I swear, he’s a genius! (or; Smartmouthmom-the next chapter)

It’s been a bit hectic here at the old homestead. My adolescent son appears to be reaching near critical levels of hormones and I have been sorting out some health issues.

My son is very similar in personality to that chicken hawk in those old Looney Toon cartoons. I strongly identify with Foghorn Leghorn… my son even WALKS like that little bird. He is a bit on the smaller side but is a star athlete and is unafraid to smack talk much larger, older kids on any playing field. He isn’t afraid to use that mouth anywhere–including school.

Last week I had yet another call–this time it was the principal.

Me: Hello?
Principal: Hello! I just wanted to let you know that I was just in the gym, and I heard a very loud OH SHIT!!! It was so loud, in fact, that it could be heard over the game and everyone on the bleachers.
Me: I’m so sorry…
Principal: Yes, well your son said that you were picking him up in 45 minutes, but I thought you might want to know about this as this might change your mind.

Here is where I wanted to say: Well, thanks, but no–45 minutes gives me just enough time to have a couple of glasses of wine before I drive up to school and get this asshole kid of mine. Better yet, why don’t you drive him home? Better yet, let me sit here and drink and call my husband and let him pick him up? And really, to be honest, I’m surprised he only said shit.

But I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t even have a drink, I just drove up and fetched my son. And told him to watch his mouth.

Now–because I’m a comedian, I posted about this on Facebook–and I said that if this happened again that I was going to tell the school that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe you’re not challenging him enough and GOOD DAY SIR!!! (that last bit is an homage to John Oliver.)

The very DAY that I posted that, I got yet another call from the school. This time it was the teacher. She was calling to inform me that due to my son’s mouth and behavior, she had to eject him from the classroom. (SIGH) So I said….I’m so sorry….and I will talk to him….but are you aware that according to a recent Facebook article, swearing can be a sign of genius, maybe the school isn’t challenging him enough–maybe this is why he is acting out???

I could barely say this without giggling. I couldn’t help myself. The joke was already set up.

The teacher said, and I quote: “I saw the same article on Facebook–I don’t think the problem is his intelligence–I think it’s his mouth.”

It’s possible I may have cost my son some more time in detention for the sake of a joke. It’s also possible that my son is also destined for the stage as he said that the reason he was ejected was for talking during a movie about love or otters or something and he just couldn’t bring himself to watch it.

For the record, I did talk with him about his behaviors and tried to explain that school may not be the best place to act out, and that teachers and principals deserve respect.

And now he wants to grow dreadlocks. I responded that I didn’t know he was such a Bob Marley fan and that I was going up to search his room.

Parenting. Not for the faint of heart my friends.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for (African) Superman (or, How To Blow Your Child’s Mind In One Easy Step…)

I don’t think anything gives a parent more pleasure than driving their children crazy. At least for me anyway.

This weekend I drove my youngest son to the brink of madness. And it was AWESOME.

It started with a conversation about Superman. Earlier I had read an online article about how Superman’s skin should actually be dark as he derives his energy from the sun. The argument then went on to state that Superman should actually have brown or black skin. Now, one would think that my son, the AFRICAN, would embrace this idea.

Not so much.

Quite frankly, the thought of that blew his mind.

We argued back and forth for quite some time. He yelled that changing Superman would alter all the comics for the last seventy years. I yelled that they had changed Green Lantern to a darker toned person… my son grew angrier and said that Green Lantern was NOT a major superhero… I said to tell that to Green Lantern… I accused HIM of being a superhero racist…He told me I was IMPOSSIBLE…and that if I wanted to change superheroes so much, what about BATMAN?? COULD BATMAN BE BLACK???

I replied probably not because Batman was rich and had a butler (and then I cracked up…waiting for his wrath…)

This drove him blind with fury and he accused ME of being a racist…

For the record, neither one of us is racist. Just to be clear.

