Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Today I went to the store to get a new *smart phone*. This is to replace my old smart phone that had faithfully served me for almost three years. This was the phone I had reluctantly purchased, not convinced that a stay-at-home-mom needs a phone that can keep an elaborate calendar, store information on everyone I meet and do everything but make dinner (although it does have recipes for what I can make for dinner, or make reservations for dinner, or reviews of which places serve the best dinner).

Fast forward three years and I am not sure how I survived *before* I had my smart phone. It keeps all my *valuable data* such as my calendar, contacts for everyone I know and most importantly, it provides me with valuable *apps* that allow me to look up important information while standing in the meat department of the grocery store, like "salt pork". The funny part is that this device is called a *smart phone* and yet I rarely use the *phone* part of it. In fact, when it rings I usually look around perplexed as to the source of the noise, despite my *very* distinctive ring tone (I am not joking, it is very unique, ask me about it). As a result, I don't so much as answer my calls as I retrieve messages people leave because it takes me too long to associate the *noise* with someone trying to call me. If the phone part of my smart phone were to stop working I probably wouldn't notice for several days, maybe more than a week.

And yet, the most important aspect of having the smart phone is the urgent need to have *a phone* with you at all times. Why? Because what if someone needs to reach you? Urgently! It occurs to me that this ability to be reached any time, any where, was not something my mother and her generation worried about. These were woman who left their homes, went to the grocery store and other errands and appointments during the day and *they weren't reachable*. I marvel at their risk-taking, reckless behavior. What if the school had called and Bobby had vomited or contracted lice? Heck, come to think of it, most of them didn't have voice mail or an answering machine either. So if the school did call, not only couldn't these women be reached while they were at Target or at step aerobics, but the school would have to repeatedly call until someone could be reached. Oh, the horror. It should also be pointed out that they didn't have the contact information on hand for everyone they knew so they couldn't call someone if they needed something. Urgently! Like salt pork. Why? Because these phone books were back home on the counter, next to...the phone.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that I can be reached quickly if Susie gets hit in the head with a ball at PE, but sometimes I wonder if things have gone too far when I start to contemplate whether the yoga instructor would notice if I snuck out to check if I have any messages. I am so obsessed with being reachable that I take the phone into the bathroom with me and set it on the counter while I shower. Just in case. I am sure there is a name for this type of neurotic behavior. Perhaps I can look up a diagnosis and treatment on one of my apps?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Letting Go

For the first few years of her life my daughter was content to let me select her outfits each day. I was fortunate in the sense that this willingness on her part lasted much longer than most little girls. Perhaps this is why, when the time came, and she began to assert her fashion independence, I wasn't willing to let go that easily. While most moms would probably laugh at the *creative ensembles* their offspring came up with I couldn't help but be aghast. Really? You want to wear that top with those pants? Let's be reasonable - how about this lovely top instead?And those socks are a travesty. Let's get out some nice white ones with the lace trim.

But really it was minor transgressions - shades of colors that god didn't mean to go together, the occasional clashing pattern, but nothing outright hideous. And I tried, I really tried to let go of micromanaging her fashion decisions. I realized that letting go of this one small thing was a good first step for me in a lifetime of letting go. Oh but how I cringed when she went out dressed as a valentine in head to toe red and pink. After several battles I vowed to let her make her own choices as long as they were seasonally appropriate (there must be *some* standards).

And then came the day of *the outfit*. She showed up ready to go to school wearing some horizontally striped boot cut leggings in garish jewel tones (how did those get in the drawer?), a bright blue and and red t-shirt from a soccer clinic she attended, black shoes, yellow socks and a lavender wind breaker. It was my worst nightmare. I may have gasped, or even let out a squeak of surprise, but instead of demanding she change I took several deep, calming breaths and drove her to school.

I was feeling rather virtuous in my tolerance and acceptance. I congratulated myself for *letting go*. And then the following week I got the Valentine's Day gift she made for me in class. A beautiful frame she painstakingly created containing a picture of her with the biggest smile I have ever seen, she was positively beaming. And she was wearing *the outfit*. Although I can honestly say that get up is seared into my brain forever, now I have photographic proof to produce when she is a teenager. It pays to be virtuous.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Capturing the moment

Back when I was growing up parents showed up to our sporting events carrying...nothing. Okay, since I grew up in Seattle they often carried umbrellas, but that was it. I don't think we even brought gallon-sized sports drinks with extra electrolytes in case someone dehydrated during the brief increments of time we were clumped together, *playing*, on the field. If any photos were taken it was by the *professional* photographer at the end of the season. That was the only proof that we ever played soccer. And yet I remember, as do my teammates, and my parents.

The other day I was at my son's soccer game. Like a good soccer mom I had my collapsible chair, my water, water for each of my children and my husband, snacks, the DSLR camera for *really good* action shots, the pocket digital camera for emergencies and the flip video camera to catch some action sequences. My son loves soccer like I love ice cream - too much is never enough (for those of you old enough to remember, this was also what Billy Idol sneered in the MTV promo ads back in the day, but that's for another post). So there I am snapping away like a mad woman. Shot after beautiful shot of my son playing soccer in the splendid fall weather in all his glory. It's the last game of the season and neither team has scored a goal. Then suddenly the crowd is cheering wildly - our team scored! I lower the camera from my face long enough to ask the other moms, "who scored that goal"? Your son, they answer. I had missed the moment because I was so busy capturing the moment. Perhaps next season I will leave the camera at home and savor the present.