There is a woman I put on a pedestal. Well... an upside down pedestal. What's the opposite of a pedestal? A hole? no. How to put this. I thought she was just great, but made her my example of what NOT to be. The Hubs and I would say, "Well at least we're not the Smiths*!"
A few years back... Mayhaps Caleb was around, maybe a Coop... I was teaching kindergarten at church. The Smiths were one of THOSE large Catholic families who seemed to have a kid in every class available at church. I hadn't put much deep thought into their family until my youth minister leaned over one morning and said something about the fact that the family's hair was always just a mess. (For reals. A mess.) It was then that I really noticed the mom. She. looked. tired. Tired. Her hair was the same, unkempt. I would tell the Hubs every Sunday, "Man! I should just offer her a free massage. She just radiates that she needs one!!" It had come to my attention that she homeschooled ALL her kids as well. Freak.
She became to me my epitome of the tired, worn out mother. She obviously lacked any time to herself... no time to shop for modern clothes or even brush her hair, really. I formed cruel opinions of her. Decided I was sooo much cooler than that. No matter what, I would never end up like Mrs. Smith. Never throw my hair up in a disgusting pony tail. Never obviously neglect the appearance of my children. I was certainly not going to have as many kids as her. I could never get an accurate count, but thought she had seven, SEVEN children.
It was later in that kindergarten year, after the kids had dominated the Sign of the Cross, that my ever over-indulgent ego thought I would teach the class the Our Father. "Children" I said, "Has anyone ever heard of the Our Father?" It was then that one of the Smith kids raised his hand and said he did. "Of course you do." I thought to myself. ugh. "Go ahead Bob*," I said in front of the class. "Recite the Our Father for us."
And so he said, "Okay.... but do you mind if I say it in LATIN?"
Mmm. Hmmm. In my mind I was freaking out a little. Wheels began cranking. I rubbed an imaginary chin. Re-thought everything I thunk in two seconds time. "duuuh... go ahead."
Twas then that I began to think homeschooling may just be... the shit.
When I decided to homeschool Coop, Mrs. Smith was the first person I asked, "Uh... what the hell??" Looking back, the decision to homeschool is simple. Being a newbie... it's ridiculous. She was insanely helpful. My earlier opinions slowly fell away. I didn't see the tired mom, instead I saw a mom that didn't care about appearance. Her priorities are just totally different.
Hold the phone though. She's still the church joke. Or she was. All those kids. Homeschooling. Freakazoid.
I mozied into church with the Hubs yesterday to pick up three of the minions from vacation bible school. I was looking pretty amazingly hot. Unbrushed pony tail. Thrift store yoga pants. Kawasaki tee shirt. (Cause I ride motorcycles, like, constantly.) We had the two little ones with us. Quickly the church lobby busted out into fitful roars of laughter. (Not really, I think a few people were tee-hee-heeing in the corner). We walked up on a group of gabby ladies. The short annoying one, who always, always asks about my mother (I've never mentioned her... have I... there's reasons for that...) giggles and says, "There you are! Someone just told me you were expecting!" Always the smart ass, I said, "yep. here I am. There it is." pointing to my belly. Mrs. Smith strolls over. The short one says, "Well we were just saying that you're really giving them a run for their money!" pointing to Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith then laughs (mayhaps evil-ly?) and says, "Yep. I have six kids. I bet you're going to surpass me!"
This is where I fainted. Ambulances were called. Pandemonium ensued.
Not really. I giggled and said, "we'll see." In my brain I said, "Fuck."
Meet the new Mrs. Smith.
*Names changed to protect the innocent and so that I may continue to bitch, bitch, bitch about people (almost) anonymously...