I always depend on the kindness of strangers
Here’s kind of a sad story from when I was unemployed, recently dumped, and with a new baby. As you can imagine, money was very tight. I would take my daughter to stores and malls just to get out of the monotony of being at home. I know parks sounds like a good idea, but the bathrooms in the parks around here are usually pretty disgusting and it’s just very hot in the summer.
So off to the malls we went. I could push her in the stroller. She would look at all the toys in various stores. And most malls have a kids play area somewhere. I’d sit and let her crawl or walk around and play with the other kids. Kind of like an indoor park.
There’s another thing some malls have and also a few stores and that’s those kid rides where you put in quarters and the ride moves back and forth and maybe makes some noise (like those pictured above). They are like $0.75-$1.50 depending on the ride. And this is where I realized I had reached a whole new low. I knew I’d hit my lowest point yet, but the moment I realized I couldn’t afford to spend 75 cents on a pink ice cream truck ride for my daughter is the moment I realized just the level of failure I’d reached.
I would sit on a nearby chair and watch her just move around the different rides pretending they would move. And sometimes another kid would come by and get on the same ride my daughter was playing on. Their parents right behind them quarters at the ready. I would move to take my daughter away so the kid could have his fun. And the parents would just wave me away and let them ride together. Sometimes a random stranger, without kids, would walk by and offer me some quarters to put in the ride.
I was so incredibly grateful for that as I watched my daughter’s face light up when the thing would start moving and the lights would come on. I don’t care if they felt sorry for me or pitied me or whatever led them to give my daughter those happy moments. I don’t care however lost or pathetic I might have looked sitting there. Thank you so much for those quarters. Thank you.
I get complimented on how smart, well-behaved, mature, and basically cool my daughter is. And I always so “yeah, I wish I knew what I did right so I could write a book about it and make a million bucks.” I’m not sure where I went right though, and perhaps I may be being premature since my kid is only 11. She might hit 13 and turn into a raving lunatic like I’m sure I was at 13. But I’m going to try and hit at least one point here that was very important to me since I became a mother.
My daughter, since the day she was born, was her own individual person. That’s the way I saw it. For a bit there I could of course dress her how I wanted and feed her what I wanted, but this is all a temporary arrangement. Soon she was going to find the things she preferred. Already as a baby she had toys she preferred and places she preferred and if she wasn’t getting those she’d cry. I look at and still see motherhood as me taking care of and supporting this new individual in the world so she can stand on her own when she reaches adulthood. She is her own person and I don’t want to inflict my preferences on her or make her feel that my way is the only right way.
This is Madonna. It’s hard for me to imagine Madonna as anything other than full of personality. I know at one point she was just a newborn baby. But there had to be a point early on when she was just a force on her own.
This is very tricky when it comes to my beliefs in religion, politics, and society. I’ve expressed previously how conflicted I’ve felt talking to her about these things because I have a set point of view and I know that my point of view is going to influence her. To make myself feel better I just remind myself that most of what I believe is about teaching good things like love and understanding as opposed to hatred, but I digress.
Let’s look at something simpler: fashion 🙂
As in clothing options
Story time! The other day I was showing my daughter how I plan to cut my hair when I’ve passed 50. So I pulled up a photo of Winona Ryder in the movie Reality Bites. Back in high school this movie was such a huge part of my life that I cringe now whenever I think of it. I refuse to watch it anymore. I see Winona’s character and I think back to the choices I made in life knowing, knowing full well, that they were the wrong ones. Ladies, take my advice, Troy Dyer will mess up your life.
Anyway, there were some happy memories there. and I’ll start with The My Sharona scene in the movie.
My friend Y and I would do this everyday at lunch. Whoever started go to be Janeane Garafalo, and without music, we’d just do the dance to the stares of our friends. We did this for months, perhaps even the whole school year. It was fantastic.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona…
Two Saturdays ago I went to the Lord of the Rings extended edition marathon. A week later I saw the Hobbit.
I woke up on the morning of the LOTR marathon thinking “wait, did I really agree to do this again?” And I had. I trekked over with my daughter and met up with the usual suspects, the same people who came with me to see the Marvel Marathon for the Avengers. This time though I picked up a new marathon friend. When I got there the only other person was a Hobbit. Or better said, a rather tall 17 year old boy dressed up as a hobbit. We befriended him and he gave us some twizzlers, I bought him a Starbucks coffee.
After making it through Fellowship of the Ring, for me the most boring, I found the rest of the experience to be better than I expected. I had forgotten how excited I would get during the battle scenes. The first time Theoden said “forth Eorlingas!” I almost wept. Almost. I was probably all cried out from watching the Theodred funeral scene. But the battle of Helm’s Deep was pure adrenaline. How did I ever manage to stay seated the first time watching this? I was ready to battle cry and run towards the screen. Same goes for the battle of the Pelennor Fields.
In between, as I talked to the tall hobbit about Tolkien I found that I know way more about the Tolkien universe than I remember knowing. That happens when you are in deep discussion about parts of the Silmarillion. For Tolkien’s sakes, my daughter is named after a character in LOTR.
An Unexpected Journey