When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event?

I suppose turning proms into red carpet events follows naturally after the madness that is promposals.

Perhaps I’m late to the whole prom game because I haven’t been prom dress shopping since my prom back in, well, a long time ago. But prom season is upon us. Moms of teenage girls across the land definitely know what I’m talking about. It’s prom-mania and probably has been since the middle of winter, but I tried not to pay attention. I did a good job, too. I didn’t take my daughter dress shopping until a couple of weeks ago. Why get a jump on things when you can do everything last minute?

When my fear that all the good prom dresses had been snatched up by all those annoying go-getters who efficiently check off their lists months in advance coupled with my even greater fear that my daughter would force me to take a day-long sojourn across state borders to a special prom store where all the dresses, I was certain, would have price tags to rival my wedding dress, I found my motivation. We high-tailed it over to the mall and hit Macy’s hard.

Macy’s to my delight was a prom dress wonderland. Before us dresses stretched to the horizon, which in this case was just the barren white wall of the department store. The dress department on the second floor of Macy’s resembled as the scene in Elf after Buddy decorated for Santa’s arrival only it was festooned with the sequins, satin and lace of 10,000 prom dresses. As much as I marveled at the selection, I also felt apprehensive. Episodes of “Dual Survival” flashed through my mind. The situation in Macy’s dress department was very much like the the scenarios in the show where two survivalists are dropped into a remote, inhospitable environment and they have to rely on their outdoor survival skills in order to find their way out. This was “Dual Survival: Prom Dress Edition.” I feared if I plunged into the dark heart of the dress jungle, I might lose my bearings and never see the light of day again. Everywhere I turned dress racks loomed. If I journeyed into the interior, I’d be bushwhacking my way through tulle and organza, becoming dehydrated and disoriented until I crumbled to the ground  – where under piles of taffeta, charmeuse, beads, rhinestones and crystals I’d die, cold and alone, on the worn, grey industrial-grade carpet of the Macy’s at Willowbrook Mall.

Luckily, I have mad mall survival skills. I made it out of Macy’s alive, but not before my daughter tried on nearly every dress in the store. As we surveyed rack after rack of full-length flowing gowns, I was somewhat flummoxed. There were plenty of dresses, but none of them looked like prom dresses.

When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event? By @OneFunnyMotha
Angelina Jolie or kid going to prom?

“Where’s your prom dress section?” I asked the harried sales clerk who was scurrying past buried under a mountain of ball gowns.

“This is the prom dress section,” she said as she raced past before vanishing into the vast, dense forrest of evening-wear.

When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event? @OneFunnyMotha
Your teen daughter or Cardi B?

I looked over the selection. “Do they know these kids are in high school?”

When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event? By @OneFunnyMotha
Not a prom dress.

The dresses were pretty. They just weren’t promy. There were backless dresses and two-piece numbers and gowns with sheer bodices strategically covered with lace applique. There were side cutouts and plunging V-necks and mesh panels across the abdomen and Angelina Jolie slits up the front and slinky, skin-tight fabrics. I wasn’t shopping for Rihanna or a Kardashian, and my daughter wasn’t going to the Met Gala. She’s a 17-year-old kid. I’d kind of like her to look like that.

When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event? By @OneFunnyMotha
Christina Aguilera or high school kid?

Unfortunately, our culture seems insistent upon forcing kids to grow up way faster than necessary. I’m not sure why. There are precious few years to be a child and way more than enough time to grapple with the responsibilities of adulthood. I’m not opposed to my daughter growing up or wearing a sophisticated dress. I just don’t see the rush in making our children look like mini adults or dressing them as if they are going to a red carpet event. If my kid was going to one or was a bridesmaid in a wedding, one of those dresses might have been fitting. Considering she’s going to a prom, I’d like to see her in a prom dress.

When Did the High School Prom Turn Into a Red Carpet Ready Event? By @OneFunnyMotha
Not a prom dress

What Every Mother Really Wants for Mother’s Day

To be childless.

It’s that simple really. If she’s been with the kids 24/7 for the past 2,190 days, give her a day off. Allow her one day of peace and quiet. She deserves it, and really it’s not all that much to ask.

Don’t bother with the flowers or the perfume or the heart-shaped jewelry on Mother’s Day. They don’t rank high on her list. Don’t even bother with breakfast. The best thing you can do for the woman you love, the mother of your children, is to grab the raucous bundles of non-stop frenetic joy and hit the road. Make sure you’re up at the crack of dawn to intercept the kids just before they barge in, shrieking, “Happy Mother’s Day,” and dive bomb the bed where your wife was – until that very moment – blissfully sleeping. Let the woman get a full eight hours. She’s been going on a solid 4 since the birth of your first kid six years ago.

