Being a parent is one of the hardest, unyielding, and exhaustive undertakings one can encounter. It can also be very rewarding. I thought of myself as the ‘good girl’, the good child growing up, and my parents (if mom were still alive) would agree. They taught me right from wrong and I tried to attain that level wholesomeness. I wasn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination, but I wasn’t some rebellious hooligan either.
In 5th or 6th grade, I would tell myself (after being reprimanded for whatever reason) that I wouldn’t treat my children the way I viewed myself as being treated….. I could be melodramatic (insert violin music about now). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my parents were overly protective of me. I know it was because of my being the first born. There are times I would swear that my mom just didn’t want me to grow up too fast… even though it was happening before her eyes! In 6th grade, at St. Patrick’s Catholic School I remember being on the field during PE and running around doing whatever the teacher had in mind for us (usually running) and I realized that I had boobs! I mean, when they are bouncing around under my shirt, and actually were getting in my way, it was definetly time that I took notice (and others as well, as I had heard remarks under the breaths of some male classmates). I was quite certain that a bra was in my near future. Wrong! I was afraid to ask my mom for one. At this same time that my chest was developing into a protruding ledge, the hair on my legs was growing just as quickly. It may have been white blonde, but when I felt that I could braid the dang hairs, I knew it was time to get it removed. After talking to school friends, who wore bras and shaved, I decided I would tell my mom. OMG! It was as if I asked her to let me drive the family Rambler station wagon at 11 years old, while smoking a cigarette, in front of the Pope! “Girls at your age don’t wear bras!” She told me I was TOO young for a bra and TOO young to shave. (Ma, when my upper chest is larger than the rest of my skinny body, you would THINK you’d want them bad boys covered up and protected)! She seemed highly annoyed that I needed to shave my legs and said that would have to wait until I was older (Older? As in what? As in waiting for my wedding night?) Even though the leg hairs were as long as the ropes you climb to the ceiling in gym class, she wasn’t buying into my urgent need of getting it removed anytime soon. Or so I thought. I don’t know WHO she talked to, but within a few weeks I was given the OK to shave- and she bought me a bra. I was ever so thankful though for the bra. (NO training bra for me – went straight to the women’s department). I knew I was pushing my luck about a year later when we moved to Saugus and I asked her if I could have a ‘push up bra’! What was I thinking? And you can imagine the answer I got. I would never be that kind of parent….if my daughter wanted to wear a bra or shave her legs or call a boy, I would say ‘Go ahead.’ (Years later I dealt with MY daughter dying her dirty blonde hair BLACK at 14, and imagined what my mom would have done or said had that had been me! I know the answer, no imagination needed.)
I think back to my younger days, when my sister Patti and I were always at each other’s throats. We ignored each other most of the time but there was something ‘there’ that would get her riled up (usually me) and some small fight would ensue. My mom was such a quiet woman and never spanked us. She would raise her voice slightly and then we’d hear the mantra that has been sounded throughout all of eternity “Just wait until your father gets home!” We knew we’d be in trouble when those words were spoken. One night at dinner (I was 13) Patti and I had been going at since we got home from school. She announced at dinner that “Lori said the “F” word” and I didn’t know what she meant- but I could tell by my parents’ look that some epic moment had taken place. (I did not KNOW what the “F” word meant). I was royally reamed and began defending myself when finally, I admitted that “Yes, I called Patti a fart.” I got punished anyway and thought of ways how I would have handled this incident had I been the parent. Ha!
What comes to mind next, was reminded me of today and my ‘lip-licking’ incident at the gym. My facebook friends mentioned that the guy who nodded at me (after my lip-licking was done in his direction… and had nothing to do with anything, other than the fact my lips were chapped and I am getting over a bad cold). The word PIG came into play several times. Growing up female, you are bound to run in to the pigs of the world, unfortunately. At least I figured out rather quickly who would turn out to be a pig, pretty early on. Why do some (not all) guys act like complete ‘animals’? I dated one guy throughout all of high school, and was not promiscuous at all. In between our ‘break-ups’, I went on dates but I was determined to be the good girl that I was under the impression that I was.
