Monday, February 13, 2012

Toe, The Line

Today, as I approached my kitchen counter, I put my toe right up to the picket line...and stopped. My day will not begin with the completely organized and beautifully clean and clear island as has been the custom for 20 + years. A bummer for me more than anyone. Then again, I won't have my usual rushed cup of java while standing at the counter serving the kids breakfast and vitamins, readying them with their backpacks and shoes and forgotten belongings, refereeing the early am bickering, and helping get them out the door and into the car so we're not late. I will not pick up, clean up or wipe up after them. Today I woke them and they managed themselves. Benj, our eldest, offered to drive his brother and I said yes, and crawled back into my still warm bed. (Full disclosure: I did instruct Driver Benj to drop them off at the Middle School door as one has a cast boot and the other, with his full arm cast, looks surprisingly similar to C3PO without the ability to close his coat. Again, some things I need to manage.) I will not recycle the empty cereal box and 2 empty milk containers. (They've blown through 2 gallons since the strike began. Suffice to say cereal is the staple, as were the Oreos but those are long gone.) I will not put away the dishes, the scissors or dirty napkins, the yet to be collapsed and folded grocery bags strewn across the floor, and certainly I am not touching the dish cloth that is in a clump in the sink. That bad boy is gonna stink come 3:30 pm. Instead, I've enjoyed my morning in a new and different way. Over a cup of coffee- sitting not standing, I watched the View. Today's hot topic ironically- that a woman who stays home should not have to defend her choice to do so. "HA!" I told the kitchen TV. "No but they sure had better defend their dignity and make certain no one takes them for granted or fails to appreciate all of the hard, hard work they're gonna do!" You go girl. Then I got up to refill my coffee and stumbled on one of those darned grocery bags.
In case you're wondering how I'm going to fill the day, I'm heading to a later yoga class as I slept in today. Then I'm going to pray for my children's teachers as I took a little survey of the recent grocery shopping expedition findings. Between the sugar in the pineapple juice, the nitrates in the- forgive me Rabbi, Oscar Mayer Ham, the grain free cereals, the Pillsbury Processed Crescent Rolls... well, I'm not certain that brain bifocals, a tap-dancing teacher on a technology table, and a straight jacket could help a student focus for a full day. (Dan did, to his credit, buy cottage cheese. When the milk runs out, they can put it on cereal...) I'll keep you posted on the day's progress once dinner is not served but here's a little tidbit that I want to share amidst the details of my day and attempts at humor. Before falling asleep last night my husband said, "you know Deb this is really hard on Jeremy. He's sad. He's young and doesn't quite get it like the other two. Give him a little extra love." After removing what felt like a soccer punch to my gut, and I could swallow the lump in my throat, it was too late to respond to my husband as he had fallen asleep. But here's the coulda, woulda, shoulda: "Dear husband, as wonderful as you are and have been through the first day of this strike, it's the four of you, not just 2 teenage boys and little, dear Jeremy. And of course I know this is impacting our youngest child. ( As I have done since the day I could feel him in my belly, I sang him his lullaby, and played with his hair and rubbed his back while I told him how much I love him...) I do not, in this process, deny my children care, love or nurturing. Nor do I love or adore you any less. But when did I become the mistreated, disrespected, bossed around maid? (Well, unless we subscribe to the Arnold Schwarzenegger school of thought and you treat your maid extra special.) Bottom line, I need everyone to develop a greater and genuine awareness and appreciation of all that I do. With that awareness, I expect everyone to see opportunities to give and not just take. And you all need to take a moment, stop, listen and learn because I've been singing this song for years but no one listened. Can you hear me now..? How about now...? Can you hear me now?" I'm a Mom On Strike. That said, I love my family and I love my job. We just need to talk contract negotiations...

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