You Know How On Lost, The Story Rambles On And On And You Just Want It To Be Over But You Keep Watching Because Stranded People Are Fascinating? Yep, Proceed...

Dear 1of3,

Wednesday marked the 11th anniversary of the greatest day of my life; the day I became your momma.  I spent that day the only way I could this year, by celebrating the life of another beautiful angel, another child who made the dreams of some other people that you'll probably never know come true, a child that was taken from them far too early.  I want to tell you about that day, about how those parents reminded me of things I can so easily forget, how your kind and generous nature made it possible for me to be with my friend because you knew she needed me more than you did that day.  But I'm not going to tell you that yet, for two reasons.  One: It's not my story to tell.  They will tell it as they are able.  Two: You really really need to know one thing more.

Donald Sutherland hates you and wants you to be miserable.

Auntie Tanis and I made it to the airport today 3 hours ahead of schedule, because LA traffic frightens us Canadians and we overcompensate like motherfuckers.  We poked around the internet, drank more coffee than is legal in seven states, sent Uncle Avitable several questionable text messages and then headed through security an hour before our planes we departing.

We stood in the queue waiting to go through security, taking our shoes off, getting our 3 ounce containers into their approprite baggies, when Auntie Tanis recognized the tall shaggy dude right in front of us in line.  Yep, Donald Sutherland.  He had that awesome Nick Nolte arrest hair-do, a really old coat on, and a boner the size of Texas for Tanis.  Because she's awesome like that.  They went through their line, I went through mine.  I was done first and waiting for her to come through, and after she did we realize that either Donny was packin' heat or he really shouldn't wear his good belt buckle to the airport, because the poor dude was getting the full-on security VIP package. 

We stood for a while, debating whether or not to ask him for a photo.  He seemed pretty delayed, so we ran to the washroom to try and drop 10 pounds for the picturetinkle.  We bothwent in, we bothcame out, and we both stopped 2 feet from the exit of the washroom and waited for our Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend to come heading our way.

This is where I should tell you that the parts of me that lack in idiot make up for it with klutz. 

I'd been keeping my passport and boarding pass in my back pocket, and when I went tinkle, I actually remembered to take them out of my pocket and set them on top of my suitcase so I wouldn't flush them.  And yes, I totally would have flushed them.  I got done, ran out, and waited with Auntie Tanis.  Two whole minutes later I realized my passport was no longer on my suitcase.  It wasn't back in my pocket.  It wasn't shoved into the front pockets of my bags.  It was gone.

I ran back into the washroom and the person who'd followed me in was gone, replaced by a pair of those old-lady club shoes in teal.  TEAL.  I asked the shoes from under the stall if they'd seen a passport.  Right then, someone came into the washroom calling out for Margine.  The shoes answered her call.  Someone told Margine her son was looking for her and she replied MY FEET.  BIRDS.  FRENCH FRIES. 

Okay.

Margine came out of the stall, sporting a very fashionable in Palm Springs only ensemble that totally matched her shoes.  And she had no bag, nothing in her hands and, most importantly, no passport.  I asked again if she'd seen a passport and she said I NEED A BANDAID.  WHERE'S MY SON?  MY FEET.

Okay.

I called security.  They called maintenance.  They called the gate.  They called the police.  They called Air Canada.  They called me out of the terminal.

Funny thing, losing your passport in a crowded airport.  Funnier still, trying to enter a country you weren't born in without a passport.  And by funnier, of course, I mean impossible.  We searched everywhere.  High and low, near and far.  I was there for a long time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things, and I was just havin' a tough time there, and they was inspectin', injectin', every single part of me, and they was leavin' no part untouched.  *ahem*  After a few hours they told me the passport was less "lost" and considerably more "stolen" and that I had to go to the Federal Building and apply for a new one.

