Friday, September 21, 2012

A Double Date Dare

Exactly twenty-nine years ago, I was on a double date with a college pal. While neither my friend or I were romantically interested in our dates, they did prove useful, fetching drinks for us at the overly crowded bar. On their second trip to replenish our cocktails, a stranger slipped into my date's chair and introduced himself.

I had seen this guy before. He lived down the hall from our dates in the same co-ed dorm I called "home" my senior year and had a curious way of appearing when and where I least suspected him - at the mailbox as I was rushing to my room after class, in the residence hall laundry room when I was without make-up and wearing shabby sweats, and in the cafeteria as soon as I rolled out of bed just to get some coffee and cram before my weekly grammar quiz.

I hadn't paid much attention to him. After all, he wasn't my type - not that I had any idea what my type was back then.

This latest intrusion, though, was a wonderful surprise. Seems I had grown accustomed to his smiling face and, in the midst of an otherwise terribly dull date, he was a very welcomed distraction.

And he was smart. Given the crowd and the distance between our table and the bar, he knew we only had a few moments to chat. To the best of my recollection, here is how the conversation went:

Me: What are you doing here?

Him: I'm here with some friends. What are you doing here? And with Terry (my date)?

Me: Why do you care?

Him: It's just that if you're going to go on a date, you could've picked somebody a little more exciting. Somebody that can make you laugh.

Me: Oh, and I suppose that's you?

Him: Heh, I wouldn't date you, even if you dared me.

Me: OK, I dare you to date me. Now will you leave us alone?

Him: Great. I'll pick you up Sunday night at five.

I had fallen right into his trap...

...and, twenty-nine years later, I'm so very glad I did.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall, Flannel and a Fashion Faux Pas

With cooler-than-normal temps, rain and gusty winds in the forecast, I think it's safe to say that Fall has arrived.

The signs are everywhere.

Here in the midwest, the leaves are just starting to change hue, going from green to gold and crimson...

...and Halloween candy is on full display at the grocery store.

Surrendering to the urge to make stews and cobbler, I've even dusted off my crock pot.

But here's a question for you:  Is it time for flannel sheets?

Given that the sets in my linen closet are adorned with things like snowflakes, reindeers, holly and sleds, I'm wondering if it's too early.

Maybe I'm over thinking this.

My boys are already pulling out their flannel shirts and wearing them over their t-shirts (God forbid they wear an actual jacket when the temps dip below 50 degrees).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An Open Letter to My Future Daughter-in-Laws

Dear Future Daughter-in-Laws,

I know I haven't met you yet - or maybe I have and I scared you away when I came at you waving a tape measure. If that was the case, please - hear me out.

As the mother of all boys, I have no one to whom I can endow my wedding dress. My mother's before me, it's a lovely ball gown embellished with Chantilly lace and yards of tulle, complete with a matching bolero jacket and pill box hat. It would be a shame to let it go to waste (insert heavy, prolonged sigh here).

But, I digress.

As I was preparing my youngest son's breakfast the other day - a kitschy dish we like to call "Egg-in-Bread" - and I arranged it on his plate just so, it occurred to me that you may someday curse the ground I walk on, accusing me of not only pampering your future husband but, worse, creating a needy man who demands that his spouse match, or even exceed, his mom's level of doting.

For shame.

I handed my youngest his food and he thanked me. But when he pushed the envelop and asked for some milk, I nearly snarled, "Get it yourself."

Then I set out his clothes for him (after I made his bed, of course).

Far be it from me to raise a high maintenance hubby. However, since he is my youngest, I know the damage has already been done with my older four. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

I didn't intentionally set out to create narcisitic oafs, incapable of independent living. I blame working mother guilt.

I'll admit it. I put my career first. After dumping them in daycare, I would rush to my job as if the Earth itself would stop spinning on its axis if I was but a minute late.

By the time I'd pick them up at the end of a long day, I invariably felt compelled to demonstrate my affection by doing irrational things like shoving my beloved Eric Clapton cassette tapes into the glove compartment so we could instead sing along with the likes of Raffi, Arial and Belle. I mean, really, who wants their little cherub humming "I Shot the Sheriff" during circle time?

Then, exhausted to the point of insanity, I didn't think twice about putting my boys' needs before my own - even if it meant storing extra clothes for them in their diaper bag while I rushed to work with oatmeal stained shoulders, or cutting their meat for them so I could enjoy my own meal in peace (I swear I won't do this at your wedding reception).

As they got older, I kept their schedules so jam packed with scouts, sports and school, that again, I felt too guilty to make them do chores. I know, I know - bad move. Is it any wonder they avoid eye contact with me as I read off my to-do list on Saturday mornings?

Please believe me when I tell you, I did it all out of love. Perhaps you'll understand better once you have children of your own.

I. Can't. Wait.

Well, anyway. Sorry to be so long-winded. I'm sure I'll be thrilled to finally meet you when the time comes!


Your Future-Mother-in-Law

P.S. It's a size 8. Just sayin'...