Karma, I’m The Chameleon

I’m not sure when it happened, when I stopped believing.  No, not really stopped believing, more like not feeling it, not feeling the entity known as “God”.  It’s been awhile now, I was just afraid to put it down in writing, to actually get outside of my head and acknowledge it.  Afraid of repercussions, perhaps?  Afraid of that bolt of lightning coming down from the sky?  Afraid to admit to my family and friends that this life-long Lutheran, this zealous church-goer/church-dragger no longer believes in a higher entity? Yeah, that last one is pretty much spot on.

It started with my break from the church we were currently attending.  I was super-involved in the church life- Sunday School, Youth Group, Council, Book Club- even heading up the major redesign and renovations to the interior sanctuary.  Throughout my life, I’ve always been involved in church stuff, mostly with kids.  My parents were involved, therefore I got involved.  Not so much my kids, but that’s their decision- I brought them up in the church from Baptism through Confirmation, after that they were on their own.  And not one of them looked back.  In retrospect, I should have taken their lead.

Anyway, yeah, I was super involved.  After attending for almost 16 years,  I got close to the Pastor and to some extent, his wife.  I babysat their birds (one of which died almost immediately when they brought it home, oops), I redesigned their kitchen (pro-bono, of course), we acted in plays together, we travelled to Youth Events across the country together, he commandeered my mother’s funeral.  I confided in my spiritual advisor on many occasions and I thought we should have been considered friends, or at least close in the service of the Lord.

I should have known better.  I never learn.  I’ve thought the same of half a dozen people in my life and the end result was never good.

There were little things that started to piss me off- things we (the Youth Group) would do that would be ignored, or forgotten.  Attempts to pin down dates or plan trips or events would never be acknowledged.  Things would be done behind my back, planned with someone else.  Look, I can take a hint- I’m incredibly perceptive- if one doesn’t want my help just sit me down and talk to me.  Don’t go behind my back in front of my face.

And don’t…do not…insult my child.  Do not insinuate that she did not work on her Confirmation project.  If you know me, or know my family you would understand our work ethic.  We do not do things to get over, or take short cuts.  We give our all and if you asked us to do something and gave my daughter permission to use it as a project you don’t get to speculate whether or not she did it.  And you should not speculate or insinuate in front of the other Confirmands and their families at the official dinner the lack of my daughter’s role in her project.

Yes, I understood he was sick and maybe not himself.  I tried to cut him some slack, I really did.  But right after she was Confirmed, I stopped going to church.

I was hurt, but this next part was truly the icing on the butthurt cake…

I stopped going to church and not one person- not the pastor, not the secretary, not the council, not my neighbors, not my friends who also go to that church- not one of them called me up and asked my why.  Not one of them said “Hey, we miss you.  Come on back.”  Not one of them texted, emailed or Facebooked me.  Months went by and my tithing amount was being taken out of my account.  I emailed the secretary (also my friend) and asked for the form to stop donating.  Not one word was said when the form was sent.  Still, no outreach.  After all that time, after all I did, I felt that no one cared enough to want me back.

Was I hurt? Beyond belief.  Was I mad? Oh, hell yes. Did I get over it?  After many years, yes.  Only two people knew why I drifted off and now I’m finally able to type it out without alternating crying with cursing. Time heals sadness and anger.

I’ve been to a few churches since then, trying them on, see if they and I were a good fit.  Warily, I sang the songs and listened to the sermons and tried not to read the brochures where they were looking for volunteers.  I liked the Holy Roller/Rock Music church I went with my friend to a few times but the last time I went I felt something else other than the LOVE they were fervently preaching.  It took about a year for me to realize it was disbelief.

Agnostic? Atheist? Neither of these actually describe what I think I believe.  I do believe we’re all connected some way.  There are too many instances of Synchronicity in my life to argue otherwise.  And there may be a force at the center of that big web of inter-connectedness, but I don’t feel we should be worshipping it, or praying to it (and why are we still saying “God Bless You” when someone sneezes?  It’s an expulsion of  body fluids!)  I believe in Jesus Christ- the person- and I believe he did die for “our” sins and because he loved “us”.  His message to me is to be kind to my fellow persons, live a clean, good life and do good works.  Do I need a god-figure to tell me to do that?  Do I need a preacher to remind me of that?  Karma plays a big role in my belief these days- rattle that web between you and I and what goes out will definitely come back.  Good and/or bad.

