I am officially the mother of a third grader.
How did this happen? Where did the time go? Just yesterday I was helping her take off the tops of the Play-Doh cans and wiping snot off her upper lip. Today, I sent her off to third grade and was refused when asked if I needed to help her get ready for her first day.
When did I become a mother? How did I become a mother? No, sillies, I know HOW I became a mother. If I recall, it was a rather spectacular drunken evening in an apartment on the West Bank around 2ish or so. On my birthday. For reals.
I never thought I’d have kids.
Not because I didn’t want them. But because of Bo White and an old wives tale.
I grew up in Jackson, MS during the 80’s. Why do you need to know I’m an 80’s child? Well, this way, it’s not so shocking to you to find out that I ran all over the neighborhood UNSUPERVISED and without a CELL PHONE to keep track of me.
I lived in the suburbs. My neighborhood was a wonderful place to grow up. I truly had a terrific childhood. So normal and fun and…..just perfect.
There were a bunch of kids in my ‘hood that were of all ages, but most of us were within a couple of years of each other.
My best friends growing up were Amy Wooten and Chad Hartzog. However, all of us rarely hung out together. Cause you know, Amy was a girl and Chad was a boy. And I, well, I was a tomboy. I liked Barbies as well as bikes.
There were other characters in our ‘hood. And one of them was Bo White.
He was a mean little bastard. I can’t even remember what he looked like. All I remember was dirty…dirty blonde hair, dirty fingernails, dirty feet and a dirty mouth. He could out-cuss Chad and that’s saying A LOT! I mean, Chad said words like “damn and shit”. Bo took it further… he said * whispering * the “F” word. Gasp!!!
So you can get a visual of my ‘hood, our little row of houses (not to be confused with row houses)backed up to another row of houses. Our backyards were separated by a ditch that ran through most of the neighborhood. Of course, it was our favorite place to play…in this ditch. I mean, it had craw-daddies, minnows, rocks, mud, etc….how can one resist?
Bo White’s house (I just like to call him by his whole name, it’s funnier that way) backed up to our next door neighbor’s house (the one with all the honeysuckle that grew on their fence that we cleaned out as soon as they were “ready” to “eat”…if you’re from the South …Lula…you know what I mean!). So, his house was just to the left of mine.
Normally, if we wanted to visit friends on the other side of the ‘hood, all we had to do was cut through someone’s yard (this was before the proliferation of fenced in backyards…not that that would have stopped us) and we arrived on the other side of the ‘hood. Easy peasy.
However, for some reason, we decided to take the long way to get to Rachel’s house this particular day.
This involved having to walk past Bo White’s house. If you think Bo White sounds bad, you never met his mother. I can remember hoping that the she-devil would not be outside when we walked past.
As we got closer to his house, we could see a big pile of….stuff….on the curb. It looked like a mixture of lawn debris and trash and stuff that you find under the couch that was recognizable at one time but has since deteriorated into something…else.
We breathed a sigh of relief when we didn’t spot anyone outside of Bo White’s house. As we got closer to the pile o’shit, I had the brilliant idea to poke my foot at some of the stuff to see if anything moved or screamed or jumped out at us.
Right as my foot touched the pile o’shit, Bo White comes running out of the house screaming, “Don’t touch that…it’s dangerous. If it gets on you, you can’t have babies and your hair will fall out and your teeth will rot!” (swear to God, that’s what he said, it’s forever etched in my memory)
Being the tough tomboy I am, I told him “You’re a liar Bo White and you’ll be struck down dead for saying something like that” and we continued on our merry way.
However, on the inside, I was not all calm, cool and collected as I appeared to be on the outside. Inside I was screaming and crying and worrying like only a little girl who’s only dream is to have babies can.
That little bastard cursed me. He RUINED my life. I was never gonna grow up and get married (cause who would want a girl who couldn’t have babies?) and have babies and stay home and raise ‘em and take ‘em to the library and the park and…and…and…
I never told anyone about what he said or how it affected me…until today.
It took a few years to realize that he was full of that stuff that he had piled out in front of his house. By that time, I discovered that I still had my hair and even though some of my teeth had fallen out, they were supposed to and they weren’t rotten.
When I was a “tween”, I heard an old wives tale that if you jumped from high places too much, it messed up your “girly” inside parts and could cause you not to have babies due to all the trauma from the jumping.
Yeah, I was told this long after I had been jumping off of walls and out of trees and off of roofs for YEARS!
I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to have babies. EVER. And I was sad about that…for all of 15 minutes until I saw Justin Westervelt in the hallway and promptly forgot about babies and messed up ovaries. But it always stayed in the back of my mind. You know, that place in the back of your mind where you still believe in werewolves and ghosts and Michael Myers?
Of course, how was I to know that in 1999, I was going to get knocked up by a Marine and have the most wonderful, beautiful, magical, spectacular girl on the face of the Earth?
You know what’s really funny/sad? When I found out I was pregnant…one of my first thoughts (after “Oh, shit” and “Oh, cool”) was “Eat it, Bo White and old wives tale! Look at me now!”
Yeah, cause I’m tough like that.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008