"Wait, wait, can I ask you something?" "Sure." "What's your day job?" "Mother." "Really? Well, in another life, will you consider a career in radio, because your voice . . . it's like loaded with authority." "Really? I guess that comes from trying to get everyone off to school: 'EVERYBODY GET IN THE CAAAAR!'"But, now I'm really off topic. Here are some other reasons I will never be a MOY. Glancing over my desk, I see a paper that my darling 7 year old left here. It's a math paper, turned upside down. She drew a martini on the back. A martini! Complete with olives on a toothpick and the little umbrella. Did I mention, we're Mormons? We don't drink martinis. (Anyone know the the plural for martini?) This girl lives a seriously sheltered life. We have no TV. She goes to a school that requires a signed permission slip from every parent before you can share a "commercially produced food product" (aka "Valentine's treat"). She wears a uniform. Where did she learn how to draw a martini? But, wait . . . there's more. For 2 weeks she's been reminding and begging me to come to "Immigration" at school today at 1:00 (whatever that may be). Yesterday, I assured her that I would be there. Today, at 1:10, I remembered. After working out a small babysitting crisis (thanks, Jodie!), I got there 30 minutes late. I slithered into a room full of commotion and asked, "Have I missed it all?" "No, no welcome to Ellis Island. Please start at the medical station where a doctor will certify that you're healthy enough to enter." There sat Joanne, overjoyed that her flaky mother made it. She quickly started making grand gestures of checking my ears, eyes, heart, and throat. Thankfully, she declared me healthy. I moved to the registration desk where I answered a few questions and had my name "Americanized" to "Rose Ford." (Not bad for second graders.) Then on to the Ferry, after which I was sent back to "The Pen" because I had declared that I already had a job lined up, and apparently, that was illegal. (Wow, have times changed!) Once I was out of the Pen, I took the ferry to New York (a gathering of desks in the center of the room where other parents were sitting). Here, the teacher announces that we will now share the immigration stories of one of our ancestors. Thanks, Joanne, I guess you forgot to mention that part. I shoot her a look of dismay. She shrugs back, Sorry mom. Looking around at the other parents, I notice that the lady next to me is wearing a full Austrian derndle--her hair is up in braids. Another woman is wearing a hat and shawl. Two other mothers have prepared remarks--typed and with photos. Ah! No MOY awards for me this year. Thankfully, I happened to wear a long black skirt with a frumpy sweater and boots that, all together, create a look that reminds me of Froiline Maria's traveling clothes. The principal begins with his story. Oh good. The principal is here to witness. I quickly decide I'm going to tell Harriet Paynter's story of joining the Church at 13 and getting kicked out of her home, working as a maid for 5 years before she could save enough money to pay for her boat to America. Thinking about Harriet, I start to tear up. Oh, good grief! I absolutely can NOT cry for this thing. But wait, . . . was that Harriet or her mother? Or someone else completely. Incredibly, I have time to worry about my long-deceased grandmother who is going to hear me mess up her story. I am shamed! The lady next to me--the one in the derndle--starts to talk in a perfect German accent. You've GOT to be KIDDING! She's acting it all out in first person? Then I realize, she's actually talking about herself. No pressure, I get to follow a real immigrant! I get up, tell my story, cry a little (the only crier, of course), and sit down. The kids are unphazed. The parents look horrified. Oh, well, it's a good thing I'm almost 40. That would have been excrutiating 10 years ago. Just another reminder, I will never be a MOY.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Mother of the Year--NOT!
I will never be a MOY--Mother of the Year. Among MANY reasons, I don't have the voice for it. Not a drop of sweetness in my voice. The best I can do is 'authoritative,' and even that is rare. I once called into a radio program, said my 2 cents, and tried to make a graceful exit before I said something stupid. The host must have been desperate for callers, because he wouldn't let me hang up.