What Every Mother Really Wants for Mother's Day
Doesn’t she look happy? It’s because she doesn’t have kids.

Pack up your kids and go. No one cares where. Just go. Take them to the park, the racetrack, the corner bar, the nightclub, wherever. Just bring them back alive, and I promise you there will be no questions asked.

I’m not really sure how this isn’t the way Mother’s Day is actually celebrated. It seems to me that if the whole purpose of the day is to celebrate the woman who keeps this three-ring circus running non-stop continuously and for perpetuity, the best way to express appreciation for all she does is to allow her a few hours off. Because the celebration part gets a little lost if she’s still doing all the work she normally does.

What Every Woman Really Wants for Mother's Day
Doesn’t she looked relaxed? It’s because she doesn’t have kids.

So this Mother’s Day celebrate mom by going away. OK? That’s the best gift anyone could give her. But don’t forget to come back. She’s bound to be hungry by the end of the day, and she’ll be expecting dinner. After a good 12 to 15 hours she might also miss her family. The time alone will give her the perspective she needs to appreciate the most important people in her life, and of course she’ll want to open the homemade gifts of wagon wheel pasta necklaces and stick figure portraits because really that’s the best part of the day.

Ladies, if you’ve got a better gift idea, I’d love to hear it, but I sincerely doubt anyone can top this. I’d also love to  know what the best Mother’s Day gift you ever got was because kid gifts are the best. Mine was a wagon wheel pasta necklace circa 2005.

This .5K Run is Exactly How Every Race Should Be

You may have already heard about the race “for the rest of us.” It happened over the weekend in Boerne, TX, but it’s just too great to let go without comment.

The good people of Boerne came up with the only race that makes any kind of sense, a .5K one. You read that right. PIONT 5K. These are my people. They understand running is stupid. Why would anyone run unless it’s after the ice cream truck? Cars were invented for a reason, people. We don’t have to run anymore.

I have a few friends who like to do marathon and whenever they ask me if I want to sign up for a race with them my response is always the same. “Why would I want to do that?” What about slogging through 26 torturous miles of agony sounds like a good time? I think I’ll have to pass. You go run your New York City Marathon. I’ll be here on my couch in my jammies leisurely sipping my coffee and shoveling a thick stack of warm, fluffy pancakes into my face. Have fun, though!

.5K Race for the Rest of Us in TX

This 500-yard run is truly a race for the people, though, welcoming those of all skill levels, the conditioned and unconditioned, underachievers and overachievers alike. The event, scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 11:05 a.m., saw the need for participants to have time to do other things with their Saturday. Like not running. But that’s only if participants didn’t stop at the refueling station. Realizing people might get hungry or fatigued during the challenge, the organizers arranged for a coffee and doughnut station at the mid-way point. Budgeting in time for a pitstop organizers estimated the race would take “like 10 minutes.”  

The event organizers left no detail overlooked. They had plenty of beer on hand and a medical tent, which the claimed may or may not be staffed so participants competing the grueling .31 mile course may or may not have their injuries addressed. And in classic Boerne .5K style, runners didn’t have to wait until the end of the race to throw back a beer. A free pint was handed out at the starting line.

All those who were able to finish the race received a medal and a .5K sticker to proudly display on their car windshields. For those for whom 500 yards is simply too far, the race offered a VIP option. For an additional $25 runners could dispense with the running altogether. VIPs receive an even larger medal as they’ve earned it.

This is one race I’d actually like to do. And I’m not alone. Plenty of proud underachievers flocked to sign up, and the event filled way ahead of race day, which is great because this good time supports a good cause, raising money for a local charity.

The popularity caught the organizers by surprise. On the sign-in page they wrote, “We really had no idea we would have this many people sign up.” 

They should have. This is genius.

To satisfy demand, the ingenious organizers came up with another ingenious idea. They introduced the “Procrastinators Prize Pack.” Their Facebook Page stated, “For a limited time only, for only $25 you too can pretend like you participated in the race. You’ll get a t-shirt, the participation medal and the super pretentious oval 0.5k bumper sticker.”

I never thought I’d say this, but I might have to move to Texas.

