BITCH – ARCHIVE

Still pulling from my old blog, and this is easily one of my favourites. I loved coaching ball; the kids, the sport and especially my colleague in coaching. Good times! 😀

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BITCH

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

~Meredith Brooks “Bitch”

I remember the first time I was put in the same context as the word “Bitch”.

I was 13 years old and my mother was in the middle of a nasty exchange with her sister. A bitter and eventually vengeful person, this woman had some beef and laid out her anger in a letter, including the reference that my mother’s eldest daughter was “a bitch”.

This wounded my mother terribly. I can only imagine how she felt inside as I know how I would react if someone made a derogatory comment about one of my children, never mind my sister.

At the time, I was shocked. I remember thinking I knew what incident she was referring to, but didn’t think that action would qualify me as “a bitch.” It took me a while to process the idea that there were people out there – in this case, a family member, who had a very dark impression of me.

Kinda heavy for 13…. That kinda crap messes a person up for a while.

I can remember referring to this branding throughout my teen years. Kind of an excuse for anything I felt contrary to – because after all, I was “a bitch”.

Over time the brand became a badge of honor. I had a backbone I’m not sure I would have discovered as young and my ability to stand my ground comes from the fact that while you have a right to your opinion, I sure as Hell have a right to mine. Don’t confuse my ability to concede or defer with weakness. I simply don’t care as much about the issue as you do. Because if it matters to me, I will go down for the count. And there are very few people whose opinions truly matter to me any more.

As soon as I realized this, the better I felt about myself. A type of empowerment, if you will. Why worry about other people’s opinions when there are very few whose opinions truly matter?

Which brings me to last week. I’m assistant coaching First Born Son’s ball team AGAIN – long story there I won’t bore you with – and it came time to hold the first practice.

Faced with 13 12-13-year-old boys, I realized there needed to be a strong impression made. The hormones are working. Some of them are as tall as I am and a couple of them easily out-weigh me. This is where you have to go for the weak spot – the brain!

“When I’m talking, no one else is talking,” I started, which beautifully shut two of them up. “When Coach J is talking, no one else is talking. That’s just common courtesy. When I’m here, I’m not FBS’ mother. I’m Coach Sarah to him, just like I am to you. He’s not my kid when we’re here. There are no favorites. You will work hard. Don’t get me wrong, I like to have fun and I’m not a prude – I’m not hung up on swearing or being frustrated when you are practicing. When we are in a game you WILL represent your town to the best of your ability, which means NO swearing, NO trashing the other team AND DEFINITELY NO tearing down your team mates. When I tell you to run, YOU WILL RUN. Softball is a running sport. When I tell you that you will be running an extra lap you, will do it, because gentlemen, I bring my own vehicle for a reason – and that’s to stay here until the lights come on if that’s what it takes. I will wait you out – that’s right, I am a BITCH.

At that point, one kid fell off the picnic table…. All of their mouths dropped open – except for FBS – he knows about my bitchiness.

Three practices later, if someone speaks while I’m speaking, I merely stop talking and look at them. They immediately stop and usually they blush. When I’m running a drill and they are not executing the way they should – I stop – spell it out for them and they immediately adjust their actions. They speak to me with respect, or genuine friendship, since they realize that 90% of the time, I’m very easy to get along with and truly want for them to improve. I despise shouting.

While I would not suggest telling young girls they are bitches as a means to create character, I would have to say what started out as somewhat of a damaging experience has since become something that I would not change even if I could.

I’m a bitch, I’m a tease
I’m a goddess on my knees
When you hurt, when you suffer
I’m your angel under cover
I’ve been numb, I’m revived
Can’t say I’m not alive
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

Yes, the summer flew by far too quickly, but that’s not the only thing that has happened in the blink of an eye.

Yup, I'm going to trot this picture out any time I have a chance!!!

Yup, I’m going to trot this picture out any time I have a chance!!!

This wee, innocent, fragile soul graduated from high school! I KNOW! Crazy right? He just learned how to walk last week, so the fact that he went to his Prom is incomprehensible!

A Boy and his Truck

A Boy and his Truck

Because no Prom is complete without photos, and because I’m not a fan of the traditional “stand beside your date” snaps, we did a full-fledged shoot with the one thing in the world that fills First Born Son’s heart, his truck.

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While other grads were cozying up to their significant others, this grad wanted to make sure he had all the shots he could possibly get with his truck.

This blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

This blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.

Don’t misunderstand, he had a date. She looked lovely. She was thrilled that he had a cool ride. But he just wasn’t that hung up on pix with a chick when he could have pix with his pickup truck!