And shortly after this heated exchange my husband drove my son to the comic book store to buy the new Black Panther comic (which I looked through quickly just to make sure it wasn’t pornographic, only to have my son inform me that it wasn’t and tell me the name of the graphic novel that was. Good to know that he knows these things. Sigh…)

If you have children, go have a debate with them. Make them stand their ground. Drive them a little bit crazy. It will make them critical thinkers and maybe develop a sense of humor. It will also be a bit fun for you…

Later that night we all watched the “Captain America”movie, blanket pulled up, arms all over each other.

Family.

Peace people.

 

 

 

Driving For Direction (or, Pandas Gone Bad..)

I took my two sons and a visiting friend on a short vacation down to North Carolina to visit my oldest daughter last week. I wanted to see her, I wanted to see some sunshine, and I needed to clear my head.

A ten-hour drive, each direction, will give you some time to think.

I needed to figure out where I am going with my life, my career…was it worth putting the effort into comedy or should I quit now before I get too invested… I was feeling stressed from trying to do it all, from trying to break into formed social groups, from watching the hatred being spewed out on political television… I needed a break.

I drove from Michigan, through the farm lands of Ohio, then through the gentle mountains of West Virginia. We stopped for lunch somewhere there… at some small roadside “town.” We flipped a coin over the two restaurant choices and walked into the winner.

As we pushed open the doors and entered, we found ourselves facing┬áthe largest display of the Ten Commandments I had ever seen. Ever. I mean, I have seen smaller billboards on the highway. They were displayed on a table, filled with all sorts of religious artifacts… I wasn’t sure if I had stumbled into a makeshift altar and a sacrifice was about to take place, or a spontaneous Baptism–all I knew was that it freaked me the hell out and before I could stop myself I burst out loudly “HOLY SHIT!!!”

In my defense, at least I said holy. Just saying.

My youngest son’s eyes were as big as saucers… he started to dart them back and forth…clearly out of his comfort zone as well… he whispered to me that he was concerned for his safety… I assured him that we were fine…although I wasn’t entirely convinced myself..

We ate our crappy lunches and beat it. Lesson learned.

Later I was nearly pushed off the road by a semi truck that failed to see me…I drove onto the shoulder and somehow managed to speed up and zip in front of him without rear ending the semi in front of me…this still in the mountains…all very exciting…as my Mighty Explorer is well-known as being a performance automobile (insert sarcasm here..).

The best part of the trip (besides spending time with my children) was going to the science center in Charlotte. There we innocently bought tickets to the IMAX panda movie–a documentary about preserving the pandas in China.

HOLY SHIT.

It began innocently enough. Panda preserve, female panda, needs to get pregnant to keep the panda population going. Ok, so far so good… They put her in a pen and brought out this young male panda, who is a bit rough, so she rejects him, so they brought out (and I quote) “an older, more experienced male.” At this point I’m giggling. No shit. The panda lady was like “Get that asshole young kid away from me with his cheap ass beer– I want the older guy with the stable job and the fine wine and a fully stocked liquor cabinet–with the GOOD STUFF–and a good retirement plan. AND that knows what the hell to do in bed.”

Jesus, even PANDAS know this shit.

So the female panda gets pregnant and has twins but she normally only takes care of one. This means that every two weeks some poor worker has to go in and take the panda baby from her and switch it with the other baby that they are caring for in the panda nursery. Except she can get a little testy about this and apparently pandas can kill you with one swipe. I wish you could have seen how fast this guy ran. I mean, Olympic fast. No kidding.

Fast forward–now one of the panda babies is grown up enough to make it and they want to get him ready to go out into the real world. To do this (wait-I have to laugh here…) to do this (laughing again…) a couple of guys put on these really shitty panda costumes, so the panda WON’T KNOW that they are humans coming in to hang out with him. Ummm..

At first I was like WHOA!!! Did this movie just take a wrong turn??? Is this some kind of sick furry sexual film?? WHAT THE HELL???

The costumes were so very bad. I mean, this is CHINA for godssakes. One would think they could find a better costume there for their beloved pandas!!! And, the panda dudes were walking upright! Like Yogi Bear! Or the Country Bear Jamboree! I mean, WTF people!! Even pandas aren’t that stupid!