The Biblical Story of Jesus and the Christmas Narwhal

Okay, so maybe there is no biblical story of Jesus and the Christmas Narwhal, but there should be because the undertaking to procure a Christmas Narwhal is of biblical proportions. It all started out one night in Bethlehem. Actually, it all started out one night in Target. That’s not true either. It all started out, as most things in my life do, on the computer.

On a wintery eve in early December right after the cows were milked, the sheep attended to and the kids settled in on their straw mattresses for the night, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a vision of the most delightful sparkly creature I’d ever seen.

I was so excited I penned (or typed) a message alerting the masses to my discovery. Here’s what I said: “Guys, I just found out this existed. I MUST have him. He will compliment my lit tinsel Christmas Pig  perfectly. The moment I laid eyes on him I was like, ‘Oh, hells yeah I’m logging onto Target right now and ordering me up a Christmas Narwhal.’ Because nothing says Christmas quite like a decorative tinsel narwhal. But Target refused to sell it to me. Holiday narwhals are no longer available online. They’re only available in stores so naturally I searched all the stores within a 100 mile radius, and none still have narwhals in stock. That makes me sad. I might have to expand my search to 200 miles. Damn straight I will go on a expedition to get me a Christmas Narwhal. But before I hopped in the car and drove all night in search of my beloved sea creature, I did another quick Google search and found the exact narwhal was being sold on Ebay. Only it’s gonna cost me. The vendor jacked up the price. There’s a black market for decorative holiday narwhals, and I just may have to pony up. I need him.”

The Biblical Story of Jesus and the Christmas Narwhal. So maybe biblical isn't the right word but it was a Christmas miracle and the best Xmas gift ever. By @OneFunnyMotha
Look how cute he is!

In truth, there was never a question. I was willing to pay any amount. And so slipping my Visa from my wallet, I turned my attention from Facebook to Ebay, and that’s when my mission took a turn for the worse. I clicked “add to cart,” but nothing happened so I kept clicking and clicking not understanding why the world was against me, and then I realized Ebay was sold out, too. I was bereft. Twice I’d nearly had him in my grasp and twice I’d been thwarted. 

Back on Facebook, a kind and generous soul who shares my passion for lit tinsel animal ornamentation alerted me to a Target in upstate N.Y. that still had a few in stock. I rejoiced. New York was at least close enough to be a possibility.The friend suggested I do a search on Target for only the stores that have narwhals in stock. I rushed over to the site and in a state of panic hastily conducted the search, praying to the good Lord above for a Christmas miracle. The store she’d mentioned popped up at the top of my search as the closest, and I began envisioning my new life with a narwhal. I was about to go collect the Christmas narwhal that was rightfully mine when I learned the Target was about 6 hours away. Once again my hopes were crushed.

Those early days in December were a series of highs and lows for me, but I was certain of one thing. I wouldn’t give up on the Christmas Narwhal. I couldn’t. I had to keep going.

Another fellow narwhal enthusiast provided me with a bit of hope with her suggestion of using Task Rabbit to get someone to pick up the narwhal and ship to me. And just then another idea crept into my brain. When I’d Googled the distance from my house to the Target store, a list of suggested locations to search automatically popped up. By sheer luck the very first suggestion had been Buffalo. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now a light bulb went on. My niece went to school up in Buffalo.

I got on the horn, which today means I got on Facebook messenger to contact her immediately. Here’s how it went down:

And she said:

And then

If you couldn’t read that I said I almost had a heart attack. Don’t do me like that, Target. Then I thanked her for making all of my dreams come true and told her I would allow selfies with the Christmas Narwhal, but I did trust she would handle him with care.
At receiving this news, I took to Facebook to report back to all those who had been following my narwhal journey closely. I knew they were desperately waiting to hear word. Here’s what I had to say:
“In my last post about it, I affirmed I would never give up, and I haven’t. I’ve been plotting and scheming and devising a way I can get my hands on that adorable little guy who would bring so much joy to my life and to the lives of all those who pass by my home. Since I live by a park that’s a considerable amount of people. I’m not just in this for myself. As usual I’m thinking of those less fortunate without narwhals in their lives. I’m literally bringing joy to the world here. 

I’ve contacted a willing family member who shares my appreciation for festive holiday creatures to join me in my mission. As we speak she should be
 securing one of the last remaining narwhals in the contiguous United States. He’s kind of like an endangered species. I’ll soon lay out the whole saga of my initial discovery of the narwhal, my foiled attempts to acquire him and ultimately my triumph when I refused to give up.”
When you MUST have a lit tinsel Christmas narwhal to go with your lit tinsel Christmas Pig
Best friends.
And that’s the story of Jesus and the Christmas Narwhal. I have to believe there was some divine intervention at play in bringing the two of us together. I was being tested in my faith like Job, and when the narwhal showed up on my doorstep last night, I do believe it was something of a Christmas miracle.

