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If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.
And for that, you are a goddess.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Mother Defers Her Friends for Her Son's
“I’m not like THEM,” you complain to your husband as you head to your son’s game. “I need some alone time.”
“Yeah,” he shrugs, checking his Home Depot list. You refrain from asking why he’s doing this project now when you were hoping he’d handle baseball detail. “Some people are better at deferring.”
You repeat this to yourself as you sit on the bleachers, trying to act like you’re following a play. You say hi to some new parents, smile, ask them questions. They answer minimally, eyes tracking the players, apparently fascinated by something. They mention ref’s calls, sight rules of the game. Then the woman turns back to her Sudoku while the guy inserts one iPod ear bud, leaving the other to dangle over his designer T-shirt. He continues to survey the field, texting absent-mindedly.
You wonder if this is some new etiquette, a way to say, “I’m not completely blowing you off -- but leave me alone!”
You turn to your sewing bag, which you bring because it calms you; the steady click of your needles amidst the murmur of conversation and sporadic cheering. You like the yarn’s nubby textures, the color variations. You have no knitting talent; you only make scarf after scarf. Or else you mend -- darn socks, patch your son’s jeans; try to make them look less frayed than your nerves.
Occasionally, the Other Parents stop by, fingering the half-done thing in your hands. “Mending socks, huh?” They regard you as if you are quaint, like an Amish person or their grandmother who, long ago, did this same old-fashioned thing. Little do they know, you use the needlework ploy to hide that you are a Suburban Mom Imposter. To keep from screaming, “Is this really necessary? Doesn’t anyone have a more original idea?”
Out of respect for Sam, you forego that. And this Sports Social Code already eludes you. All you know is you’re supposed to spend precious weekends cooped up on these silver bleachers, surrounded by a chain-link fence.
You give up on these new parents and turn to the mom of Sam’s friend, whom you host for regular play dates. “What are you guys up to this weekend?”
“Oh, we had dinner with the Orzo’s and played Charades ‘til 1:30! The boys were rocking!” She nods to her son who’s now huddled up in the outfield with the Orzo kid.
You smile at her in a pinched way. You hate Charades and lately, you’re in your PJ’s by 9… so why do you feel like the only teenager not invited to the party?
I am a misfit.
Before Sam, you had plenty of interesting friends. You still promise each other to grab a coffee, go for a run, but as Suburbia ensconces you, it’s less frequent. You figure when Sam is older, you’ll reconnect with the people who make you laugh, read great books, ask you questions—who understand your code for belonging.
To build Sam’s friendship circle, (you don’t want him without those party invitations), you choose this life where you’re sort of eccentric.
This scarf is now long enough for a very large person.
Maybe you’ll sew a bunch together, donate it to that “Knitting for Peace” group who take prayer shawls to Pakistan. Now there’s probably a group of cool, interesting people.
One of these days, maybe Sam will trade in his bat in favor of creating things. You can blow this stand, go on adventures like you used to, show him there’s a big, wide world outside this field.
In the meantime, if it’s for his happiness, you’ll hang with these oddballs.
Until you can get back to your tribe, you’ll defer.
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By Mary Beth Marra
By Mary Beth Marra