The best part was that one of the panda guy’s had to smear panda feces and urine all over himself to help convince the real panda that he was legit. I kept thinking that the other guy probably had a double-headed coin for that coin toss…gee guy, sorry, you lost again, bummer but you have to smear that crap all over you again…wow…

The final test was getting the baby panda ready to handle predators. The two panda dudes, walking upright, carried a stuffed cat. This was to be the terrifying jaguar to teach the panda to fear for its life. They smeared the urine and feces all over it and hid behind some bushes…waiting…ummm….

The panda walked by (walking on all four legs, just to be clear…) looked at the stuffed cat (and probably thought “who the hell put a stuffed cat in the middle of this forest? Assholes…”) Just then the panda dudes hit this tape recorder circa 1979 and this loud YOWL was heard. The real panda was like, “HOLY SHIT what the HELL was THAT!!!” and promptly ran up a tree (because he thought “JUDAS PRIEST when did stuffed cats learn to make noises??!!”)

Apparently this was a big success and it was decided that the real panda could now be pushed out of the nest and into the real forest to deal with real predators.

The End.

I have to say that thru the entire movie, my asshole family was snorting and giggling and laughing. Nobody else in the theater was. Sigh. We just could not take this seriously. (Ok, my autistic son was not laughing. So one of us was well-behaved.)

Which brings me back to the beginning of this blog. I was thinking of walking away from comedy. I really was.

But after this trip all I could think about was how I could make this into a new bit. Or how I need to write a television series. Or how I need to write some new sketches for the sketch comedy group I joined.

And to clone myself so I can be a mom and do it all.  That would help too.

Peace people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marching On…

I survived February. It wasn’t easy. It was gray here in Michigan…cold…and it has been a year since I stop working as a nurse. It hit me hard. All of it.

To combat all that I performed in comedy shows and started a fundraising effort. Fight darkness with light.

Some of you may be aware of the situation in Flint, Michigan. The toxins in the water there, especially lead, are dangerously high. I was born in Flint and lived in the area for the first eleven years of my life. As the mother of a special needs child, I can tell you I would have done anything to have prevented the pain it was clear he was in early in his life. The parents in Flint fought to be heard for at least a year and were ignored. The lead exposure to their children has most certainly done damage. The effects are already showing and will continue to be seen for years.

I contacted a local well known comedian about the idea for a comedy fundraiser. We started Comics For Flint. Through this comedians and venues can raise donations to be used for the various charities in the city of Flint to help those affected. We are having a large comedy show in two weeks–we are not personally performing–we have well known comedians in the area donating time and a comedy club has donated their room.

I am very proud of this effort. It has helped to get me through the depression of February.

Now it is March. The sun is beginning to return. I have the shoots of tulips poking up. I am turning my face to the future. I am fighting back with kindness.

And humor. Laughter helps.

So go laugh. Today.

Peace people.

A Reminder of What Could Have Been (or, Go out and watch this movie. NOW.)

Saturday started out with a bang. Or, with a lecture. My youngest son asked me to put the security code in the IPad… I complied, and noticed he was on a music site. Curious as to what he was listening to, I pressed play. HOLY SHIT. It was a hip hop song…I immediately looked it up the lyrics on my computer…HOLY SHIT… it was filled with all sorts of profanity, very misogynistic (something about I’m going to “blank” on that “blank” and then the “blank” can take Uber home..) Ummmmm…..

No.

I questioned my son about this…I asked him if he knew what this song was about…if he knew what all these words meant…he said yes…(OK WRONG THING TO SAY–although I appreciate the honesty…). I asked why he was listening to this.. he said that this is the kind of music they listened to back in Africa….

I began my lecture at this point. I explained that the women referred to in this song were in fact, somebody’s mother, sister, or daughter. I said that when he listens to songs like this, it embeds in his mind… and that eventually he could possibly think this is ok. I said that just because he listened to rap music back in Africa, doesn’t mean that is good for him.