Facebook Battles

As you may or may not be aware, I got into a little Facebook Battle the other day with a follower of my page. It was over an article I posted about a super-fan of Taylor Swift (maybe it was this follower) who posted a photo of the celebrity on Twitter (a rather bad one, I must say, which only negated his point) and asked the people to “Name a b*tch badder than Taylor Swift.” (Editors note: *I bleeped out the profanity because I cannot stand that word. It’s one of the most derogatory, demeaning, sexist things you can say, but that’s a Facebook Battle for another day.)

The people responded. Although not in the way the Tweeter expected I’m sure.

When I read the tweets I was instantly in love. They were the best tweets I and perhaps the world had ever read. And I said so on Facebook.

“Guys, these tweets are THE BEST. All of them. Every last one of them. You MUST read about the incredible women the peoples of Twitter wrote about. I’m glad these people injected a little reality into the overblown and trivial nature of such an inane question and provided a little perspective. And really just about any woman is more badass than TS. TS may be many things, but badass isn’t one of them no matter how hard she tries.”

The whole thing was captured on Bored Panda, which funnily enough happens to share my opinion.

Name a badder woman than Taylor Swift? I've got a few. As evidence nothing said on the internet goes without controversy, my opinion caused an epic Facebook Battle. By @OneFunnyMotha
What’s going on with that hair? That hair automatically nullifies any claim to badassery. TS is not an ugly woman. Why do they always make her look like a goon? All of her stylists need to be fired immediately.

As as proof that nothing said on the Internet can be without controversy (even when you’re saying something funny, accurate and in honor of truly remarkable women) someone took issue with my post. I usually don’t get involved in Facebook battles because ain’t nobody got time for that, but this one struck a nerve. The commenter called me mediocre, and I’ve always considered myself marginally better than mediocre. I’ve been called plenty of things online – a bad mother, an entitled elitist (in response to a food shopping meme I created), an idiot – but mediocre was the most damning. Well, that and implying I’m a bad feminist on my own page, which the commenter reads of her own free will and for which she pays approximately nothing. I had to respond.

“If I’m so mediocre, why the f#ck are you reading my posts?”

Man, that felt good.

But it was only the beginning. The whole ordeal when down a little something like this:

She said, “So Taylor Swift gets shit on because a fan made a silly comment about her? Pretty sure anyone who donates as much money to charity as she does, and stands up to some old, white perv who grabbed her ass at a meet and greet thus setting a standard for all women who don’t deserve that NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE or how rich and famous they are, deserves a little less grief from a mediocre at best blogger/”writer.”

So I said, “If I’m so mediocre, why the f#ck are you here? And I’m pretty sure TS didn’t ‘set the standard’ for not grabbing someone’s ass. That’s pretty much been the standard – whether people abide by human decency or not. But if you want to talk about going to bat for women’s rights and equal treatment perhaps you should look up Anita Hill, who single-handedly and without much support, brought the term “sexual harassment” into the national consciousness and paid a hefty price for it while paving the way for women like TS and all the rest of us to speak out against sexual harassment and assault.”

And she said, “Yeah, I’m familiar with Anita Hill. And just because she went through it or any other woman who is harassed or objectified doesn’t negate another one. It isn’t a pissing contest. That’s the point. That is the EXACT reason the hashtag metoo has been trending. If you are so supportive of all these women and their journeys, maybe you shouldn’t pile on another one. ? Kinda defeats the purpose and makes you look like part of the problem.” 