If my parents had known about this back then, I think they would be proud of my reaction. They taught me well . Now Sheree, you may remember this. I was 16. (There were ‘Pigs’ before this event, but this one stands out in my mind). During one of my routine break ups with my boyfriend, our family went to Lake Tahoe in the summer of 1974. My BFF Sheree went with us and we met some guys who were staying in a cabin with their family and they happened to live in Southern CA too, a half an hour away from us. We swapped phone numbers and addresses and we promised we would look each other up once the vacation was over. We did. The plan was that we would meet at the drive-in (BIG mistake on my part). Sheree’s date arrived with another guy who wasn’t in Lake Tahoe, but I had met him a week or two before this drive-in night. He was such a surfer dude, shoulder length blonde hair, great eyes and smile but the guy was a stoner and a half! I didn’t do that kind of stuff and he was such a pot-head! I had driven my Mustang to the movies, and Sheree and her date were in the car that the guys drove in. I still remember the movie: “The Lords Of Flatbush”. Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler. Pretty bad movie. Well me and my date (Alan) were in my car, me in the drivers seat. He was pleasant enough for all of 5 minutes and then he became THE PIG of pigs. I spent the next 30 minutes fighting this crazed, pot smoking lunatic off of me. I couldn’t get out and leave…it was MY car! After drawing an imaginary LINE down the center of the car and me telling him that he had to stay ‘OVER THERE, or else’, he wouldn’t stay put. Then I demanded that he get in the backseat– or go sit outside in the gravel. The doofus got in the backseat! What a night! What a guy! (And what a sight this must have been! I felt like I was with my 18 year old son)! The longest 3 or 4 hours of my life. I talked to him but that was it! He was so out of line and I think I handled myself really well. I never saw him again. Can’t say it was any loss! He is on my ‘Wall of Pigs’ hall of fame in my memory. He had been decent the time I had been with him prior to this night, but geez-Louise…. ANIMAL!
When I became a mother, I knew things I would allow my kids do. I would be a fair parent (what is that exactly?) Nicole is the one who really did anything, really pushed our buttons. She was always doing something and was a pretty good child. She had tantrums and that was about the extent of her personality outbursts. When she hit 13, 14 OMG! She died her hair jet black after school, unbeknownst to me. When I saw her, I wanted to die! When Dennis saw her, I thought he was going to die….. and her too! We went straight to Sally Beauty Supply and got a hair color remover kit and made her get rid of the black. (This was so much different than my having to ask my mother if I could wear a bra for God’s sake). Within a couple years, she became the Queen of Goth! Her idol was Marilyn Manson and I wondered where in life did I go wrong? The outlandish outfits, hair, eye makeup (Oh now, that’s a whole BLOG in itself)! Her group of friends all wore black and when I’d drop her and Kimmi off at the high school each morning, I’d drive by them and mumble something about ‘the coven’. Hey, you GOT to laugh over these moments or else you’d go insane. I’d think back to MY childhood and there was NOTHING that compared to Nicole’s headstrong antics that she was pulling, in comparison to mine and my mom. My mom was irked if my Hot Pants were a little too short. I had to live through Nicole shaving off her eyebrows and then drawing them on, in the shape of stitches! I did learn however, the life of a Gothic Girl wasn’t too horrifying after all. Nicole did provide some humor for me (Don’t think she would agree it was humorous, but I HAD to laugh or I’d be in the looney bin). In her senior year at high school, she had to lug around a baby and treat it like a real infant. Well, her doll she created looked just like her. The doll had 2 high, tiny ponytails, Gothic black lips painted on, torn tights, black clothing. Black eyeliner adorning it’s eyes in the shape of ‘kitty cat’s eyes’. She hauled that baby everywhere and I still don’t know WHAT grade she received in the class for caring for it. She worked at Burlington Coat Factory during this time and said that the baby was in the backseat unattended during her shift….. Now that HAD to knock off some points! Then one day, she cut school (and told me about it afterwards) to go see, of all people, Marilyn Manson, who was at a Borders Bookstore. She offered him a sip of her drink from Taco Bell and he said something to her ‘about not wanting to exploit the Chihuahua’. (He was such a Class Act- HA)! Taco Bell was running those ‘Yo Quiero Taco Bell ‘commercials back then. (I see the cause of my gray hairs!) Nicole went to the prom one year and when she was ready to leave the house, I stopped and asked her “Who Died?” She was all in black (of course she was) and was wearing an old fashioned small hat on her head with an attached veil going over her eyes. Oh Brother, every parents dream of a Prom Picture! (I’ll have to dig out photos and upload……..)
Nicole always marched to the beat of a different drum and she is special because of it. She has accomplished a lot in her adult life. I give her so much credit for marrying a wonderful man (Steve), having 2 small kids, full time college student who will FINALLY be graduating as a special education teacher in the fall (2013), also is a licensed esthetician and does that in addition to her college classes. The stressing I did over her teen years truly made me go berserk more than once (as in crazy) but I finally realized she is who she is and would grow out of it. She did! My mom would never had been able to deal with this. Well she sort of did……… she had little sister Lisa growing up!
Humor has always been a part of me. (Can you see why)? It’s what gets me through the day. Now, still! Being a parent is hard, isn’t it? Rewarding too!