Auntie Tanis has this term she likes to throw around sometimes.  It's called "The Ugly Cry."  Momma knows what that means now.  I cried like I was smack dab in the middle of a country western song.  I cried like the end was extremely fucking nigh.  I cried like the cure was in it.  I cried like I had to call your daddy and tell him what I'd done.  The TSA guy hugged me and told me to be strong.  And no, I didn't just cry because he was hot.  Shut up.  I cried to your daddy, I cried to the Air Canada dude who I swore got shot driving Locke around a few weeks ago, I cried to Auntie Tanis, I cried to the lady walking down the concourse and she looked at me like I had the plague.  She's not my best friend.

And when the crying was done, and Uncle Avitable called me to offer to kick a nun in the nuts just to cheer me up, I went to get a new passport.  At 1 in the afternoon.  Across town.  In LA traffic.  All by myself.

I got to the front door of the Federal Building and a scrawny little dude who's future was, based on his shades, quite bright indeed, told me I had to make an appointment to go up.  I started crying.  He said he'd do it for me if I gave him my phone.  I gave him my phone and it turns out you can't call the LA passport agency from a Canadian phone.  So he called them for me, on speaker phone, on his.  And I thought he was an angel.  And then the automated voice asked for my number and then I thought he was more devilish than I'd given him credit for earlier.  I made my appointment, took the two worst pictures in the history of photography, tried very hard to explain to a gov't official why I had only an Arizona driver's license, a Canadian work permit and a Social Insurance card.  After a few sideways glances and a metric shitton of money, I had a new passport a'brewing.  Which will be ready at 9 am on Thursday.  I left the building, found the scrawny dude and congratulated him on officially having the most creative pick up line in the world.  And then I cried. 

I realized I had no idea where I was and I cried.  I realized I was stuck for an entire day and night in a country I don't actually live in overnight and I cried.  I realized I'd already checked out of the hotel and I cried.  I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and I died.

I called Uncle BusyDad

And tonight, when I was supposed to be home kissing your freshly-elevened face and giving you exotic gifts from a strange land they call California, I was singing happy birthday to Fury.  When I was supposed to be making you get to bed because Lost was coming on you need your sleep, I was trying to convince Modern Mom's son that I am, in fact, NOT a Mr anything.  I was telling their Fury stories about the fish your godmother and I mutated once (sorry about that, D'Wife and BD, really.  It seemed like a good idea at the time).  When I am supposed to be slipping a fiver under your pillow that I know dadThe Tooth Fairy forgot to do all the time I've been gone (I know this because I forgot for the 5 days before I left.  I told you, I'm a shitty mom) I will be sleeping in BusyDad and D'Wife's office. 

This is not the best part of the story.

Before dinner, after I'd already blown your inheritance on government ID, daddy called to tell me that someone named Pat from Minneapolis had called the house for me and I was to call her back immediately.  This is what she said, as close as I can remember:
Hi!  Pat's not here right now, but I do have your passport.

Huh?  I'm in Minneapolis.  Why, were are you?

How the hell did your passport get from LA to Minneapolis?

Well, Christ, you can't fly without it.  I don't know what to do.  How do I get this to you?  OH GOD.

Oh, you have a new one?  ALREADY?  Good, I'll have Pat call you.

What Pat said to The Donor was this:
Hi, I have Shannon (i'mnotevertellingyou)'s passport here in Minneapolis.  Some psychotic old woman came off the plane from LA with it.

The crazy old woman in the teal shoes STOLE MY PASSPORT and, I can only guess, shoved it in her bra or, worse, her grannie panties to hide it when she passed me in the bathroom.  And you know why she was able to steal my passport?

Because Donald Sutherland had to go look like the Uni-Bomber and naturally I had to have a picture with him and Auntie Tanis.  Because he hates you and wants you to be miserable without your mother on your birthday.

But I?  I love you so much.  So much more than you'll ever know.  Enough to wear the same smelly clothes three days in a row and to take a cab on the 405 at rush hour.  Good luck finding a girl to top that.