I always like when people use emojis in their debates. It really reinforces their argument.
And I said, “What I’m saying is TS trials don’t really compare to all the stories people tweeted of women who survived the gas chambers at Auschwitz and went on to lead an all-female revolt or the woman who set up rape crisis and domestic abuse centers across the country. And I don’t really know how this turned into a convo about TS taking a stand against sexual harassment because this article and what I was commenting on was in regard to her attempt to rebrand herself from a sweet and innocent girl who writes love songs into some sort of tough chick to be feared when that’s comical and obviously false.”
And she said, “Pretty sure she never said or implied she was to be ‘feared.’ It is called branding. (Editors note: I know it’s called “branding.” That’s why I said it in my comment above.) And God forbid any artist express themselves through their music or let’s say….hmm…writing?!? The reason I commented is you saying she in some way is responsible for proving her “badassness” because some fan said so and how dare TS put herself in a category of someone who survived the holocaust (Editor’s note: I never said how dare TS put herself in the category of someone who survived the Holocaust because TS never actually did that. The Tweeter posed the question, the peoples answered and I agreed.) When in fact, she is just doing her thing. She also happens to have been in the media for putting herself out there as being a victim of sexual assault. I don’t judge other women’s experiences on severity level. When teaching my daughters, I look for ALL kinds of women who have something to add to the female narrative. Super fascinating that she is now on the cover of Time magazine for you know….being a badass. #silencebreakers #badass
So I said, “I don’t know if TIME is really the source you want to go with for smart, insightful, discerning news. They also named Trump person of the year in 2016. And in 2015 they called to ban the word “feminist” so there goes their credibility as champions of ‘badass’ women. TIME is a glorified version of People magazine, which is probably why Meredith Corporation recently bought the underperforming magazine. They need to sell copies so they slap celebrities on the cover because they know people like you will eat up very last bit of the celebrity-worshipping drivel they are serving up. I personally have nothing against TS. In fact, until recently I was a champion of hers. I never liked her music, but I admired her hard work, ambition and moxie. She wasn’t involved in sandals, she had clean music and she carried herself with dignity. I thought she was a good role model (one of few) for young girls. My issue is with this ridiculous and comical rebranding. The last thing TS has ever been is some hardened, leather-clad, rapping badass. And you don’t have to ‘say’ you are a badass in order to try to give that impression. And that’s what it is. An impression. Because we all know who TS is. She’s been in the public eye since she was like 14. I’m not saying people can’t change, but I am saying a complete 180 is not very believable. Good for you for not judging ‘other women’s experiences on severity level.’ You are clearly a better woman than I. I do judge because I am human, and I will always stand by someone who has survived the Holocaust or brutal war or human trafficking or rape or any other horrific thing over a powerful, influential, wealthy celebrity who has all the resources and means at their finger tips. Because in reality there are severity levels. I say good for Taylor Swift. She should stand up for herself. But suing someone over grabbing your ass and leading a revolt in the Holocaust isn’t the same thing.”
Final editor’s note: When I heard on the news that morning TIME had crown #MeToo their “Person of the Year,” I thought it was a little odd given that #MeToo is a hashtag and not an actual person. Then again they also named Trump “Person of the Year,” and I’m not sure he’s an actual human either. I think he may be a demogorgon. I predict Stranger Things will have an unnaturally orange demogorgon in season 3. Then just the other day I learned the woman, Tarana Burke, responsible for creating the hashtag years ago to support survivors sexual assault who had been discarded and forgotten in the underprivileged communities where they lived wasn’t pictured on the cover and wasn’t even prominently featured in the piece but rather was mentioned 2,000 words into an article about “silence breakers” of which she was the initial one. TIME did have a few prominent, wealthy and influential white women on the cover though.
And then I realized I had a blog post.

25 Gifts My Kid Won’t be Getting for Christmas This Year (Or Ever)

Kids can be a little crazy. And Christmastime brings out the craziest of their tendencies. They think sky’s the limit when it comes to their Christmas list. They’re sure Santa has deep pockets. 

Well, I had to put a stop to that. Pronto. I mean I don’t mind them asking for some fantasy items, but when their list is filled with them, I feel I have a responsibility to keep their expectations realistic.

So I did. I started tossing items left and right, whittling down the list to a more manageable (and reasonable) 50 or so actual possible presents. Here now I present you with 25 Gifts My Kid Won’t be Getting for Christmas This Year (or Ever) if I’m being honest. Actually, I’m presenting it to you over on Parent Map, which published my piece all in the name of Christmas spirit. So go have a look-see and tell me I’m wrong.

25 Gifts My Kid Won't be Getting for Christmas
Wipe that smile off your face kid. You’re not getting the mini fridge.

I’m not wrong. Kids be cray. What crazy items are on your kid’s Christmas list this year? I’d love to hear it.

Sleepaway Camp Saga Continued Continued

This weekend I made another gruesome discovery. I was at the beach with my family, and after a day of sun and sand, I returned to the hotel to take a shower. I collected all my toiletries to bring into the bathroom, and it was then that I opened the soap case I’d previously packed for my son to take to camp. Inside I found the new bar of soap I’d placed in there before he left still in its original pristine condition – full size, perfect rectangular shape, free of grit, marks and dents. It had never in the course of two weeks been touched. He’d told me he’d used the showers while he was away, but apparently he’d never once used soap.