Maybe I’m Buddhist, I don’t know.  Let me meditate on that.

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From State to Sandwich

Poor Utah.  She works Customer Service for an insurance billing company, making doctor appointments for insurance claim customers (as near as I can figure out).  She speaks to dozens of people each day and every day she has a story.  Usually it’s how people butcher her name.

We didn’t give her an exotic name.  She was named after my brother, who passed away while I was pregnant with her.  It’s a form of Robert and the name of a bird.  With a “Y”.  Don’t make me say it, lol!

Anyway, it’s not hard to understand when spoken and at the very least the spelling could be off by that “Y”. She introduces herself and the company and trust me, she enunciates when speaking. So why do people have such a hard time with her name?  Some of the names people respond back to her are;

Allen

Jessica

Autumn

Ruben

Goblin

Goblin? WTF people?  Even if you didn’t hear her correctly, who names their kid Goblin?  And she is definitely a woman, where do the guy names come from?  People are morons.

I’m changing her name on the blog to Ruben.  I actually laughed out loud when she posted that one on Facebook.  I never liked “Utah” anyway.  Still confused about why she wants to go there…

Countdown is Over and We’re Free!

I neglected keeping up with the countdown and posting the events of Prom Night.  Thankfully, nothing happened to the kids.  They left early, before dessert, so they could meet his friends out at the beach house.  They said they had a good time, the place was pretty and the food and music were okay.

Thanks goodness.  I got no sleep that night until she texted me that they were at the house.  Phew.

I was privy to a lot of complaints about limos and after-prom parties that my kids were not involved in.  Again, she dodged a bullet.  A few of the moms I connected with a couple of days afterwards were not happy campers.  Zombiegirl didn’t go in with the other girls on the limousine (she took our new toy to the prom.)  It was four and a half miles away- they drove last year, they drove this year.  It was a good thing, too.  I heard the limo driver was an asshat, and some of the moms were too.  I am so glad we’re done with this crap!

Graduation was wonderful.  I was literally giddy thinking that I didn’t have to see the majority of these people ever again.  And neither did my daughter.  She had her “exit buddy” and her “soul mate” and she was happy it was over.  All of my in-laws and nieces and nephew came down to see her and we took tons of pictures and went for Indian food at Santoor, Queens.  Sharing good food with your loved ones (minus John- he watched the babies) and knowing that this phase of our lives is over was marvelous.  Hearing that Z-girl was awarded a scholarship from my brother-in-law’s Masonic Temple made it even sweeter.  Thanks, Uncle Ick!

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The next day was spent at the dining room table putting together Zombiegirl’s school scrapbook.  From preschool to high school, I pasted awards, pictures, playbills and report cards.  I sent tons of pictures to be developed so I could include them in her memory book.  This brought tears several times during the day, more so than any other time in the last six months.  She was so cute, so little.  She’s so smart, so grown up, so beautiful.

The dining room table was out of commission for two weeks while I finished up Beena’s and Utah’s scrapbooks as well.  Huge, bulging books full of memories.  In hindsight, I wish I would have been more organized- I’m missing Utah’s first grade class picture and most of Beena’s high school papers.  It was also hard figuring out what went where, that’s why it took me almost two weeks.  Need a tip?  Date everything that comes home (if you’re keeping it) and put your kid in their first day of school outfit for picture day.  And if you have two kids, take a separate picture on the first day of school.  I’ve had to make copies because the two oldest girls were in the pictures together.

I cleaned out two bins and three file folders from my office!  Most of my scrapbooking supplies were also used, so that bin is a lot lighter.  And the dining room table has been reclaimed.  I feel lighter, happier and ready to live again.

Pre-Prom and The Countdown Is Almost Complete.

If I make it through this night, it will be a minor miracle.

WHHS Senior Prom is tonight at Jericho Terrace.  Pre-Prom was at Zombiegirl’s best friend’s house (H).  I was on high alert while I snapped pictures and spoke to parents I haven’t seen in ages.  We all marveled how beautiful everyone was and how grown up they are.