Your Lovin'

Momma

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

My son is a moron.

Well, more precisely, he's in the throes of adolescence, but still. Idiot.

My boys are all about the online games.  The 8 year old likes Andkon.com, and I don't hate it because there aren't popups.  And the games are like crack.  Bygones.  The 10-almost-11-he'll-have-you-know year old likes more "sophisticated" games, like Runescape.  Runscape is WoW Jr., in case you don't know.

Now, I did not take this "kids on the internet" thing lightly.  If I had it my way, we'd still have an avocado rotary phone hanging in the kitchen with an extra long curly cord any shade but avocado attached to it so that I could put my kids in the corner under the phone but then walk really far away from them to talk to my friend and totally forget they're in there while they shuffle their feet and moan about being tired or hungry or something.  You know your mom did it, too.

Anyway, my point is that I still have a great amount of fear of technology.  Maybe 'respect' is the right word.  I just don't think that I trust the internet that much just yet to hand my kids over to it.  They, of course, think I am some barbarian because I boil water rather than microwave it, so there's that.

I think we've found a nice compromise, however.  I have to know of and approve of the sites they visit.  I have to be the one who registers them for use of any sites.  They can only be on the computer in the living room, and they are so afraid that someone is going to reach through the monitor and kidnap them, they'll never ever chat online with anyone.  I'm not above scaring the crap out of them to get a job done.  My side of the deal is that I am open-minded and that I actually let them have internet time on occasion.

2of3 wanted me to get him signed up for Chaotic.com since he's started in on those cards and dear god if something starts to smell over here it's probably my dead, bloated corpse decaying under the mountain of abandoned Pokemon cards.  Help? and the thing kept telling us his email was already in use.  1of3 had registered an account about a week ago, so I asked him if maybe he'd set another one up under his brother's email.  He said he hadn't.  Okay.  I logged into 2of3's email to see if there were any email notifications from Chaotic and oh my, were there.  I actually couldn't figure out why it wouldn't accept 2of3's email, but what I did find out simply by logging into my 8 year old's email was that my 10-almost-11-he'll-have-you-know year old had set up several different Chaotic accounts for himself and used his 8 year old brother's email address as the parent's email.

And when I asked him, he denied it.

And when I asked him if he'd like to rethink that answer, he denied it again.

And when I turned the laptop around and showed him the five emails from Chaotic to 2of3, his parent, and asked him again, he denied it.  In the end, the most I got out of him at the end of it was an emphatic, "Iuhnoh."

I can't decide which is worse, that he was so amazingly stupid, or that he thought I was.  Either way, he's grounded.  For, like, ever.

You Will Bring NO SUCH THING Back, Young Man

My oldest son is a carbon copy of his father.  They both overdress for every and any occasion, they both obsess over gadgets, they both listen to punk and rock, and they are both fairly proper in their demeanor.

I've been trying to get that kid in a tshirt and a pair of Adidas with some hiphop on the stereo for 10 years now, and I am falling him.  Every time I get him a new CD, he scoffs at me, "Mom, I don't like that kind of music."  Is he 80?  What is wrong with him?  What 10 year old burns through Devotchka cd's?  MIne, apparently.

You can only imagine my surprise when I went downstairs to do some laundry last night and his little boom box was singing this:
Come here girl
Go ahead, be gone with it
Come to the back
Go ahead, be gone with it
VIP
Go ahead, be gone with it
Drinks on me

I just kept on doing my laundry and casually asked him what he was listening to.  He said that 2of3's friends dad had made him a CD of kid's hiphop songs.  I asked what he thought of it and he said he really liked it.  I snickered and then said, "You DO know this is Justin Timberlake, right?"  "NO WAY, mom!"  "Yup, sure is.  And you said you didn't like him."  "Every other song I've heard of his, I haven't liked, but Bringing Sexy Back is really good!"