Panic-stricken I whipped around, holding the soap case out toward him. “What exactly did you washed with?”

“Shampoo.” He shrugged. What was my problem?

I guess I should be happy about that.

The real problem now, though, is I still have not received my son’s clothes from camp. We’re going on two weeks now. Even if they had mailed it out at the cheapest possible rate like turtle-express, wouldn’t it have gotten here by now? Did they lie to me? Are they trying to steal my son’s fine collection of Minecraft t-shirts? What is going on? WHY WON’T THEY GIVE US OUR USED AND POSSIBLY SMELLY CLOTHES BACK?

Remember how I found the clothes on the camp website when the camp told me they couldn’t find them, and I had to direct them to their own lost & found page with the picture of his clothes LABELED with his name because I listen to instructions and labeled every Goddamn thing that went into that suitcase? Well, somehow that wasn’t enough to get the clothes returned to me. I called the camp up the other day to see what the hell the hold up was because my son has no clothes other than the ones he was wearing the day he came home. When I explained the situation, the woman on the phone said she would look into it. She didn’t inspire much confidence, and I was starting to think we may never see those clothes again, but when she got back to me she said she had located them, which was good because I had already located them a while ago. The only thing was payment had to be arranged to mail them out. I was like nobody said anything to me about payment. The last I heard the guy was going to mail them to me. So I guess now I know why they were holding his entire summer wardrobe hostage.

“About how much is that going to run me?” I asked. She said she didn’t know but started talking about checks and credit cards and such for payment.

“Well, when you find out the cost you can let me know.”

“We can do it that way if that’s how you want to work it,” she said. How the hell else would I work it? How am I supposed to pay for something if I don’t know how much it is? Now I’m getting a little pissed because while this mishap isn’t entirely the camp’s fault, I feel they had a hand in it, but they expect me to pay for it all. Plus, they’ve had his clothes for close to a month. Summer’s over now. So I said, “This is his whole wardrobe. How was he allowed to leave camp without anyone checking he had his clothes?”

“Well, the pile doesn’t look that big.”

He’s a boy, I thought. He doesn’t need that many clothes. So then I don’t know what the hell they have of his or if I was ever getting them back. If mailing costs 20 bucks no problem. If it’s a hundred bucks, I can just get him a couple of new t-shirts or wait until next year when he’s outgrown everything and get him a new wardrobe then.

I never heard back from the camp. I was starting to make peace with the fact that I might never see his clothes again when the UPS truck pulled up in front of my house. I rushed to the door, breathless. The guy came around the truck carrying a sizable brown cardboard box. There written on the side were the words I’d been longing to see. “YMCA Camp.”

They came. They came. I didn’t pay for them, but they came just the same!

“Your clothes are back!” I screamed. “Thank God almighty. They’re back.”



Sleepaway Camp Saga Continued

We never did hear from Crazy while he was at sleep away camp, but when I went to the camp to pick him up at the end of the two weeks, he was in fact still alive and quite happy. We loaded up his stuff and drove home with him telling me about all the fun he had. A few days later when I opened up his suitcase, I found that ALL his clothes were missing. The only clothes he brought back were the ones he was wearing the day I picked him up. I asked him what happened to his clothes, and he said, “I don’t know.”

“What do you MEAN you don’t know?” How could he not know what he did with his clothes? Did they just evaporate?

Ahh, but that’s Crazy.

Then I noticed the laundry bag I’d packed was also missing. I figured he put his clothes in the bag and somehow left it at camp. Don’t the counselors do a once through before the kids leave? I wondered. I mean how do they not check the cabin to make sure nothing’s been left behind before the kids go home for good? Maybe the bag got kicked under the bed, and nobody saw it. I don’t know, but I’ve given this a lot of thought because that was his entire summer wardrobe, which I had just purchased because he’d grown out of everything he owned from last year. Good thing I left 1 pair of shorts home so now he has 2 pairs of shorts to wear for the rest of the summer.

When you send your kid to sleepaway camp, and he returns without any of his clothes. By @OneFunnyMotha
At least he had fun.

I called the camp to ask about the missing clothes, and when I explained the situation, the woman there said they post pictures of Lost & Found objects on their Facebook page. I was like, “Well, I haven’t been checking your fecking Facebook page because my kid’s not in camp anymore.” But I didn’t say that. The woman said she hadn’t come across the missing clothes, but she took my number in case his summer wardrobe turned up.

