Irreverent Mama

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thought for the day:

Having a Teenager is just Karma biting your ass.

Thank you.


Monday, May 29, 2006

My son, who is seventeen, is going through a crisis. Yes, I'm quite aware that to a teen, much of their adolescence is one crisis after another, self-aggrandizing and lacking the big picture as they are.

This, however, is a genuine crisis. My boy messed around (by which, I gather, he did some necking and mid-range petting) with not-his-girlfriend. "How did your girlfriend find out?" I asked. He looks at me in some surprise. "I told her, of course." He looked at me in greater surprise when I winced and said, "Why did you do that?"

Let me back up a bit here. His father, to whom I am no longer married for many more reasons than mere infidelity, messed around on me with several different women. Each and every time, he confessed. Thus, I have some experience being the recipient of such news, and I will tell you, it makes the tellor feel a whole lot better than it does the tellee.

I tried to convey to Daniel(my son) that honesty has gray areas, spoke of the balance beween honesty and kindness. I asked him if he wanted to get together with this other girl again - "absolutely not". I asked if he regretted it instantly - "yes". In that situation, I just don't see what is gained by knee-jerk honesty. If he wanted to keep seeing the other girl, adn/or if he'd messed around more than the once, then yes, the girlfriend deserves the truth. But a one-off? Once, and never again, with anyone? I absolutely cannot see what is gained by such honesty.

In fact, this kind of "honesty" often masks a greater dishonesty, I think, because the confessor doesn't tend to understand their motivations. They grasp at the moral high ground: "At least I'm being honest." As if for some reason the other party should be less hurt, less angry. As if they should somehow be grateful for the hurt, on top of the injury.

Confession is good for the soul, they say. Perhaps it is, for the confessor's soul. I say, if you want to confess a one-time fling, do it to a friend, do it to a priest, do it to your mother, I don't care, but don't tell the injured party - and then expect her to comfort YOU! To forgive you, because you're so fucking honest. Puh-leeze.

Anyway. I didn't give my boy all this emotional heaviness. Only a calm pointing out that simplistic spill-the-facts honesty isn't always so clearly the best or right thing in these situations. He didn't say much at the time. About a week later, I found myself overhearing him in conversation with a friend. (Not intentionally, but, I confess, once I realised what I'd stumbled into, yes, I wanted to know what he was thinking. It's opportunistic, but not too morally bankrupt.)

Turns out I offended him horribly. I know, I know. Teen morality is very black-and-white, and I was introducing him to an area of gray that is probably beyond his capabilities, particularly his male capabilities. Apparently, he’s entering into a new era of "honesty and openness", despite the advice of his mother, who “favours lies and deceit. My MOTHER for fuck’s sake.” Yes, well.

That’s not what I said, of course, but he’s evidently not ready to hear it. I don’t know whether I’ll bother taking another run at it, because, probably just like last time, that much-vaunted “honesty” he’s supposedly all about won’t extend to telling his mother what he thinks about what she says, or, for that matter, giving her any feedback whatsoever. Besides, I'm his "MOTHER, for fuck's sake". Mothers are supposed to be proponents of all that's pure and repressed. Mothers are not supposed to suggest that moral gray areas exist, and that perhaps honesty isn't always the best policy, that, moreover, "facts" are a shallow imitation of "truth", and may have very little to do with "honesty", anyway. All far beyond him.

Does it not occur to him that I have some experience - far more than his ex-girlfriend - with being cheated on? That my perspective is not the self-justification of the one in the wrong, but the clear sight of the one first wronged, then further punished by being expected to be comforting, reassuring, healing to the wounder?

Of course it doesn’t. He’s seventeen, and everything is black and white, reality is what he feels. Sigh.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Twenty years into this mothering gig, you'd think I'd know not to ask "Anything I need to know from school today?" The only way to know for sure is to rummage in the backpacks for the paperwork. But those backpacks - God knows what you'll stick your hand in if you're not very, very careful. I tend to avoid them rigourously unless they're the source of the weird smell in the dining room, at which point I send the child and suspect backpack out to the porch. Thank you. Thus things like this occur:

Found on the kitchen counter, stuck to the bottom of a backpack, this morning, Friday, May 26:


Picture Day for Your Child's School
Tuesday, May 16th.

So much for that, then. I wonder what she was wearing?