Sigh

Sigh

The afternoon was bittersweet, because, with the pride we had in how he has wrapped up this chapter of his life and standing on the edge of the next, I couldn’t help but think of how proud my Dad would be. Not only did FBS rock his suit, and look ever inch a young man, but he made sure his grandfather was represented on this special day. He wore Dad’s cufflinks.

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After what was, in his words, one of the best nights of his life, FBS said “Farewell” to his high school years. He was more than ready to drive off into the sunset, as long as the sun set over his college!

Aviators - the finishing touch!

Aviators – the finishing touch!

Minutes after this photo was taken, he started working for a landscaper and we didn’t see him again until the day before he moved into residence. (I’m only being mildly sarcastic, it was actually two days before.)

As “Move In/Move Out” day approached, advice started flooding in. I was going to cry. I was going to be emotional. I was going to miss him like CRAZY! Well as time progressed, I wasn’t getting emotional, I was nervous. Anxious that he wasn’t allowing enough time to get ready. Not making sure that he was prepared for the practical demands of being responsible for himself. (Grocery shopping wasn’t a priority until his Uncle mentioned he might was to look into it. We did it the next day, at FBS’s insistence!) I never developed the symptoms others warned me about and I was starting worry that I was a lousy mother for not dreading my child’s imminent departure.

I remember my parents’ reaction to my leaving for college. It was a difficult transition and I felt very scared. I didn’t want that for FBS. Both the Big Guy and I felt that doing our job as parents would be to prepare our son for the world, support him in his decisions and be happy for his successes. If I’m sad or upset, I take away from his excitement, and maybe even damage his chance of success. If I make my feelings more important that his, it diminishes what he accomplishes.

Besides, we were both really excited for him. (The Big Guy was most excited about FBS’s Dorm Life – flashback anyone??) There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a young person on the edge of a wonderful opportunity. We could see how excited he was and how he was so ready to GO!  How could I, as a parent, be anything but thrilled for him? Parents are only successful if our children are happy and achieve the dreams the set for themselves. The whole “Bird flying from the nest” analogy is corny, but it’s perfect for this situation. We are excited that he’s ready to fly, and can’t wait to see how far he goes and where he lands!

So, three weeks in, I have yet to cry because I miss him. (Partly because he texts me more now than he did when we lived under the same roof!) I have already seen him grow and change in wonderful ways. He’s starting to learn the things we are unable to teach him; what he has to learn for himself. I’m not feeling emotional when I walk past his room (I know he’ll be back when the food and clean clothes run out!).  I don’t miss him in a negative way; I think about him just as much as I regularly do and I’m always thinking that I can’t wait to hear his stories!

And I don’t have nearly as much cooking or laundry to do!! 😉

Getting More Than You Bargained For!

There’s been a lot of changes around the house lately. I’m still having a hard time getting used to seeing this…

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not to mention this…

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It’s a rather unsettling feeling to have the person you gave birth to responsible for the safe delivery of you and your loved ones from Point A to Point B!

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It’s been just over a year and a half since First Born Son got his licence.

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From the time he was a wee lad, FBS has dreamt about the day he would have the freedom of the open road. It started with lawnmowers, then farm tractors, and finally…

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THE TRUCK!

He spent the summer understanding the joys of manual steering, manual transmission and manual brakes, along with the pain that comes with filling a 40 year old truck with Premium gasoline, since it cannot handle Regular. I’m fairly certain he didn’t fill up for less than $1.47/L. His “coming of age” with regards to transportation didn’t actually come until the fall, when he realized that he could A) drive the old truck, rack up repairs and spend a small fortune in gas; B) buy a new used truck, reduce some of the costs of repairs or C) get a car.

After countless hours pricing used trucks, FBS realized he would get more bang for his buck by looking for a used car to drive throughout his college years, then save up for his dream pickup truck once he was a working man. A mature decision to be sure!

Countless more hours are lost over the Christmas holidays looking at various cars. His father and I veto a number of models due to their poor crash ratings, which, coincidentally, he wouldn’t be able to fit his lanky frame into anyway!

Ironically, he fell into a terrific deal. A 2003 Ford Taurus with moderate mileage, a V6 engine, summer AND winter tires, and only one owner; a older couple who have since stopped driving and therefore have no need for a vehicle. Their trusted mechanic was selling it on their behalf.

CAR 1

While this wasn’t the “coolest” of vehicles for a teenaged male, it did have the key factors for the licensed teenaged male in our household: four tires, an engine, and pedals that adjusted for his long legs. Grannymobile or not, FBS was willing to take on this four-door family car! Now should any of his buddies give him grief, he could always ask how many of them had not ONE but TWO vehicles?!