“Thanks,” I said, hung up, and immediately logged onto their Facebook page where I feverishly scrolled through their pictures, and what do you know? I FOUND his clothes. They’re all folded up in a clear plastic bag (with a pillow I didn’t even know was missing), and labeled with is name. Still, somehow the camp is unaware of this. “It’s right there! It’s right there!” I shouted, but no one at the camp knows, and they couldn’t hear me shout into the computer. As I stared at the screen, my son’s belongings almost within reach, I wondered how the camp could not know? There’s like 2,000 missing articles of clothing all labeled with my son’s name because I actually followed to the camp instructions and sharpied every single object right down to the flashlight he put in his suitcase.

Now I have to inform the camp that they do in fact have his clothes. I wrote on the Facebook page and leave it at that, figuring someone will give me a call now that the clothes have been found.

Later that day I do get a call. It’s one of the counselors. He said, “We couldn’t find the clothes.”

“They’re on your Facebook page! I found them.”

“Oh, I’ll have to check with the woman who posts those photos.”

“Yeah, why don’t you do that.” But I didn’t say that. A little while later he calls back, and says they’re mailing the stuff out. So long story long, we’re getting the clothes back! Oh, and I think I figured out the mystery of what happened to them. When I found the photo on the Facebook page, the label or caption said something about laundry service. I knew the camp had laundry service, but you had to register and pay for it. We never did. Someone must have asked Crazy if he wanted to use the laundry service, and he was like, “Sure, you can wash my clothes.” Wonder how much that’s gonna cost me.

MIA at Summer Sleepaway Camp

So we sent Crazy to sleep-away camp a little over a week ago, and we’ve been without communication ever since. The kids weren’t allowed to bring their cell phones, which I wholeheartedly endorsed and which enticed me to send him in the first place, but I figured during the two-weeks’ time he was away he’d be able to call home at some point. We’ve gotten one phone call, but that was from a camp counselor the day after we dropped him off just letting us know everything was going smoothly. Evidently, and I didn’t know this because I’m unfamiliar with camp ethos, the kids aren’t allow communication with their parents except for writing letters. Which NEVER CAME. Not that I’m hurt.

In place of phone calls the camp posts photos daily on its Facebook page, but the page consists of about 500 unedited pictures in no particular order, and you have to scroll through to see if you can spot the back of your kid’s head in the bottom left-hand corner of the 405th photo.

When your kid goes MIA at Summer Sleepaway Camp

Apparently, Crazy’s camera shy because I’ve only found him in about 3 photos, two of which were from the first two days so I don’t know if he’s still alive. The camp advised parents to pack stationary with stamps, which I dutifully did, but nothing from my sweet baby boy has arrived yet. The past few days I’ve raced to the front door the moment I heard the mail shoved through the slot. Yesterday I was certain a little envelope would be there addressed in barely legible handwriting to me, but still nothing. The little brat hasn’t written me once. Parents are allowed to send email to the camp, which the counselors will then deliver to the kids. I’ve written to him every day. Mostly my emails are filled with questions asking why he hasn’t written me yet. This has not produced the desired result. I wish the camp had mandatory letter writing time because that would be the only way to get Crazy to pick up a pen. I know his silence is probably a good sign. He must be busy having fun, but two weeks is a long time to go without any form of communication with your child. I just want confirmation he’s having fun, that he likes it there, that he’s not home sick. Am I just supposed to take the counselor’s word for it? How do I know he’s not lying? His job is to make sure the kids have fun. Of course he’s going to say that. I’m no fool.

Before we left Crazy at the camp, I even quizzed him as to whether he knew our complete address. Remarkably he did, but I wrote it down for him anyway just in case. Maybe today’s the day I’ll get a letter. A mom can hope.

I don’t know how typical this is because I’ve never sent a kid off to camp before. I suspect it’s fairly typical, but I still want to know if I should be mad at him right now because I’m a little mad. Or should I just be happy he’s probably having fun although there’s no way for me to know because he’s never written me?

I finally contacted the mom of the friend he went with to see if her son ever wrote her because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only mother who’s son didn’t love her anymore, and thankfully she never received correspondence either. I was so relieved. BUT she did say she sent her son 2 care packages while he was gone. I’m like, Care packages? I didn’t know I was supposed to be sending care packages. They went to camp not college. And only for 2 weeks. By the time he received the care package, I would be at camp picking him up. Plus, what would I even put in the care package? The kids aren’t allowed to have candy or electronics, and those are the only things he cares about. So no care packages from me. But that’s ok because I never received a letter from him.

I guess we’re square.

