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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Wrote the Draft of This Post on Two Sheets of Bounty and the Inside of a Mounds Wrapper.

I write here because there is never any paper in this house.

I write my shopping lists and phone messages and scribble verruh important notes to myself on corners of take-out menus, used junk mail envelopes, the back of my checkbook, or torn off scraps of paper bags, because real, proper paper, sticky notes, legal pads and the like? Those do not belong to me. They are commandeered immediately upon crossing the FriedOkra threshold by my elder child, who is learning to write (FUN ET ICK LEE), and also enjoys the drawing, and apparently enjoys, more than anything else, making me crazy.

I KNOW you know what I'm talking about.

A few weeks ago I went into Hobby Lobby (angel song) and in my Cloud 9 rambling, roving, sighing and cooing wander-about, I happened across a big, fat, fancy, phonebook-thick pad of beautiful, crisp, brown houndstooth note paper, tied with a big, fat, red grosgrain ribbon. It sang to me from its shelf in a chorus of angel-voices, narrated by a subtle undercurrent of sultry Hey baby, where have you been all my life and You feel it like I do, and you know it... We were made for one another. My fingers burned and ached to caress this paper, to boldly scratch my mind's contents onto it, to jot and doodle and scribe and ponder from edge to edge, corner to corner.

And it was on SALE.

Kismet!

So I took it home.

And as I pulled it out of the bag and placed it ever-so-lovingly on my desktop, I saw my daughter fall in love, and feel the same burn and ache in her fingertips that I'd felt a few hours before.

And I GLARED AT HER.

And I said:

THIS PAPERRRRRRRRRR IS MI-I-I-I-INE! DO NOT TOUCH IT. DO YOU HEAR ME, CARRIE ALEXIS FRIEDOKRA? YOU. DO. NOT. TOUCH. THIS. PAPER. IF YOU TOUCH THIS PAPER -- EVEN ONE PIECE OF IT -- THERE WILL BE EXCRUCIATINGLY BAD CONSEQUENCES FOR YOU.

And she looked at me like I'd lost my mind.

(I suppose it was warranted.)

BUT! Her silence indicated complicity. And I knew I'd made my point.

So I went about my business. And for WEEKS, I sat at my desk every day. Out of the corner of my eye, the paper beckoned and teased, but I was waiting for the right moment, the right thought, the perfect opportunity, to make my first mark on its pristine and perfect surface. It couldn't just be any old phone number or date and time. It had to be a major thing... a special thing... this was my special note pad!

Three days ago I had the amazingly rare opportunity to a) plan menus and b) grocery shop by myself. And I decided. NOW IS THE TIME! I'M GOING TO MAKE MY SHOPPING LIST FOR THIS SPECIAL TRIP ON MY SPECIAL PAPER.

And I did! And Bean watched me, carefully penning each item on the list in dark, rich, black ink which this just-rough-enough paper grabbed and held beautifully. My hand flicked i-dots and t-crosses and curled fancy y and g handles with confidence and artful grace. I am certain, people. SURE AS I WILL TAKE MY NEXT BREATH. That the child watched enraptured with the process and my absolute, sheer joy in the sensation of this pen and paper, and at that moment, took complete leave of her senses.

Again, totally warranted!

And I finished my list, tore it off the pad in one motion, across the perforation in a fast rip that sang out a short HURRAH! of efficiency and accomplishment. And I folded that list and tucked it into my purse, all the while with Bean's two eyes watching me, riveted.

I walked away briefly and returned.

To find.

This girl.

WRITING.

ON A TORN OFF SHEET OF MY PAPER.

And my lips went white with rage.

Through gritted teeth I reminded her: WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THIS PAPERRRRRRRRRRRR, CARRIE ALEXISSSSSSSSSSSS? ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING ON THIS PAPERRRRRRRRRRRRRR? ALL I WANT IS ONE THING!! ONE. LITTLE. THING! TO BE MINE. CAN I NOT HAVE ONE THING OF MY OWN? HUH? WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU WRITING ON MY PAPERRRRRRRRRR?