CAR 2

Once the deal was finalized and the ownership was transferred, FBS took to making the car his own. With today being a snow day, he pulled it into the garage and gave it a thorough cleaning. Which is when he came across this…

LUBE

Funny, he didn’t pay for an Oil, Lube and Filter…

(The car has since been thoroughly disinfected!)

Time Warp!

The most remarkable thing has happened!

This wee lad…

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woke this morning looking like this!!!

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It’s hard to believe that Second Born Son turns 14 tomorrow. The same kid who required two hour-long trips to the hospital in order to get into this world, is now in high school! It seems like yesterday that we took him to speech therapy! Yes – don’t get me started on the fact that I devoted hours to helping get this kid to talk. I’m painfully aware every time he starts discussing his latest video console obsession!

SBS is such a wonderful combination of light and fun. He hates it when animals or the elderly are endangered. He could care less about what other people think of him. For example, he’s not fazed by an unusual coat or jeans he’s grown out of; after all, he’s comfortable!

Our son has impeccable comedic timing, so it’s no surprise that he’s joined the Improv Club at school. He’s always been a fish around water…
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and has now earned Bronze Medallion with his eye set on the Bronze Cross in the spring!

His artistic ability is amazing!

Original on left, SBS's rendition on the right…crazy, right?

Original on left, SBS’s rendition on the right…crazy, right?

Artist at work!

Artist at work!

He’s a good friend, a great brother and a wonderful son!

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I cannot imagine our lives without him!

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Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Roundup Reading

There has been far too much going on to focus on any one topic, so here goes nuthin’!

1. Graduation

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It was a pretty big day. Second Born Son wore my Dad’s going away suit from his wedding to my mother 46 years ago. Some minor alterations and a trip to the dry cleaner, and he was the snappiest grad in the room. Dad gave him the suit two months ago and seeing the outfit that night was a very emotional part of the event.

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If you think he was excited about the Graduation certificate….

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…and the Athletic certificate (with a broken arm for half the year, no less)…

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…imagine our surprise when he received the Principal’s Leadership Award.

My mother and I were too busy commenting on the various other awards being handed out, to listen to what the principal was saying about our Grad!

“Each year, the Ontario Principal’s Council donates a leadership award to go to a deserving grade 8 graduate. This student demonstrates many great qualities such as leadership, and citizenship, and kindness, and humour, and respect. He’s helpful, well-liked. He’s willing to go that extra mile for peers and for adults. He’s supportive of on-going social causes and has been active with the Me to We group. He approaches life with a great positive energy and unbridled enthusiasm. I am pleased to give the OPC Leadership Award to SECOND BORN SON!”

Needless to say, we are very proud!

2. The Kindness of Others
It has been truly heartwarming to experience the outpouring of support and kindness in the weeks (a month already!) following my father’s passing. You find out who the people are that you can count on; those who truly care.

It is a unique situation; losing a parent. Those of you who have not yet experienced this, there are no words to prepare you. People can tell you their stories, but your experience will be as unique as your relationship. To those of you who have lost one or both of your parents; wow – I cannot believe how much this situation sucks. It’s like the world is spinning on a different axis. The sun now rises in the North. You almost lose trust in yourself. You don’t even realize you go days without crying and then a single phrase can knock the wind out of you.
I want to feel better and forget about this. I never want to feel better and I will never forget this.

3. Hail Mary – Good News!
Anyone who has followed The Bowery Girl knows that employment has been a delicate top. Need a refresher? Try here.

In the past three years, there has been a lot of frustration, some revelations and a great deal of change. The job I’m going to at the end of the month is a compilation of every job I’ve ever had, including my most recent. It’s interesting how the universe will make you think you are heading out into the wilderness, only to find your Utopia!

I’m very happy to be back to work full time, even if The Big Guy and the boys will have to make do with a little less homemade baking!

In the Blink of an Eye

Today, Second Born Son graduates from Grade 8. I’m not really sure how that’s possible since I just took this photo days ago….

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But I have an invitation from his school saying that he graduates today, so I guess it must be true. There were hints that this was coming, like the grad photos that were taken last fall. However, as you can see, I can be forgiven for thinking it was his Kindergarten graduation.

2014 on the left, 2006 on the right.

2014 on the left, 2006 on the right.

The irony is, that SBS hasn’t changed all that much from either of these two “youthful” photos. He’s still quick with the smile, and the hugs, and the kindness, not to mention the one-liners. Reading his report card yesterday, I was struck at how much the qualities I love about him are the same qualities that his teachers appreciate in him.

Elementary school is 9 years that go by in the blink of an eye. I cannot image how fast the next four will be.