I want him to remember his African heritage. I do. But not all of his African memories are good.

Later that evening, my husband and I watched the movie “Beasts of No Nation.” If you have not seen this, I urge you to do so. It is the story of an unnamed West African country during its civil war. It is the story of how one boy becomes a child soldier. It doesn’t say it, but I believe it to imply the country of Sierra Leone.

The country two of my children are from.

The young boy, Agu, reminded me so much of my son. SO MUCH. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie where Agu is unable to escape with his mother–I began to sob. I knew his fate. I knew that had my own son been born ten or fifteen years earlier… this would have been his as well.

The movie was graphic. It could have been even more so…it did not include some of the more gruesome atrocities committed during the war. The point was made without the inclusion of these. The young actor, Abraham Attah, portrays his role so well…I bled inside my soul for all those lost children during the war.

Those children that were forced to fight and survived, are now grown. They are still in a third world country, with a weak economy, ravaged by ebola and other diseases, lack of education and sanitation, poor access to water or health care…how long before this type of war happens again?

These are memories I am so very grateful my children do not have.

But for those children still left there, with no hope of being adopted out…every single one of them could be a spark of life like my son or daughter. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

My heart hurts for them.

Watch this movie and see if yours doesn’t as well.

Peace people.

 

 

A Silly Quiz (or, How does your child REALLY feel about you…)

Today I read one of those lists that you are supposed to ask your children to learn what they think of you. Normally I ignore them, but I’m spending a wintery Michigan day with the boys and thought, oh what the hell. I called my twelve year old over and proceeded to quiz him. Here are the results….

  1. What is something mom always says to you?
    READ!
  2. What makes mom happy?
    The beach or SNL (Saturday Night Live, just in case that wasn’t clear…)
  3. What makes mom sad?
    Snow (so very, very true…)
  4. How does your mom make you laugh?
    By telling jokes that I can relate to
  5. What was your mom like as a child?
    A punk/talked back/smart (ok, so guilty as charged…)
  6. How old is your mom?
    49 (and I just vomited a little bit writing that…)
  7. How tall is your mom?
    5’10” (insert me laughing now…as that is about 4″ taller than I am…)
  8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    Go to the gym, comedy, or to the beach
  9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
    Errands
  10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    Comedy
  11. What is your mom really good at?
    Being a nurse, awareness of everything going on around, reading
  12. What is your mom not very good at?
    Swimming (sigh, very true…)
  13. What does your mom do for a job?
    Comedy (now if I could only get paid for this….)
  14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
    Salad with prosciutto on top
  15. What makes you proud of your mom?
    That I am the only one that graduated from college in my family (I must insert here that my parents did go to junior college and obtained associate degrees)
  16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
    Will Ferrell (hahahahaha!!!!)
  17. What do you and your mom do together?
    Watch “Heroes” and play Star Wars by fighting with light sabers
  18. How are you and your mom the same?
    We both love to argue and are very competitive (ok, this is true. Uno can become a blood bath…as can Nerf archery–we shoot each other–or any other event…)
  19. How are you and your mom different?
    I couldn’t care less about sports (this is true…although when he plays soccer, I am fixated on that field…)
  20. How do you know your mom loves you?
    Because I cook for him and I went to Africa to get him (choking up a bit here..)
  21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
    He is loyal and doesn’t lie and is smart
  22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
    Key West or anyplace warm (I’m sensing a theme here…)

I had fun asking him all of these questions. I loved that he thinks that I am always aware of everything…that’s going to help me as his teen years loom in the near future. It also may have helped that I discovered his Nintendo DS hidden under his mattress today…that he took without asking from my room so he could stay up at night and play. Busted.

I should also add in that when I first asked him how we were alike he started to answer physical features… like our toes, and widow’s peaks…which I found just so dang sweet as he is adopted and yet he was still finding physical similarities. Again, tearful here.

Take the time to ask your children questions. Get to know them. Look under their mattresses. Look into their eyes and their hearts.

They will look back.

