Taking pictures of myself with my phone and handing it back for the kids to see made 20 minutes of a 7-hour car ride bearable...until they started screaming at each other about who had the phone longer. We resorted to playing Earth Wind & Fire really loud for the next 2 hours.
My parents had a hideous divorce in 1996. My mom went back to her high school sweetheart, my dad refused to work for 5 years prior to the divorce to whittle down his assets. It got ugly, but that was almost 15 years ago. This year my brother's posse and mine all went to my mom's in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA for the 4th of July to the house in which we grew up. I was feeling bad about not calling my dad who lives 2.5 hours away, but 9 of us going to meet him at the Cracker Barrel 1.25 hours away just didn't seem feasible. On the morning of the 4th my mom sent Dick, the sweetheart, out to get the paper at 7:45 am. He came back with Peter, my Dad. Peter bellowed as he sauntered into the kitchen, "SUSIE! I'M BACK!!!" We had a civilized day. Dick served breakfast. Peter murmured something about how great the service was and how he needed to come up with a tip. Dick retorted, "Don't worry about it; I'm getting your car towed off of the lawn as we speak." The only acknowledgment of the historical ill will was in jest. I was proud of all 3 of them.
Meanwhile, the spouse of my best friend next door was accused of being an alcoholic by his in laws because he had a beer at lunch. I told him to respond next time, "I know, but it's really helping with my heroin problem!" Another friend who has an at-home flower business was talking about a new client, and her childhood friend said to her, "Which relative has hired you now?" The "friend" went on to discuss how stay-at-home moms are robbing their children of the opportunity to see a strong, happy, successful mother. What does a "trying to stay at home as much as she can" mom say to that? "Yeah, you're right and the woman you're paying to raise your kids is probably doing a much better job than you would..."
What is wrong with people?
People can be nice. I hear constantly, "How do you do it? You have a pottery business, AND 3 kids..." It's nice to hear, but I can't really pat myself on the back too hard. The women I've found to pay to raise my kids have been amazing. Our first nanny was Alissa. She became Sass. I would say objectifying things like, "Everyone needs a Sass!" Sass abandoned us for Texas although she's still part of the family. Our new one is Julie. A Julie just isn't as fun to say, so when I go to objectify her I've come up with, "Julie is my sa-nanny-ty."
We had 13 house guests last weekend. On Monday morning 2 out of 3 kids had wet their beds, (Steel told me it rained in her bed) and I hadn't coped with it. I admitted this to Julie as she walked in; she said, "GREAT! I was planning on stripping their beds today because I knew I'd be doing a lot of laundry to get the house back together!" On top of taking on my houseguest laundry...who responds to having to change 2 urine-soaked beds with GREAT!? She's a lot like me, so she'd probably done some quick mental algorithm about the statistics of both kids' wetting the bed on bed linen laundry day, and it was like winning the stingy New England housewife lotto. (I'm way too lazy/cheap to launder bed linens until something vile has happened) Julie was raised by Mormons in Utah; she refers to herself as a U-tard. Maybe Mormons are the lost tribe of New England.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I feel lucky that my family and people who aren't even my family have my back. When I look around it seems rare. Although next time my dad or my aunt berates me for trying to have 4 kids, I think I'll happily chirp, "You wouldn't believe the money I'm saving on tampons!"