So proud of you Tootie! xo

A Man with A Plan

You want to know one of the things I love about being a Mom? It’s that you just never know where your life is going to take you.  A simple dinner can turn into a complex conversation about prejudice. Getting ready for school can veer off into a political debate.

Take, for example, a conversation last week, around dinner time. Second Born Son has been jonseing for some extra cash, since he has a serious “graphic novel” (comic book to the rest of us) addiction going on. He has every last coin counted out on his desk and he’s done the research for the upcoming Free Comic Book Day (May 3 cannot come fast enough!). However, the books he really wants, will not be “free” this year.

CURSE YOU UNIVERSE!!

SBS is a clever little dude, so he comes to the Mother Ship to figure out a solution to his financial woes.

“Bud, what it comes down to, is if you want extra money, you need to get a job.” I tell him.

“I don’t want a JOB!” he replies, as though I have suggested that he donate a kidney.

I can see the hamster running on its wheel and his eyes light up.

“I know, you can pay me to do chores!” he announces, with a look of excitement that is reserved for Christmas morning.

{{POW}} – DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING BATMAN!

“You mean, like recycling, compost, feeding the dogs and picking up poops?” I ask.

“YES! For $20 a week!!” he exclaims, thrilled that I’m picking up what he’s putting down.

“Why would I do that? You are supposed to do that now?” I ask, almost literally scratching my head.

“I KNOW, but you wouldn’t have to TELL me to do it, I’d just do it. And I’d keep my room clean too!” he generously offers.

<PAUSE >Now, I know what you are thinking. You think, ‘Hey Sarah, the kid is asking for an allowance.’ I am in no way, a fan of allowances. I read A LOT about the concept and aside from the fact that I didn’t have one, nor did The Big Guy, I feel like the items that he’s asking for compensation for, are part and parcel of being part of this family. I understand the dynamic of teaching the child the importance of understanding how to handle money. I get that some feel it is good for a child’s sense of self to be responsible for their own currency. However, SBS has demonstrated that with proper guidance, he CAN save money, UNTIL he finds something he SIMPLY. MUST.HAVE. We have also endured his frustration with himself when the coveted item he purchased last week in the throes of desire, quells into another item for the Not So Cool bin once it’s obtained. Boyfriend likes the chase, is what I’m saying. <PLAY>

So, with this in mind, I size up the situation.

“If I was going to pay someone, and I’m not saying I’m going to, I would want a lot more than that,” I reply. At this point The Big Guy is in the room, as is First Born Son (who, by the way, has never asked for an allowance). They can tell by the look on my face that this is going to be entertaining. I’m waiting for them to break out popcorn.

“You tell me what you want me to do and I’ll write it down, we’ll have a contract!” gushes SBS.

“Well, I’m thinking you need to set the table every day, do the dishwasher, start helping with laundry,” he looks up from his note pad at this point, “and you have to help with outside work.” The pen goes down. He’s not picking up my puttin’ down any more.

***ZOINKS***

“What???”

“Well, if I’m going to pay you $20 a week, you are going to have to earn it!” I tell him.

~HOLY BANK ACCOUNT ROBIN!~

“Go for it! That’s $80 a month!” goads FBS. I shoot him a death stare.

“I don’t know,” says SBS, doodling on his “contract” post it note.

“Well maybe I should tell you about my terms for this,” I offer. The Big Guy is smiling now.

“What terms?!” asks SBS.

“Well, right now, I pay for a lot of things for you. I don’t mind doing that because of the things you do help out with. But if we are going to switch and I have to PAY for your help, then I get to cut back on what I spend.”

“Like what???” he asks, genuinely concerned.

“Well, I pay for pizza and milk at school. I won’t pay for that any more, or any pita days.” I state. His jaw drops. “When we go to the city, I treat you to snacks or lunch. I won’t do that any more. I won’t pay for movies either. And now that I think about it, your brother was doing odd jobs around the neighbourhood and he was earning money for some of the clothes he wanted. So maybe it’s only fair we do the same for you?!” My hubby and elder son are transfixed, as though watching a real life episode of Dragons’ Den.

“NO WAY, I’M OUT!” announces SBS. He packs away the note pad and pen. Said contract is in the trash.

“No, hey, wait a minute,” I call out to him, “this could really work out well for me!!

The next morning, the pad is out again.

Lordy! I don't get paid every Friday!!

Lordy! I don’t get paid every Friday!!

I note the reduced rate, as well as the omission of outdoor work and laundry. He has been asking each morning since if I’ve come to a decision about this “counter” offer.

This conversation is going to resume tonight. I have a feeling he is going to enjoy the status quo!