Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sherri Baby, Don't Wait to Shed Your Clothes

The other night I was in a pharmacy trying to buy condoms. I walked to the "Family Planning" section and I realized they were in a locked case. Really? I immediately though of donating loads of money to CVS Pharmacy as a stolen condom fund just so the kids who were stealing them could actually get some damn condoms. There is no better way to make sure kids won't use condom than making them ask permission before buying them. Sheesh CVS, have a little compassion. I was truly disturbed at the thought of teenagers and, actually, adults like me, being shamed out of buying condoms because they had to go to the counter and ask. Fortunately, I am not embarrassed by it, so I went to the counter slightly perturbed and said, "I need something from the family planning section." 

"Sherri, please come to aisle 10." The counter person shouted over the loud speaker, and I went to aisle 10 and waited....and waited....and damn it, went in search of Sherri.

I started walking toward the front of the store, scanning each aisle for a CVS employee. I had almost made it to the front register when I saw her, Sherri. Neck bent forward, eyes squinted, a cup of microwavable noodles in her hand. She was reading the nutrition information. "Uh, Sherri? Excuse me," I said, making myself overly familiar, which I tend to do when I'm completely annoyed. She looked up at me, her maroon hair perfectly styled in that no muss-no fuss style, eyes opened expectantly, laugh lines obviously well earned. "I need to buy some condoms."  Sherri giggled, which is cute on a forty something woman. She then replied in a JJ from Goodtimes imitation and said, "Well, aaaallllright." She pulled her keys out of her purple and black checked button down shirt and began walking back to aisle 10. 

Once we reached the family planning case Sherri put her key in the lock, turned it and then paused. She sighed and in this sultry southern twang said, "I remember those days...." . I laughed and said, "Yep, it's pretty nice. First kisses, and the rest." 

Noodles = No Sex
"Pretty soon," she looked wistful, "I'm gonna be in that space again." I leaned forward and picked my pack of prophylactics, smiling at this shared confidence. I stood up and Sherri and I headed to the front of the store together to ring those puppies up. While we walked I was waiting for a deep confession of dissolving marriage, kids who needed her, aging parent she had to nurse 24 hours a day, some explanation of why she was not currently unlocking the condom cabinet for herself, but what this beautiful Southern woman said was, "Yep, as soon as I stop eating those damn noodles......"

WHAT?  Yep, she said noodles, and then she patted her round tummy. I was horrified. Unlike a relationship that can end, children that grow older and don't need you around so much anymore, a sick parent that will eventually pass, self-loathing can only change if you want to change it, and Sherri thought the noodles were the problem which is so the wrong place to start.

I laughed and said, "Oh girl, nobody cares about that." But what I wanted to do was grab her by her shoulders and shake her. Take her down aisle 6 where the mirrors were and say, "Can you see yourself? You are hot! You are so damn cute I want to take you home and make you muffins. I want to introduce you to this guy I know who loves curvy ladies. There are men that would eat you up like BBQ and slaw, baby. Don't let society tell you not to get naked! Don't let anyone tell you to wait until you're perfect to enjoy your body." But I didn't because I was running late and because people don't take kindly to strangers grabbing them by the shoulders and telling them they're sexy, (or so I've heard). 

Sherri giggled again as she rung up my condoms. "Have fun tonight," she laughed, and I laughed to. Wishing I had one line of life changing wisdom I could say that would change her beliefs about her self and her body. What my lame reply was, was, "I will. You should have some fun sometime too! It's great." and then I walked out the door with my jiggly ass, round ole' tummy, 5 o'clock shadow on my morning shaved legs, and, yes, a pack of condoms.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Everything Is Brutiful, Especially with The Birds and The Bees

You may be wondering what is going on with the beasts while their Queenpin is doing all this growing. I am still parenting while I'm growing, which is not always pretty, yet some how pretty beautiful. There's another blogger, Momastary, who talks about things being brutiful, both beautiful and brutal. That's our life: brutiful. Part of this growth involves me losing some of my beliefs that have kept me stressed out and too serious with my kids. Some of these changes though, (quitting smoking), have just made my temper shorter, other changes have made the Queenpin not want to get out of bed, (breaking up with Sweet Escape). Amazingly, my kids, my sweet little beasts, keep living through this, and not only living, but finding their way.  Who knew they were such tough motherfuckers?.....I'm learning that they are.

