Tag Archives: volunteer

That’s What She Said

25 May

Maybe it’s because I grew up with brothers, or maybe it’s because I’m from the generation that gave us Beevis & Butthead (Beavis and Butt-Head | Full Episodes, Photos, Episode Synopsis and Recaps | MTV), but I’m beginning to realize that there’s something wonderful about middle school boys.

Relax. Before you set your Tivo to record my tearful confession of undying love for some 14-year-old (complete with stylish orange jumpsuit and assurances that our love was mutual), that’s not what I mean.

I mean I think they’re funny.

Every Thursday I head to the middle school for a few hours over lunch, to supervise Game Room. It’s a place where kids can come if they want to hang out and play games, away from the chaos of the general lunch crowd. 

The rules are simple. No cursing (you’d be amazed at the discrepancies in what constitutes a swear word), no bullying or running anyone down, if you burp you have to say excuse me (which never fails to elicit an eye roll), and because we’re in a very small room attached to the library they have to keep the volume low (definitely the hardest to enforce). 

There are a few girls that drop in once in awhile, but generally it’s just the boys. The bell rings and they burst though the door in a storm of t-shirts and backpacks, already negotiating for each other’s food.

“Dude, can I have your milk?

“Shut up, you still owe me from last week.”

Come on! I’ll pay you double.”

“Huh, huh. Your mom pays me double.”

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh at shit like that?

They crowd around the tables and devour their lunches, crumbs flying, while they play YuGiOh, which by the way, is very serious business. They wage fierce battles with things like Monster Reborn and Zombie Madness, with Needle Worm and Final Flame. 

It’s like miniature poker night with cheezy poofs and lunchables instead of cigars and booze.

It’s a complete crack up. Life (at least for two hours at lunch) consists of sports and boogers. Who knew things could be so simple? Life with girls is not like this.  

Girls, for example, do not obsessively follow every sentence with the timeless classic, “That’s what she said.” 

Which is kind of a shame, because it’s super funny. And that’s why, much to my daughter’s disgust, I have adopted it as my own, kind of as my new favorite thing. 

It’s perfect. Whenever I’m having a pleasant (and tediously boring) conversation with someone, that one simple phrase is always there to spice things up, like Tabasco for talking.

“So, how was your trip to Atlanta?”

“Nice, except we had a rough landing in Houston.”

“How hard was it?”

Huh, huh. That’s what she said.

It’s like there’s a 12-year-old boy inside me that can’t wait to sneak out and pollute the world with juvenile sexual innuendo. 

It’s awesome.

I haven’t laughed so hard, so frequently, in a long time. In fact, I think everyone should start doing it. (Huh, huh. You said do it.) The next time someone says something even remotely risque (you know, like, “How was your day?” or “Paper or plastic?”) just smile, drop your voice an octave and say, That’s what she said

Try it. I dare you not to smile.

With the school year coming to an end, sadly, tomorrow is the last day of Game Room. No more raging sessions of Uno (which I’ve learned has as many house rules as Monopoly), no more rigorous chess matches, or back room deals for the last half of a chewed on, gooey burrito. I will miss it.

And with my daughter headed to high school next year, I wonder if they’ll ask me back. I hope so. I can’t wait to do it again.

Huh, huh. That’s what she said. 🙂


Be Good to Your Boobies

10 May

A few weeks ago my daughter started talking about doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. One of her friends was on a sponsored team and they wanted to walk together. It sounded perfect; support a great cause, let her learn the value of volunteering, and all on Mother’s Day weekend. Sweet.

But to be honest, I’m ashamed to say that I just couldn’t get into it. It felt like a chore, like one more thing to check off the list. I know, I know. Bad mom. Bad person. And as I grudgingly entered our information on the website, I can’t even tell you how tempted I was to click the “Sleep In for the Cure” button instead.

But I didn’t. Which I was reminded of as my alarm went off at 5:30 am last Saturday morning.

As we closed in on the Expo Center (where the event was), I was shocked by how thick the traffic had gotten. There were lines of cars at least a mile long waiting to exit. This was a big deal.

Half an hour later we were walking toward the registration desk, in a sea of energized pink chaos, the air buzzing with laughter and snippets of conversations: “…I promised my sister,” and “If my tests come back positive I’m going to have the other one removed.” “Yeah,” another woman said laughing and rolling her eyes, “my aunt lost both of them and then had her uterus taken out too.”

They could’ve been talking about what they were having for dinner or where they were going on vacation next week. They could’ve been laughing over coffee. They were that comfortable. But then, they hadn’t been given a choice.

A chill ran up and down my arms, despite the warm morning. I wrapped my arm around my daughter, wondering if she had heard. “Let’s not fight today, okay?” She looked over and nodded, her eyes full of understanding, “Okay, mom.”

We registered, pinned our numbers on our new t-shirts and headed toward the starting line, trying to find her friend. There was something very powerful about putting on that white shirt and fading into the crowd of pink ribbons, feather boas and hats, walking together under signs like “Jogging for Jugs,” “Walkers 4 Knockers,” and one of my favorites, “Erin Go Bras.”

For a few hours we walked beside men and women with pink square signs that said things like, “I walk in celebration of Joan,” and “In memory of my wife.”

We walked beside families with pictures of passed loved ones on their t-shirts; women with big smiles and even bigger strength. We walked beside women who proudly wore bright pink shirts that said, “Survivor.”

All day the mood was positive, celebratory even. These women had no time for sadness or loss. They were on a mission. They had seen it all, had been through it all, and were done with crying. I think I was the only one who had trouble keeping it together. I spent the morning taking it in, realizing how lucky I was and how glad I was that I hadn’t slept in.  And I kept it together.

And then I saw a little boy, about 8 years old, walking with his dad. He had bright blonde hair and little silver sunglasses.  And pinned to the back of his shirt was a square, pink sign that said, “In Memory of My Mom.”

He turned around and smiled, and on the front of his shirt was a picture of a beautiful young woman, surely his mom. Above the picture were the words, “No Tears.”

I was glad for the brightness of the day and for my big California sunglasses, because I couldn’t follow his rule. I cried like an innocent, like someone who was lucky enough to be naive to the whole scene.

It was a pretty amazing day. I guess sometimes even good people need a kick in the ass. I just had mine.

Do the exams. Donate. Participate in a race.

Be good to your boobies. Whether they’re small and perky, large and luscious, or somewhere in between, whether they’re your own or just a pair you love like your own, take care of the boobies in your life and the women who stand behind them.

Because trust me when I tell you, there are already too many square, pink signs pinned to t-shirts on race day.