Driving home from Massage Envy last night I got a frantic call from her. I was excited to talk to her. She's been at Band Camp this week and asked her how she is. "Great," she answered and then she burst into tears.
Turns out, I'm dropping the ball on my responsibilities. First of all, although we did drop her uniform off at the dry cleaners, we haven't picked it up and if she doesn't turn it in, a band mom will own her soul. I asked if she signed a contract and sealed with her own blood then pointed out that she's underage and she needs my permission for selling her own soul. This was not met with humor but with further sniffling and a muffled sob.
"We're out of tampons and you have to go to the store RIGHT NOW and get some more."
"We're not out of tampons. Did you look under my bathroom sink?" I countered.
"Yes. I took them all and there are only, like, 15."
"How often do you change your tampons?"
"Okay, maybe not right now but everything's crashing down right now and this is the WORST possible thing that could happen during band camp!" She wailed.
I went to Smith's Marketplace and loaded up on feminine protection. By the time I arrived home, she'd gone to bed.
This morning I picked up the band uniform at the dry cleaners. Driving through town towards the school, I passed the town bakery and stocked up on some of their specialty pastries in an effort to buy points from my 16 year old daughter. I knew she hasn't seen me for days and she must be incredibly grateful for my store run so she would not suffer further mortification so the donut was just the icing on the cake.
Pulling up by a canopy, I saw band moms who were sacrificing their days to feed all those hungry teenagers, organize uniforms and all the things that band moms do. They are exceptional women that I picture as stay-at-home-mothers with no other children to care for. I love them. They alleviate my guilt. One in particular organizes everything and sends emails to all the parents. She also has threatened to own my daughter's soul.
"Who do I give this uniform to?" I asked the two women sweating under a canopy. They looked a little befuddled. "Kathy is organizing the band uniforms but she's working today." Oh. She works. Damn. I took the uniform into the school where I found other uniforms organized by instrument in their black bags. Black bag! Hanging in the closet at home! I decided to take it back home and put it in the bag. I took it back outside where I met two more band moms who were organizing lunch with little children climbing all over the place. These women were really redefining my idea of "band mom" and taking away my own excuses.
But I still had the donut!
Walking out to the field, I waited until an appropriate break in the practice then took the pastry to my daughter, telling her she could pretend it was her trumpet while she practiced (and took bites). She looked at me like I was the stupidest woman in the world. And she was mortified.
"Mom! Not now! No food on the field! Go put it by my stuff in the school!" She hissed.
"I'll take it," her trumpet counterpart said softly. I'm considering switching teenagers.
I skulked off the football field and obediently placed the pastry on her bag in the band room. I realized that the rules have changed. With all the space on the football field, there was no room for me. I am supposed to be invisible. I am expected to enable, serve, and work in the background but I am supposed to never be seen or heard.
All those fantastic band moms who have jobs and small children and sacrifice perfect summer days while the weeds grow in their gardens are expected by their children to do what they do. There is no special respect or love for them except by their children's peers. These women are an embarrassment to their children. That said, keep the house stocked with feminine hygiene products and be prepared to drop everything at a moment's notice to take care of a
There is no redemption for being a mother, either. No matter what you do, what you have done, what you have accomplished or your stellar I.Q. can save you. You are the stupidest, most embarrassing being to ever walk the face of the planet or onto the football field. You are not cool. You are not helpful. The best and easiest teenager in the world really does turn into a different creature altogether when in the company of other teenagers.
My pride is a little hurt, I admit. I mentioned it to the band moms and resisted the urge to proclaim my accomplishments. One mom seconded my feelings then proclaimed her own accomplishment of graduating magna cum laud from BYU and I had to physically bite my tongue so I wouldn't follow suit. Clearly, she understands my feelings.
For now I will be comforted that I am not alone and I will believe in my own intelligence and past and allow those to quietly define me. If not, I will be forced to believe I am embarrassing, stupid, and a failure for not anticipating all the possibilities of what could go wrong.