As I spoke to these parents I constantly checked over their shoulders to make sure my kid and the boyfriend were okay.  I feel like I missed a lot of what they were saying…

We found out a few days ago that her boyfriend (Ken) was being threatened.  They heard through the grapevine that he was going to be “jumped” at Prom.  Not because he’s a bad kid, or a troublemaker (there are girls in the high school dating MS-13 members- THOSE parents have major problems, if they’re even clued in, which I am sure they’re not), on the contrary, he’s so good to my daughter and he treats her like gold.  The problem is the other boys who have a crush on Z-girl and will do anything (and they’ve proved that they will do anything) to get with her.  And it seems that anything includes beating up her boyfriend.

So what does a parent do in this case?  Did these kids forget Z-girl hunts and is handy with a rifle?  Does MR go sit in the parking lot to make sure our kids are safe?  Do I call the school?

It helps to have friends in the school system.  Just talk to one of them and they’re on the case.  These little hoodlums better watch their asses.  F*CK You, you little cretins.

Add insult to injury, one of H’s friends asked if he could come to Pre-Prom.  Seems they were all on a group chat and only those on the chat were invited.  This guy wasn’t, but he was a good friend of H.  I’ll give you one guess as to who he was taking to Prom.  Yes, the twat. Are you kidding?  This kid has the nerve to ask if he can bring this little troublemaker to my daughter’s best friend’s house?  H is a great kid- she told him to take a hike after he said he wouldn’t speak with her again.  Whatever- tonight, Graduation and she never has to see him again.  I gave her a hug and thanked her for looking out for my kid.  And a big F*CK You to the twat.  I better never find out where you live.

High school is a fucking soap opera.  A damn reality show- a really bad one- because these kids are utterly ridiculous.  I don’t live in the city where all the school kids are street wise, I live in the fucking suburbs.  Middle class all the way.  Yet we have to deal with this stupid gangsta attitude that all the kids appropriate.  As we walked around the backyard, Utah and I marveled at who we could and couldn’t talk to.  The drama and ever changing dynamics of teenagers is a fine line one doesn’t dare cross.

I’ll say it once again.  I’m done.  Three more days and we’re over this shit. I’m going to pour myself a drink and go through the 300 pictures I just took.  I’ll post the good stuff tomorrow.

 

 

 

Farewell, Panthers. The Countdown Continues.

Yesterday was the last. Game. Ever. The Panthers have been playing together since fourth (?) grade. A few players have left over the years and we’ve gained a few younger players these past seasons but the handful of core players have remained tight and close and would never think to give up or leave. Even with problems with former coaches, even when they lost every game in the season, even when they had knee/ankle/hip/eye/concussion injuries they still showed up and played. As much as I am excited about never having to think about my daughters high school experiences ever again, not having soccer in my life is going to leave me  a bit melancholy.

Don’t get me wrong- if you know me you know I bitch about practically everything involving going to the games, dealing with parents, listening to the stupidity of the other teams parents,  Zombiegirl’s moodiness, MR’s moodiness and the referees (who, btw, have become increasingly inept. I sometimes feel the girls are not only playing against the opposing team but also against the refs.) I will truly miss cheering the Panthers on. I will miss being on the sidelines to their silliness. I will miss the excitement of watching them running down the field closing in on the goal. Nothing beats watching your kid (and by extension, all my adopted Panther players) score that goal. Or meg the opposing team. Or listen to your coach husband encourage the girls to RUN! 

I’ve poured my heart out to a few of my soccer mom friends- you’re sitting there for an hour and a half-what else are you going to do but talk while watching the girls? Bonding on the field is special because you’re all rooting for the same outcome. My soccer moms will always hold a special place in my heart even if we’re not on the field anymore or if we no longer talk. Growing up, I was never on a team (I’m not counting after school CYO softball) so I never got to experience the bonding and fraternization that comes with having teammates. I was lucky enough to get that with my sideline mommas. We were another kind of team.

Yesterday they played RVC, a team they could have beaten but one mishap with an underage referee cost us the game. We went out with a 4-3 loss and a yellow card for MR because of our parents defending (yelling) the play. Our record was bleak this season, but it doesn’t matter because it’s over. Over over.

Afterwards there was food, there was cake, there were beers and there were tears. Families, players and coaches came together for the last time under the West Hempstead Panthers banner to say goodbye to the team that’s been extended family for 15 years.

Farewell Panthers. 