Monday, May 22, 2006

"We've got a new rat at mom's house, eh?" My Big Stepson (18 next month) informs me.

"Yes, Small Stepson (almost 11) was telling me he got a new one. Is it male or female?"

"Girl this time."

"Oh, good, because male rats just gross me out, you know? I was always nice about Small's boy rat, but, urgh."

Big Stepson grins down at me. (Six foot and some, two hundred pounds and some, a football player - he's a big boy. A big, smart, and charming bo - young man.) "It'd be their..." He raises an eyebrow. Grins some more.

"Testicles. Yup. They're huge! I mean, sometimes those things drag on the ground behind them! It's revolting."

"You know what the guy at the pet store told us?"

My look is anticipatory.

"He said that rats are most likely to die of cancer -"

"I know that. Our last rat died of cancer."

"Or their scrotum explodes."


"Yeah. Apparently, their testicles never stop growing, and one day, BOOM."

"Geez. I guess I'm glad ours got cancer."

"I think you should be."

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

From Vitriolica's webbs ite, a blog which often leaves me feeling like the fifth wheel at a party, but to which I keep returning because the art work is always fun and the content amusing reliably enough to warrant the effort, comes this little gem:

"An idiot cannot know if he/she/it is an idiot because he/she/it is an idiot, so there's no point condemning idiots because they'll just say "ha! too true. good job I'm not an idiot!" and carry on being an idiot.

Obviously, when I hear idiots being condemned I say "Ha! too true. good job I'm not an idi....."

Ha! Too true! Good job I'm not an... See why I keep going back?

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Monday, May 15, 2006

I love being the very tale end of the baby boom. When I was in my late thirties, everyone suddenly noticed that you could be sexy at forty. (Well, duh.) Now I'm in my forties (early forties, thank you), and I see in the Globe this weekend "Foxy 50". So when I get to my fifties, they, too, will have been "discovered". Because before we got there, they had nothing to offer, of course.

Under this headline are the beginnings of two columns, one by Sarah Hampson "On why we're having the best sex ever", the other by Marni Jackson, who "Wonders when we get to hang up our thongs".

I liked them both, but I liked Marni's best. Having said that, why do I feel the need to first state that I have a great sex life, thanks, that only Saturday night I'm quite sure I woke the neighbours with erection-rousing cries of ecstasy? Because I did, she says with a shiver of happy memory. Yes, indeed.

And yet.

Jackson says it well: "I don't see this carnal colonialism as a liberating trend. It's not about discovering a new and grown-up life that might suit the dignity, appetites, and experience of an older woman. It's about fear of aging."

Bang on, Marni. Er, in the British sense, not the American.

She continues:
It's still the same old story: Women must define themselves first and last through their sexual activity.

But what if they would rather reinvent urban environments [we'll miss you, Jane], or run countries, or protest againt the war in Iraq, or do nothing but sit around in their fleece robes finishing thosand-piece puzzles? [Older women] have earned the right to stay in the race, or withdraw, and still have our respect and curiosity.

I enjoy my sex life, and enjoy the attention I can still garner walking down the street. (Not from 20-somethings, who are generally as disinterested in fucking a woman old enough to be their mother as I am disinterested in fucking a child. Happy mutuality of disinterest.) I enjoy this, but it does not define me.

A woman should have the peaceful assurance of maturity, itself an attractive quality. What I wear, where I eat, the music I listen to, the clothes I wear reflect my preferences, not those of some imagined target audience. I did enough of that in my twenties, thanks! Why should I be scrambling to stay girl-thin, to know and be all things trendy, all in an attempt to stay sexy - a self-denying attempt, if 'sexy' is defined by twenty-somethings, something I manifestly am no more.

Sexy is not defined by taut skin and low-rise jeans and the right music on the MP-3 player.

And sexy is only a small part of who I am, anyway. It's a part that probably gets me the most gratuitous attention, which is nice, but it's the least meaningful. I can get attention for something I've written, for a clever conversation, for an interaction at work, for a piece of music played well, for the warmth of my smile.

Or I can get along just fine without the externals, because internally, I am sound. I know who I am - I don't need others validating my existence by their notice. Though I would hate to be invisible, I doubt I ever will be, because I am, and always have been, more than my sex appeal. Sex appeal may diminish with time. Who I am will only be deepened and enriched with age.

"It is sad to grow old, but nice to ripen." Brigitte Bardot.

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