Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beware of Old Mothers

Today, the girls at work celebrated the birthday of our friend, Janie. It is our tradition to take the birthday girl out to lunch (restaurant of her choice) and buy a funny card. The birthday girl reads the card and then passes it around. We laugh, we eat lunch and then we usually share 3 or 4 desserts. It's a good time.

We like the funny card part the best. We all try to out do each other on the (a) humor and (b) the appropriateness for the person receiving the card.  Luckily, we all love a good laugh and most have a bawdy sense of humor. We're a good team.

We used to make the birthday girl wear a crown or a party hat. We gave that part up. Today, we decided on a new tradition: we would continue with the birthday card - but no one would sign. Then the birthday girl would have to guess who bought the card. The bonus? That the birthday girl got 8 cards she could reuse! The birthday girl AND the environment wins!

There was another small party at the restaurant today. A family of four. A wee baby in a booster seat, a small boy and a mum and dad. I didn't notice them until the mum went to the ladies room  - they were behind me. The wee baby let out a yelp just as the mum passed our table. I recognized that sound, so well. It was the sound that translates to : "MUMMY! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME? I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING ! I AM STILL HERE - DID YOU FORGET ME?"  My head swiveled 90 degrees to look at her. I was transported back 20 years. I remember resenting not being able to go to the bathroom without some kind of protest. I used to set up the car-seat in the bathroom when I took a shower so that I wouldn't inflict any more pain on the baby. 

The baby at the restaurant calmed down as soon as her dad distracted her with food. And, even though I appreciated all of the emotional nuances of that instant, I longed for the days when my absence caused such a stir.

My kids tell  me that I'm bordering on inappropriateness with my interest in other people's children. In any type of social setting, I will gravitate to the children. I know they don't know me, and that I can't give them a hug, but I love watching them, giving them a wave or a wink. My kids think this behavior is pathological and that I should seek help. Bill agrees. They may be right.

Last fall, a sweet girl, her brother and mother came knocking at my door to sell girl scout cookies. She was a Brownie and proud of it. After we finished with our transaction, I realized that I didn't want them to leave. I asked the little boy if he'd like to look at the fish in my pond. He was kind of a wild and crazy boy (my favorite kind) who seemed bored with the whole door knocking business. He was carrying a sword (a.k.a. a stick from my driveway). He jumped at the chance to see the backyard.  As  I led them through the gate,  my own children's voices were ringing in my ears. Thank God the Brownie's mother was with these kids or I'd be arrested, I thought. Perhaps this was the first step in becoming that creepy, old lady known throughout the neighborhood:  "Ewww... run past HER house, she may try to EAT you!"

As I left the restaurant today, I stooped to pick up a spoon that the wee baby had dropped. I handed it to the mum and I didn't even look in the baby's face. Bill and the kids would be proud.

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