run, I look like I need painkillers or suicide.  But when Huck runs, it's like an angel dancing with god.  Seriously.  And he'd got a titanium knee.  Coyote, he too looks like a gazelle, a stoned gazelle, but still, he's got that dance in his steps.

My parents visited and four of us did Bloomsday... walking and sauntering, not running.  My dad watched Coyote ride the rides at the carnival as a 12k walk with 50,000 people really isn't part of their skill set.  My mother cleaned my kitchen about 4 times a day...but not in an obnoxious way.  When we were kids, we'd laugh and joke about how our silly mom just LOVES to clean kitchens.  Doesn't she know there's so much more to life than that?  But now, when she offers and I protest and she says, "I don't mind."  I know she means this:  it's got to be done, some one has to do it and I don't mind doing it.  She's not saying, "Golly!  I'd be so happy if someone could just point me towards an eternity of dirty dirshes to warsh!  When I go to heaven, God's gonna give me a golden kitchen with golden plates to warsh all day long.  Yep! an eternity of KP for me. Glad I'm saved!"

It wasn't until four days after she left that I realized I was still waiting for her to clean the kitchen.

No worries, Huck cleaned it for Mother's Day, as well as cleaning the whole house, doing the laundry and taking out the trash! thereby contributing to what was almost the best Mother's Day ever.  Tea and newspaper in bed, a fancy breakfast, a hot soak, wine tasting with friends and dinner with Huck's band which was practicing in our living room.  I'm enjoying my role as mother so much these days, I should really be thanking my kids (and Huck too, I suppose) for the privilege.  Ask me again after summer "vacation".

But at 1am, I startled awake in a panic: I'd failed to call MY mom!!  How could I?!  I'd reminded Huck to call his!  And I remembered to call her, but that was during the morning, while my dad was preaching and my mother was there supporting him in the front row with her cell phone turned off for four hours.  And I remembered a few other times too, mostly when I was talking to other people, burning the artichoke, and dizzy on Mountain Dome Campaign (or it's North American equivalent).   Not to mention, 1 o'clock in the morning. Doh!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

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