Awards, Dinners and the Countdown Continues…

Last week was the High School Girl’s Athletic Award ceremony at the neighborhood catering hall and last night was the award ceremony for Nassau County Softball Coaches Association award dinner at the Crest Hollow Country Club. It’s the second time this year we’ve accompanied Zombiegirl to the country club for an awards dinner (who said I don’t get out much!?)- the first time was in December when she won the Scholar Athlete award for Varsity soccer and tonight she won All-Conference player for Varsity softball. I’m so proud of my little jock. She certainly doesn’t get her athleticism from me.

I dragged my sorry sick butt out of bed to go to this overpriced dinner to honor all the softball girls in Nassau County.  Only two of the WHHS Varsity girls were chosen for the All-Conference award, Zombiegirl and the pitcher, Dana. It really was a lot of fun watching them play over the years.

Z-girl really excelled at softball.  She thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think it had to do with the coach- her soccer coach was an ass with zero personality and a hard-on (not in the sexual sense) for one of her team mates.  As he felt that girl could do no wrong, he felt the rest of them were beneath her and the favoritism showed.  Moral on the team was dismal and no amount of screaming and yelling from those two could lift it.  I was thrilled when Varsity soccer ended. My daughter was miserable on that team.  Five years with this coach and add insult to injury- he didn’t even acknowledge her Scholar Athlete award in the program.

Pfft.  So over it.

The softball coach was the opposite side of the coin.  He was personable (but not too friendly with the girls) and he was a bit sarcastic.  I know a few girls (and parents) didn’t like him and some even refused to move up to Varsity from JV.  But he knew his stuff, he knew the girls strengths and weaknesses and he knew what they needed to do to get wins.  Zombiegirl, for instance, is not a strong hitter.  But she can bunt and slap like a pro and she’s fast so seven times out of ten she made it to first to drive a run in.  A few of the asshat fathers didn’t comprehend Coach’s logic to signal her to bunt- they only complained repeatedly that she’s doing it again.  I stopped sitting with them because I couldn’t take their incessant complaining and derogatory comments about one of our outfield players.  Lord forbid someone said something about one of their kids. But they’re armchair coaches. One of them is overweight and the other is old- neither is fit enough to coach a team, they can barely walk to the field from their car.

Besides the asshats, I loved watching softball.  I tried to keep score and keep track of the innings, but because most of the games were chilly (something about the WHHS field- it was always beautiful and warm at the house but at the field it was always windy and cold.  And it’s only 1/4 mile away.) so keeping track was tough when you’re wearing gloves (I had an app).  I came prepared with my Lava Buns seat and extra layers and gloves and a hat, sunglasses and Uggs.  I don’t know how the girls kept warm on the bench and in the field.  That was the only thing the kid complained about, because the season started so early, it was cold.

But now we’re done.  She may play club ball in college or with a neighboring town.  Pick up games are a certainty. I may even join her if there are no age restrictions.  Scheduled games though are finished and we just got one step closer to putting an end to the high school experience.  Tick tick tick…

 

 

The Countdown, Inching Closer

How long does it take to slice 10 dozen bagels, including the time it takes to wash and dry the slice in one’s palm, put a rubber glove on to contain the blood (hey, I watch Chopped) take off the glove because someone eating said bagels may have a latex allergy, wash and dry the wound again and put a fabric (no latex!) bandaid on?

Twenty-eight minutes.

Today is Zombiegirl’s Senior breakfast at school. It’s the day they get their yearbooks and collect witticisms and song quotes from prople they’ve spent the majority of their lives with. They get to roam the halls and ask teachers to write nice things about them and these poor teachers have to remember a kid who was in their class four years prior and come up with something good.

It’s a good day in the life of a high-schooler.

For some reason, the parents are asked (again) to provide food for the Senior Breakfast. Not all the senior parents, just those who managed to get their name on an email list because they helped once before. There are approximately 180 Seniors and approximately 25 names on the list. And if those 25, approximately 1/2 volunteer to bring anything.

Is it any wonder that I’m so done with all this?

Beena’s brother-in-law works at a popular bagel place so I asked if they would donate or give me a discount on bagels.  Three out of four kids that go to our high school go to this bagel place on a regular basis so it didn’t hurt to ask. Joey came back with a great price for bagels (Thanks, Joey!) and since he went through all the trouble of bagging them up and delivering them, I didn’t want to ask him to slice them. He did say he would have if he knew, but I don’t like to take advantage of people doing me favors. 

Thus the cut on my palm.

So it’s June 5th and I have 20 more days and approximately 6 more things to do to get this kid graduated. Twenty-one more days until I call my life my own.