Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stolen from a tweet

Prelude to this post:

Yes, another mommy post. But with poetry! Poorly done poetry, but hey, it's an attempt. The thing about haiku is, when *I* write one, it ends up sounding like a stupid headline, like:

............Child shot on playground.
............Community is frightened.
............Film at eleven.

And while Patois is able to write three little lines that drip with the juices of evocative sensations, mine manages to wring the sentiment out of it completely, leaving the event stone cold and dry, dry, dry. (Not sure I'll continue with haiku. Or perhaps I'll start a "Shoulda Not Been Published" line of posts.)


I just tweeted about my kid's latest drama, wherein she gets a phone call, on a school night, from her friend Sarah. Oh-so-excited (and just a tad bit impressed with herself) that the phone is for HER! "It's for ME?!!"

"Oh, Hi Sarah! Yeah, tomorrow, uh-huh..." She starts walking around and around in a tight little circle as she talks. We're sitting at a folding-table outside a grocery store selling Girl Scout cookies. The phone call was placed to my cell and is a surprise to both of us.

I'm watching her face and it slowly morphs from ecstatic to reassuring, cooperative, collaborative (I can think of some people at work who could take a few pointers from her approach at this moment, probably I'm one of them):

"You don't like the song, because we didn't practice enough? Well, that's alright. We can do another song. We don't have to do that song if you don't want."

...and then from reassuring to confused:

"Oh...not at all? Like, the whole thing?"

and finally from confused to just absolutely crushed, as her voice gets quieter and then starts to quiver, and her face flushes into a splotchy mess of pink, especially around her eyes, but she holds it together (thanks to her father's DNA, I must assume, since mine is made of less stalwart stuff). She manages to speak in clear tones, with an upward lilt as she says:

"No, I understand. No, it's alright. Yeah, I know you are. It's okay. No, really, it's okay. Alright, well, 'bye."

...and now she is off the phone and she has tears in her eyes and she is so, so sad, so let down, so newly disappointed. She seems to be stuck in place, completely overwhelmed by this new feeling, so much so that she doesn't know what to do or what to say. She just looks at me, partly confused, trying to process what just happened, as she blinks the tears out onto her cheeks.

Her partner for the school talent show has called at 8pm the night prior to the auditions and canceled. My daughter is not brave enough to go through with the audition without a partner. I am feeling really not very nice feelings about the other little girl named Sarah at this moment. And I am aware that I am watching life happen. To a smallish person that didn't even exist on this earth nine years ago and is only here now because of me (well, plus a few other factors). And now she is walking and talking and getting phone calls and finding out that friends can let you down. And now I have to just take it and let it happen to her, as it happens to all of us, just as each of us, to varying degrees, has caused such things to happen to others, sometimes to our friends, and to loved ones, too. But this is a new thing for her. And for me, to have a front-row seat, to watch it happen.

And out of this are the bones of a haiku, that I stumbled upon while trying to express this experience via twitter. I'm not good at this, quite poor at it compared to Patois, and this is my first haiku attempt since 7th grade, I think, so take it for the feeble attempt that it is.

...........................I seethe when Q's friend
...........................backs out of the audition.
...........................Husband shrugs it off.

Haiku's are not for long-winded types like me, because there's so much more I want to express in those restrictive seventeen syllables than the part about the call and Q being understandably hurt and disappointed, but dealing with it rather well, and my subsequent anger/frustration/protectionistic response.

I forgot to add, in my narrative above, that this totally pissed me off (well, you probably picked up on that little factoid), and I tactfully shared my reflection of the event with my husband, who blithely responded, "Good. It's just a little After-School talent show. I mean, c'mon." and told me that The Evil One (3rd grader formerly known as Sarah) is just a little girl, too, and that I tend to get worked up about these things and that it is NOT alright to punch an 8-year-old in the stomach on the playground, especially when you're a mom, hence supposedly a grown-up who is able to keep some adult perspective on these types of situations. Harumph.

I'm thinking about changing the last line to:

.........................Family shrugs it off.

Because Q got past the teary part kind of quickly - cookie selling proved an excellent distraction - and because Q was empathetic to The Evil One's discomfort about performing.
It totally sucks when your own kid handles these things with more emotional maturity than you do. Not that I would let her know that (probably she already knows it on some level, but I don't have to come out and openly admit it directly to her in so many words...not yet anyway...I'll let her call me on it when she's a teenager and not one minute sooner!). Oh, not me. I'll just keep that info between me and a couple million people on the internet. Jeez-o-pete, I love blogging.


dgm said...

I'm not into haiku, so how's this:

Sarah, Sarah, Under-wear-a
Left Q hanging, didn't care-a
This pissed off Q's Mama Bear-a
Q learned life ain't always fair-a.

BTW, my daughter also had a "friend" named Sarah in 3rd grade who dumped her on a project and otherwise treated her like sh*t. Just sayin'.

Word verification: mummi

gudnuff said...

LOL!! Awesome! Yours is so much better. Love it. Thanks for s
making it fun to share.

Patois said...

I'm so sorry about Sarah doing that to Q. I can feel your seething. I'm glad that Q has let it roll off her back. She's like my little superstar daughter that way. As for the mothers? It's so dang hard to sit by and watch.

Now, about haiku. You know how little I think of mine. Damn, those OSI poets put me to shame. I feel like I'm a seventh grade girl doing it every time. (But your "added bonus at the beginning"? Hilarious! Never thought of them as headlines, but that was perfect.)

gudnuff said...

Thanks Patois! I'm wondering if there's a subcategory for: Haikus, Dragnet-style. I really love your stuff much more, though.

And dgm - Okay, the coincidences there are just freaky. And the word verification, too? Spooky. You have some powerful mojo, dgm.

Christie-A Work In Progress said...

UGH! So not ready for these kinds of things when my little girl grows up! Got teary-eyed myself! And you are a kick-ass writer! This was totally BRILL!

Hyphen Mama said...

Oh man! I am that over-sensitive person who was crushed in school and even the IDEA of watching my kids go through it gives me an ulcer. Yuck, yuck, yuckity yuck!!

Glad Q got past it.

Trannyhead said...

What a bummer! I'm glad she handled it so well. It's an important life lesson, unfortunately, but it's so awful when you're a parent and you watch your kid hurt and you have to just watch!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Wow. That is tough stuff. I, for one, am used to being able to control things. Don't like my position, you say? Ha! One hundred interrogatories are on their way.

But when it comes to children, it's a whole different ballgame. We are vulnerable, even sometimes irrational, and fairly powerless to intervene in these playground power struggles.

Great post.