Let Mama teach you some manners - a dramatic play by Kristi Walters

A quick run down of activities around the Walters house lately.....

This week was Valentines Day and we started it off with Kid 3 finding that he left his backpack outside in the rain all night - which was no big deal till we figured out that his school owned laptop computer was in it.  We spent the day in the drying process to see if we would be buying a broken laptop from the school district instead of Valentines candy.  

And Kid 2 left his baseball cleats outside in the rain.  Again, no big deal -  till he tried to dry them by sticking my hair dryer inside one of them and walking away.  If you can't imagine what that's like, turn your hairdryer on to high speed, hottest setting, then shove it into a tight, non-ventilated space.  Don't look at it for several minutes and see if you notice an odd smell. 

And we finally got the oven repaired.  But now the dishwasher is washing all by itself, and whenever it feels like it.  I'll deal with that one later.  Actually Fireman Dave repaired the oven because he can fix anything.  I say that to encourage him to try to fix the waterlogged laptop computer, if needed, when he gets home from the station tomorrow.  Three cheers for Fireman Dave trying to save us the price of a new computer. 

Last we spoke I left  you with the cliff hanger of will she or will she not write again about that unnumbered kid from the last post.... And did you figure out which kid I was talking about?  Uh huh, I thought so. 

Well, Y'all, let the suspense come to an end.   I like to call this post, Let Mama teach you some manners

But first let me tell you my new promise - my new method, my new commitment to mothering - sort of -  that I try to step back from the day to day decisions of the kids more and more.  That I try to trust that a 16 year old can make some common sense decisions on his own - and let him suffer the consequences of those if they aren't the best.  I say suffer the consequences  - hopefully they won't be awful or death defying, but it's better to find out now while he has the safety net of home and family and a mom that is just a phone call away if he gets himself stranded or otherwise needing a Plan B. 

And I came to this very mature decision after a week of trying to do it the complete opposite way.  Well, actually, I've been practicing the opposite way for a lifetime, but this week I heard myself complain about the unshaven face scruff and sloppy shorts one too many times and thought to myself, There has to be more to life than this.

So I'm willing to try it.  And I hope the best for all involved.

But last weekend.  Oh my gosh, last weekend went down in the Book of Motherhood as the day Kristi Walters lost her EVERYTHING in the driveway and lectured the two lovebirds on manners and other practical life skills.   I think it best to tell my story in dramatic play form for effect.  Imagine two wide eyed youngsters played by someone cute, but in an imperfect teenage sort of way.  Now imagine me being played by Marilyn Monroe, though a little tired looking and wearing stretchy pants.  This is EXACTLY what I looked like last Saturday when all hell broke loose......

The setting:  Marilyn driving the two teens to and from their events of the day.  Picking them up from the Dallas Museum of Art, our story begins.....

Act 1:  It's gettin a little weird in here, Y'all...... 

Me:  How was the museum?  Chatter, chatter small talk.......

Them:  ......................................

Me:  Did you eat?  Where did you eat?  What a nice day!  Chatter, chatter small talk some more.....

Them: ...................................

Me:  I'm gonna try one more time to make some ridiculous small talk for all of our benefit, but I'm about to give up and abort this mission in its entirety because you're making me a hundred different kinds of mad.  Blah Blah Blah is obviously what they heard.   

Eye the two lovebirds in the rear view mirror looking frightened of Me/Marilyn as I try to drag truth and assorted facts from their teenage bodies.  Notice that they make some sort of disgusted eye rolling motion,.... toy with the idea of killing them.  No not really.  Yes really.  No.  Not really. Toy with the idea of putting their sweet behinds out on the curb at the nearest stop and letting them see how much their love blossoms under stress. 




Me:     ....................................until we arrived home. 

Act 2:  Mama Lost Her Bananas in the Driveway. 

The Setting:  parking the car and praying for all the mean words I'm considering to stay where they belong.  Sometimes prayer doesn't work as we would hope. 

Me:  So..... before we go in the house we need to talk.  No.  I need to talk and you will listen.  (Insert Kid 1 beating his disbelieving head against the car seat in anticipation of what he knows is about to happen.) 

You were rude.  Both of you.  You acted like you suddenly became deaf and mute the second you got into my car.  And I don't remember anything jumping in here and cutting off your tongues in our shared time together.  So first, let me remind you that I am not your damn taxi driver.  Second, here is how such a car ride should've gone.  

Kid 1 - this is when you would get in the car and say something like, Hi Mom, remember Princess Chatterbox from Homecoming?  And I would say, Of course I remember Miss Chatter-there - what a lovely dress you wore to the dance and I told everyone how sweet you were to bring me flowers.  And Miss Chatter,  this is the time when you would say something like, Thank you Mrs. Walters for letting Kid 1 spend the day with  me because I know there are so many other things he could've been doing to help you around the house.  Even if this is a total lie.

Then, I explain how I am a believer in second chances and how we will have such a second chance in exactly one hour when we get back in the car and have polite conversation on the way to our next stop - all three of us, if it is the last thing we ever do.   

Act 3:  Second Chances Aren't All They're Cracked Up To Be.  

Shortest third act in theater history.

Act 4:  Stand Back, .....Crazy Woman in the Freezer Aisle.    

Y'all, I'm just gonna summarize this one.  Later that night I went to Kroger, somehow ended up in the freezer section on my phone talking to Fireman Dave, at which point I put on my best Scarlett O'Hara impression of when she finds her strength after she lost everything to fire and war and desperation.  And she decides to replant and rebuild and declare that even if she has to eat potatoes the rest of her life, or something like that, tomorrow is another dayBasically, don't mess with me and Scarlett when we're hungry and mad, people.  And don't you dare walk down this freezer aisle at Kroger unless you want to be a part of the movement.  