There comes a time in the life of every parent when something happens, some small little something, and it scares the crap out of you.  Maybe you think it'll be when they stick their first pair of tweezers into a socket, maybe it'll when they ride their first bike, maybe you imagine it will be when they walk to school alone for the first time.  It's not; it's when they hit puberty and you hear SEXY come out of their mouths for the first time.

It was so effortless, so fluid, like it was some word he was born to say.  LIKE HE KNEW WHAT IT MEANT.  I can still hear it ringing through my head, right this very second; the hiss of the S, the choked sound of the EX, the Y that I think had just a little too much gotcha! in it.

I was stunned.  Shocked.  The wind kind of knocked out of me.  I don't know why, I don't know what I was expecting.  The song is called Sexy Back, and the version he has is the PG Justin remix so I have no problem with him listening to it, but still.  My kid said Sexy.  Like it was spaghetti or raincoat.  Like it was any old normal word.

I'm not ready.  I'm Just. Not. Ready.

The End Of Innocence


Five Star Friday
I didn't celebrate holidays when I was little, so when I had kids, I didn't really know how to do the whole "mythically endearing lies" thing.  Because of this, I did what any self-respecting mother would do; I made a bunch of shit up.
When a tooth is lost in our house, we all go outside after our jammies are on, find a star and make a wish on it.  It goes something like this:
Starlight, starbright,

First star I see tonight;

I wish I may, I wish I might

Have this wish I wish tonight.

(and then you look at your star and everyone in the family says:)

I wish the tooth fairy would come and take my/my brother's tooth tonight!

Cheesy, yes.  But they love it.  It's kind of a big deal around here.  No one EVER misses making a wish to the tooth fairy.  So tonight, when we stood outside and wished for her to come get 2of3's tooth, I was honestly a little shocked that I had to elbow 1of3 to get him to wish with us.  He gave me some shitty little tweeny grin, and got with the program.

Tonight, I was tucking 2of3 in and we made sure the tooth was all snug in it's place, when he said to me, "1of3 said there isn't a tooth fairy."

Oh, I'm going to kill that motherfucker.

"Reeeeeeealy.  What ELSE did he say?"

"He said that it was YOU GUYS."

He is grounded until he retires.

"Tell me, why does he think that?"

"He said that he found a box full of TEETH."

Which is totally creepy in a serial killer trophy sort of way, yes.

"Well, remember how you wanted to go to the corner store today and I had NO MONEY? "

"Yeeeees."

"And do you expect a $5 bill under your pillow in the morning?"

"Yeeeees."

"Do I have a $5 bill?"

"Noooo."

"So....."

"So, I guess there really IS a tooth fairy!"

And the clouds parted, and the angels sang.  And then I marched my ass downstairs.

"Son, tell me about this Tooth Fairy thing."

"Maaaawm.  I'm not dumb.  I know it's you."

"DO tell."

"I was looking for my GameBoy, and I found a box that had ALL of my old teeth in it."

Goddamn sonofabitch stupid fucking box I should have hid with the cleaning supplies.  He'd NEVER have looked THERE.

"Well,"  I chocked, "well, son.  You know I don't have any money right now, so when there is a $5 bill under your brother's pillow tomorrow, you're going to feel mighty dumb, aren't you?"

"MAWM!"

"Did it ever occur to you that I have a DEAL with the tooth fairy?  That I love every one of those little baby teeth, and that we worked out an arrangement?"

"Well....."

"Well, maybe you should think before you start saying things like that, Mr I Currently Have 2 Loose Teeth."

"That's all you had to say, MAAAAWM.  You have an arrangement.  That's fine."

"While we're at it, what else do you suddenly NOT believe in?"

"I believe in everything except the tooth fairy and the sandman.  I know there's a Santa, because you NEVER have any money.  There's no way you could buy all those presents."

"Good.  You just make sure it stays that way."

And then that little boy gave me a wink.  One of those knowing, almost evil sort of winks that I can't quite figure out.  It's almost over, isn't it?