The Little Things

The Listen to Your Mother show was swiftly approaching, and as my family tends not to pay attention to anything I do, I was pretty sure they were going to forget all about it. Actually, what tipped me off was when we were sitting around the kitchen table on Thursday night eating dinner, and my husband asked, “When’s the Listen to Your Mother show again?” After I finished rolling my eyes, I said, “On Saturday.” So much for my big day. I just hoped my family would remember to show up.

The day of the performance I had to leave the house early as we were doing a run through of the show and had to go over last minute details like how to enter and exit the stage, where our places were and for Pete’s sake not to ad lib anything. Just stick to the script, people. I was more than happy to oblige as I didn’t know if I’d be able to say what I’d written let alone come up with stuff on the fly.

Listen to Your Mother recap by @OneFunnyMotha
That’s me all the way over to the right.

It was going to be a full day. We were to arrive at the venue by 10:00 a.m. and the first show wasn’t until 2:00, which was immediately followed by the 5:00 show. Before I left I handed my husband the tickets, gave him directions to the theater and ran down the agenda for the day. My parents and my sister’s family were coming up to see the evening show, and they were all going to rendezvous at our house so they could follow my husband to the place, which is a little tricky to get to if you’re not from the area. Afterward they were coming back to our house while I attended the post-show cocktail party for a bit so I told my husband he’d have to order something for dinner when he got back. I would join them as soon as I could.

The show went remarkably well. There were a lot of powerful and heart-wrenching stories with a few hilarious ones sprinkled in. By taking part in the show I learned I do indeed know how to read, which was a huge relief. I wasn’t confident of that going in. And now that I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again. Throughout the 90-minute show there was not one flub or mistake, which was surprising given we were performing on a stage on a stage. Centered on the theater stage was a raised platform where we would perform our piece. I’d been nervous just thinking about having to cross a flat stage. I was afraid I’d trip, tumble and slide across the polished wood floor, knocking over the microphone on the way to deliver my piece. Now I had to climb up onto a platform without stumbling and falling on my face in front of nearly 400 people. How was I going to do that? And some of my cast members were sporting serious heels. I’d never in my life been more glad I wore sensible shoes. Even so I was convinced I’d pull a Jennifer Lawrence getting up there. Honestly, I don’t know how our news feeds aren’t constantly jam packed with photos of celebrities taking spills one after the next in their voluminous designer ball gowns and stilettos. How is it after centuries of red carpet events Jennifer Lawrence is the only one to have lost it in those designer deathtraps?

Somehow we managed it. None of us fell, and the show went off without a hitch. That day I learned I could walk and read.

Afterward when I saw my family, they greeted me with tears and flowers and embraces. As a writer working alone unaccustomed to others hearing my words the warmth and support was overwhelming. When I saw my husband he pulled me into hug me and told me he was proud. I couldn’t have felt more loved. Then he wanted to talk details. He said he’d already ordered a tray of chicken parm and had it in the oven ready to go as soon as they got back to the house. He’d even thought ahead and ran to the store to get some snacks and soda and a cake for dessert, all things I’d entirely forgotten about. And, he’d gotten me flowers. Not only did he remember to show up, he’d also taken care of everything.

The best part, though, came at the end of the show right after we took out final bow. As the audience stood and started filing out, my kids approached the stage, and I’m telling you I detected pride on their faces. I wasn’t expecting that. Even though they’re older, I figured the show was something I was dragging them to, not something they’d actually have an interest in seeing. After a good 20 minutes of sustained listening, I thought they’d be bored. When I greeted them afterward I fully expected to be met with long faces followed by, “Can we go now?” But that’s not at all what happened.

When the kids came up to the stage carrying a big bouquet of flowers, they were practically beaming. I bent down to thank them, and they each wrapped me a tight hug. I couldn’t have been more surprised by their pride in me.

The piece I read was about the adoption of my son from Russia. On our last trip to Moscow when we finally got to leave the orphanage with our sweet little boy and take him home, our interpreter turned to us as we sat in the backseat of the driver’s car and said how sweet they are when they’re little. She had a teenager and said when they get to be that age they treat you like a piece of furniture. I turned to my son who didn’t know a lick of English and said, “No. You’ll never do that to me, right?”

With my kids both being teens now I’ve occasionally felt like a piece of furniture. The night of the show, though, they saw me in a new light. They saw me as a person. I was not just a mom or a doormat or a chauffeur or an ATM. I was a writer who could move audiences with her words.

Photos are by Joy Yagid. Check her out at joyyagid.com.