And she sobbed out, "I couldn't hellllllllllllp it, Mom! I had tooooooooo!"

And I continued to shout and snort and breathe fire at her as I stormed to her side and looked over her shoulder at MY PAPERRRRRRRRR!

And she had written:

To my famlee and frins:

I love Mom.

I love Dad.

I love Pebode.

I love Kathrin.

I love Kyle.

I love my famlee and my frins.


And my heart exploded. And she cried big old tears and ran up to her bedroom sobbing.

And I am a monster. An insensitive jerk. (I AM!)

And also possibly a complete wimp.

And now we're sharing MY PAPERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Sigh.


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18 comments:

  1. I know just how you feel! (((big hug))) I've been there, too.

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  2. oh my goodness.....so many truths in this post. So much to take in...and think about....and understand. ♥

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  3. And this is why I love reading your blog....entertainment and thought-provoking all at the same time!

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  4. Oh yes - I've had those moments too. I'm sad for Megan - and Bean too!

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  5. Love this!!!! Love love love this!

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  6. Ohhhhhh. That story rips my heart out because how many times have I done the same thing? Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I can relate with you, as well as every mother on the planet. Hate the days when something comes over me and, I turn into Nana Dearest.. {not that I beat my grand babies, never}when you just long for that "ME" time. The little things, like taking a shower and having the restroom to yourself, or quite time so you can brush your teeth; without trying to talk around a tooth brush. Loved your Blog.. wonderful writing, and so much truth, indeed.

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  8. So you screwed up...but you apologized...and now you're even sharing with her! From my own childhood experience, a parent saying sorry--one time--cancels out about three parental transgressions. That is huge, and it's what they'll remember.

    ~Jeanne

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  9. My daughter is always writing on my paper. I don't have fancy paper, it's just a regular notebook. My issue is that it is paper that I have already written on so I can't read my notes or my lists! It's maddening and I' always yelling at her. ...big sigh...I know exactly where you are coming from!

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  10. Been there, done that, felt awful.

    But I didn't share afterwards. I bought another cute set of paper (on sale) and gave it to her. I didn't write on her paper and she didn't write on mine. I don't know what that says about me, but it made us both happy.

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  11. I am so thankful all of y'all GET this!

    I did feel horrible for yelling, and I did love what she wrote. I was torn on how to handle it though because she DID disobey me, after all. So did I just let that part go, because she disobeyed in such an adorable way? I apologized for yelling at her, and I thanked her for loving us, and I even complimented her writing. But I also held my ground on the disobedience part. Thankfully, she understood what I was saying and apologized for that. We're all good. I think we both learned some good lessons in the end.

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  12. I've been so unkind when talking or *yelling* to the kids sometimes. Then, I'm immediately convicted about it and I'm forced to stop and think about my tongue and the way I use it. I wind up with time spent in prayer, which is what I should have done in the first place.

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  13. Sometimes Moms have to give up so much they just want something to belong to them alone! I've been there, like most of the other moms. It sounds like you handled it in a wonderful way.

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  14. UGH, the worst part about being a momma is the "torn heart"...she disobeyed, yes, so she needs to realize that, BUT it was SO sweet what she wrote and then you feel guilty for yelling, and then feel extra guilty because she cried and the list goes on and on! :) Beautifully written post (I LOVE your detail because I literally felt like I was there as I read your words). The great thing about children is that they forgive so easily. I'm sure all is well at Fried Okra Manor and she won't ever touch your paper again :) (at least I hope not! ;))

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  15. Oh, How I can recall the feeling of just wanting one thing. One thing to be mine. One minute to call my own. And now? I wish I had one minute with one of my grown up children to share. But I do so understand the desire to have something for only you.

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Thoughts?