Anyway, when I went to pay for my groceries, the kid bagging my stuff looked right in my fiery eyes and asked if I was going home now to cook, or to go to sleep.  Maybe he heard my story from when I was looking for frozen Stouffers crock pot meals a few rows away.  Maybe someone told on me.  Or maybe he saw straight into my very soul and recognized how tired I was of that day.  

I went home and chose sleep. 

post script:  The laptop computer is good.  In case you're one of Kid 3's teachers worrying about it.  I am also okay.  In case you were wondering.  Me, Marilyn and Scarlett  - we're all sorts of strong.    

You get in trouble. With a capital T.

Here's what happens when you write a post about teen dating for a large, popular publication..... 

You get in trouble.  With a capital T.

Turns out that a post like that will get shared so many times that it'll land in the hands of your friend's teenage daughter who is in World History class with your son's girlfriend.  And your friend's daughter will lean over in class and point out to the girlfriend that the mom of said girlfriend's boyfriend has just talked about her all over the internet.  Then the girlfriend will text the boyfriend, aka, my son... and tell on me.  And tell him that he should be upset.  Or whatever.  Then he will be upset and call his dad to complain about it and the world and all it's peoples will spend a sucky weekend discussing how horrible a mother my kids have.  Holy Christmas y'all - I heard free speech was a thing.

That really happened.  No. Really.  And it was a bad weekend in Waltersville for me.  So I promised to never write about that particular kid again.  I actually think I yelled it via text.  I text yelled it.  Whether it will hold true has yet to be seen.  We Walters tend to make promises like, I promise to clean my room .... I promise to take out the trash.... I promise to act like you're not stupid, Mom.  But some things never come to pass.

I wrote a post about that same line of thought for the church blog here.  Feel free to give me your Facebook like.  That church crowd is a tough one.

But in the thick of things last week I wrote the following for myself.  Maybe you read it before I deleted it.  Maybe not.

"Here's what mothering is.....

It's hard.  And it's mean and it's lonely.  And it has moments of super highs when you see your sweet little ones asleep looking like angels and they're all silent and behaving...but also times of extreme lows when you realize that you've spent the last 16 years basing your entire existence on the outcome of their little lives - only to find out that you have mistakenly based your entire existence on the outcome of their lives.

And it comes with plenty of input, but little to no thanks.  And plenty of people who are right there with you, sometimes way too ready to point out all your missteps and mistakes.

And then there are those who like to ask things like, Did those boys spoil you on Mothers Day/your Birthday?  ......  to which I think to myself, No. No, they didn't. They forgot.  Or they went to a friend's house instead to have a cookout with the friend's mom.  Or that they said their nice words as instructed by their dad or a teacher.  Mostly they like to tell me that they don't have any socks or underwear or that I need to go to the grocery store. 

But mothers still try.  And we laugh sometimes at the ridiculousness of it all.  And we cry a lot over the ridiculousness of it all.  And we look everywhere to find someone who may get it.  Someone who may understand that it's lonely on top.  I mean lonely under all the weight of the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, and the raising of actual people.

And sometimes it's just mean.  Sometimes I'm the mean one.  Sometimes other people are - even the kids.  Especially the kids, even if they didn't mean to or know it.

And I guess one of the biggest parts of mothering is trying to find your own place.  Whether that be for a few minutes alone in the bathroom when the kids are little, or out shopping - trying to fill your time with something when the kids are older and they don't really need you that much anymore.

Finding my own place brought about the birth of this blog.  But it comes to this.

Sometimes the wrong thing wins over what is right.  And sometimes the right thing that you tried to do forever just didn't make much difference.

And so, I'm trying to listen more.  More for my purpose, more to the needs of my family, my kids in particular.   Maybe I'll hear the divine voice of God telling me that I am woman, hear me roar.  And he may or may not whisper that he totally agrees with my theory that people in general are crazy. 

Or maybe I'll only hear my own voice calming my doubts that are so busy taking over the more rational parts of my brain.  Whatever.    Maybe my heart, soul, and mind will become suddenly all refreshed and beautifully tan.  Or maybe I'll find a new idea, an entirely new format or endeavor.  I'm not really sure. "

When I wrote these words, I was in sort of a funk and decided to let the blog fall apart out of spite for my pathetic couple days of existence.  But then I slept.  And I took time to walk away from the immediacy of having to respond to something that didn't need a response.  Yet.  And I decided that what I originally wrote wasn't all that bad.  And that it was as close to the truth about parenting as you'll ever hear a mom say.  So I'm okay with it.  I edited the whole I quit the blog and quit the world section.... Yep, that was in there.  But you know what?  I may be a quitter for a day or two, but then I remember who I am.  I am strong.  I am a survivor of loss and hurt and meanness of the meanest kind.  I am a survivor of so many trials and failures I can't even begin to count.  And I am a survivor of depression and other assorted mind games that the body uses to trick me into believing that I'm weak.

And I remembered that I'm a writer.  And a speaker of truthful words, no matter how many or few read them.  And then I decided that it's better to be known by God for what I can accomplish for his glory, than to be known by anyone else for things that caused me to forget my place in his kingdom.

post script - will I write about that particular Kid and and his girlfriend, Princess Chatterbox, ever again?  I'm undecided.  Stay Tuned.
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