I was with two beautiful friends the other day, Butterfly Mama (she's shedding her cocoon), and Quotable Mama when Quotable Mama dropped some amazing wisdom. “You know,” she said, “sometimes I forget that my kids have their own path. I start thinking I’m in control. I begin to believe that I’m my children’s God, instead of doing my job, which is to be someone who is here to teach them and guide them on their way.” Well, shit. That is what I have been trying to practice lately, but I haven’t been able to put into words. That’s why she’s Quotable and I’m Queenpin. I’m more about brute force, she reminds me to let it go.

Last week I had THE TALK with my son. I have to admit, I was terrified to do it, I was worried about how embarrassed we would both be. How awkward it would feel and how traumatized he would be, yet, it ended up being one of my favorite parenting moments. Maybe it was because when it comes to my kids and their sexuality, I know I am not in control and that knowledge forced me to be a parent in the most spiritual way. I will not be with my son for the moment he decides to hold someone’s hand, or give a first kiss, or go even further, but I want to give good guidance because there are few things as important as learning how to treat yourself and someone else with respect, and how to honor your sexuality. I know from experience that ignorance about sex and relationships can become baggage that is hard to ship off.

My son is 9. He does not admit to being interested in girls, but I see it. He does not ask questions about his body, but it’s changing. He does not show interest in the sneakiness that comes with self-exploration or doctor play, but it’s coming. It would be easier for me to stop a freight train than to stop my boy’s hormone tornado called puberty. 

A few days before THE TALK I prepared the beasts by telling them that Big Beasts was going to have his 9 Year Old Mommy Night and that Little Beasts would be going to her dad's. I said it as if this was an American tradition. Oh, you know, that night that all nine years olds get with their mom. Because of this there were no complaints from Little Beast. 

The night of THE TALK we shipped off Little Beast and I asked Big Beast where he wanted to go to dinner. He could choose any place he liked the neighborhood pizza shop, the ice cream and grilled cheese shop only a few blocks away, a great burger joint (my pick). "I want to go to that place with boccie know...what's it called?...that place," he wrinkled up his sweet freckled nose and looked up at me quizzically. Oh, I did know what he was talking about. It is a neighborhood bar that Savior Single Mama and I took the kids to one night so they could have milk shakes and we could have frozen "adult drinks". There's a great boccie ball court and Savior Single Mama and I played with our kids and laughed our asses off.

So my 9 year old boy and I walked down to a bar for dinner before the sex talk. We ate fried pickles and some other disgustingly good stuff. We played boccie ball and laughed. I tried to teach him how to play pool, which I really suck at. It was a great night.

When we got home, Big Beast walked in the door and said, "I want to play Spit." He went to grab a deck of cards. "Hold on, baby. Actually, I'm getting ready to have the most embarrassing conversation of your life with you, and we will be having these for the rest of your life." My boy looked at me totally confused and waited (he's used to my strangeness). Then I pulled out the books I had to help me. I had three books: Where Did I Come From by Pete Mayle, What's the Big Secret by Laura Krasny Brown and Marc Brown, and The Boys' Body Book by Kelli Dunham. My beast and I sat side by side on the couch and I read Where Did I Come From to him in it's entirety. He sat curled up next to me with his head on my should listening quietly, not asking one question. I stopped mid-way and asked, "Are you freaking out?"
"No," he said, very matter of factly and then we moved on.
I love that the people doing "the deed" in this book resemble Danny Devito and Rita Pearlman

We hugged and gave smooches and then that boy went to bed, and I sat and felt so grateful that I was not God, but just a parent, a teacher, a sometimes wisdom giver. A woman who just got to sit with her boy and talk to him about beautiful things, that will most certainly be brutiful, and hopefully a little less painful because his mama made him have horrifying, embarrassing conversations about girls, love, and hairy balls.