And if we are very lucky, they will continue to do so…their entire lives.

Peace people.

 

 

The Turkey Trot

Happy post Thanksgiving everybody. I enjoy the holiday as I get to spend time with all my children. It is a lot of work, with all the cooking. We make pretty much everything from scratch, and the kids help out. It’s chaos in the kitchen.

When we finally sit down to eat, I’m exhausted. I have a couple (or three) glasses of wine–hey it’s a holiday, and I generally end up with a mad case of the giggles from fatigue and alcohol.

Afterwards, when the dishes are finally washed up, my daughters and I go shopping. For the record, I believe that businesses should be closed on Thanksgiving. However, my daughters are not home all that often, and this is one way we can spend time together.

It is also a way I get to embarrass them in public.

Anyone that is a parent knows that this is an essential parenting skill, passed down from generation to generation. It’s tradition. It doesn’t matter how old the child is-my oldest is 27, my youngest is 12-we parents must uphold this time honored tradition as a means of keeping our sense of humor, our sanity, and of keeping our children in line.

My parents embarrassed me terribly. One of their favorite things to do was to pick me up in their motor home (good bye to my college money…hello to their travel dreams…) in front of my junior high, which was embarrassment enough. But not for them. To add insult to injury, my father, in a flash of comedic brilliance, installed a musical horn. Those bastard parents of mine would begin playing it–over and over and over–to announce that they were there to pick me up. Judas Priest. I wanted to freaking die. The look of complete insane happiness on their faces when I angrily stormed to the door, yelling at them to stop, for the love of god, stop playing the horn..I swear they had horns growing out of their heads.

It was absolutely brilliant and I am considering getting such a horn now to torture my own children with.

Since I don’t have one I have to do the next best/worse thing. It is well known that I will break into dance ANYWHERE. I must admit that this (blank) Christmas music does cut into my groove. SIGH. However, there are a few holiday songs that have a beat, and hey “Santa Baby” is a bit sexy, and well, after a few drinks, I’ve been known to slink a bit to the song. There are some stores that buck the holiday music thing (Hallelujah!) allowing me to fully get into the music. To say that my children are less than amused would be an understatement. WHICH IS AWESOME.

I will put on silly hats, I will talk to strangers, telling them that yes, that sweater looks either amazing, or sister, no, take that right off and try that one over there. I give unsolicited advice. Shopping on Thanksgiving is one big party, as most of the people in the stores are also buzzed (one lady approached me as I was trying on a sweater, and started asking me questions–she thought I was an employee–she was clearly very drunk, and I was like “DUDE! I don’t work here!” We cracked up and I pointed her in the right direction…)

We were standing in line, around 1am, and I noticed all these small children. Toddlers and babies. I loudly said “Who brings small children to a store at this time of night?” My oldest daughter punched me, and pointed out that directly in front of me was a couple with an infant in a stroller… I started giggling… oops… guess I shouldn’t have said that out loud… but really, who does that???…

Finally, my oldest daughter broke and scolded me. She told me to straighten up and behave. I convulsed into laughter, collected myself, and told her that listen, it was late at night, I was overly tired, I had wine on board, and that we were having fun. I said that she needed relax and learn how to have more fun.

I think if you’re going to drag me out shopping all night long, you kind of deserve a little public embarrassment.

I also want all of my children to learn to have fun. To be silly, to be lighthearted, to laugh maybe a bit too loudly, to spontaneously dance, to sing along with the car radio at full volume.

They don’t know that as I was doing all of this during our shopping expedition, I was thinking about my sister in law, dying of breast cancer. My best friend’s son, who nearly died on Thanksgiving a few years ago. My good friend, also recently diagnosed with breast cancer. My good friend who just lost her brother. My friend who just lost her husband. My friend who’s son is very ill.

They don’t know how fragile life is. They don’t fully understand how quickly it can be taken away.

We need to laugh while we can. We need to love while we can. We need to dance while we can.

And be thankful each day for those we love and the ability to do all of those things with them.

Peace people.