Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On My Mind

So, lately I have felt that I have little to blog about besides my same ol', same ol'. But today I have fresh(er) material. Ha. It's not really so fresh, but I'm sayin' it anyway.

I love praise. Gold stars, high-fives, abject awe and wonder... any of that stuff makes me buzz and swell with inspiration to do more good. Heavy praise and flattery also makes me uneasy and suspicious, and causes me to look around and wonder, who are they talking about?

Hold on I have a point.

I cleaned my car yesterday. I consider time to clean a vehicle to be a luxury, and one I don't grant frequently. We live in our car. We are Southern Californians, living with summer heat, winter breezes and heavy showers all in the same day. We have 4 children all running in different directions and at different speeds. These facts are often reflected in the look of my vehicle, particularly the interior. It's the age of lunch, breakfast or dinner, on the go. We need paper and pencils, ketchup, empty buckets, spare shoes, books, erasers, yarn, water, towels, scarves, talcum powder, sunblock, hair brushes, and hats. Yes, Need. And every so often, when it is not raining or blazing hot, when we are not on our way out again or it isn't 9:30 at night, I divide and conquer. I drag the trash and recycling barrels to the sliding doors of our Jet Puff. Good stuff goes in a bag, and the rest is either tossed (like the apple core and the stiff sock with no heal) or recycled. I pack one tidy little box with pens, the hair brush, sunblock and talcum powder and any other indispensables.

Ta-Da! The car is clean(er). If fate is kind, I will even go so far as to visit the car wash, which is something I love to do.

Here comes my point.

When I drop Max off at school we are often met by the amazing and dedicated school volunteers that stand at the curb and direct traffic and remind us not to peel out after we drop-off our precious cargo. This is a painful time for me, and not just because I will miss my son and wish we were enjoying a holiday, but because the amazing and dedicated volunteers open the car door to let children out. It's like kid valet, and I guess it's nice. Or at least it would be nice, if I wasn't mortified. I see it... the long slow, nonchalant stare glance, the slight pursing of the lips the subtle eyebrow shift. And I know just what they are thinking: Good grief woman, clean your vehicle! And I bet they remember that I am the mom that never volunteers, willingly, and that I have yet to bring punch or cookies to a class party. They probably wait for me to peel out drive away and then huddle to discuss the fact that I did not buy wrapping paper, chocolates or refrigerator magnets at the the fundraisers. I drive away in shame. I rationalize all the way home, then I vow to change my ways and be Super Mom. Of course I forget my hasty vow by the time I am back in the house, clearing breakfast, dressing Maria and preparing for part 2 of my 6 part chauffeur shift.

It was with certain glee and relaxed shoulders, a modicum of healthy self-esteem, that I took Max to school this morning, gently pulling up to the curb and the morning volunteer. My car is clean. My conscience clear. I am Super Mom. And she... She didn't open the door! She didn't step up to my conestoga and take that causal survey of the interior... I was robbed of my moment, my non-funky mom moment.

BTW the photos are from our Rancho days, and serve to remind me that I once did have my act together slightly better than these days. They are brain and soul candy for me.


nikkipolani said...

Yes, but you really did it for you, right? Because when you do it for someone else, it doesn't work! That's the voice of experience talking... And I love that you have a method when you tackle the madness!

mtnchild said...

I still look on you as Super Mom! 4 kids and running all over town - Wow!

There is only 1 of me in my house, and it sometimes looks like there should be 10 of us living here. My house is smaller than the one I left 7 years ago, but I just CAN'T get rid of craft stuff. I guess maybe I should stop buying more . . . ?

Janece said...

How dare she deny you your moment!! ;)

And, in my book, no matter how scary your vehicle interior is on any average day - you are Super Mom. Look at your children, Natalie -- look at them... and know in your heart of hearts... that sensation of pride and joy they give you... yeah, that's the proof in the pudding right there. You are Super Mom!!

d.a. said...

That volunteer better watch out... I'm sure there are many, MANY Moms who have messy cars, and if that volunteer keeps up with the sour face, she's gonna get some deep wrinkles before school lets out for the year.

I agree - taking the car to the carwash feels luxurious. I love it. I don't have children, but my little hatchback hauls haybales, critters to the vet, bags of feed, lumber, and nursery plants/trees/soil. Between that and the pale limestone dust that is ubiquitous to our region, my little Subaru gets quite filthy, inside and out. Letting someone else clean the windows, vacuum, dust, wash & wax is worth the money (including generous tip). Driving a clean car always lifts my spirits.

warren said...

I was just fussed at for having a messy van. It hasn't been cleaned out in 6 months I bet. It'll be a few more until I do it again though as we are snowed/iced in pretty good now! Anyhow, congratulations on the clean-up!

Katie said...

I am jealous of SoCal's weather. Random, I know. But I am.

RE: The Ranch and the current situation: It's hard to love something when you really don't and never will. Perhaps that is the reason you feel less put together nowadays?

Tiglizzyclone said...

Regarding the volunteers. Isn't it terrible when you work so hard to make a change, then the people you hope notice ... don't notice? I know what that feels like!

Em said...

I feel exactly like you as I do the 'drop off' in the morning... It was like an echo in my mind of what I go through... I also LOVE it when I have a clean car... but it doesn't last very long. We also LIVE in our car.

jolaprosceno said...

I am sure that the volunteer looks at your car and says...someone just like me!