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You Can Drop off My "Mother of the Year" Award Anytime Now

Posted May 11 2013 12:00am

One of my daughters is in performing arts school. Her specialty is voice, in the opera division. She's come incredibly far since the beginning of the school year. She has amazing teachers.

One of her teachers was involved in a theater production this weekend. Students were offered discounted rates, and parents could get a cheaper rate as well. My daughter really wanted to see this performance. I did as well, for I love all musical theater, and l has always been a highlight for me. Really, I just love anything that Rodgers and Hammerstein did.

We planned a mommy and me type day -  although with a teenager, you don't really say that. The performance was in the neighboring city, and we both were certain that the show was at a theater very close to one of the light rail stops. We both like riding the light rail - it feels somewhat city, and cool. So we planned our day, purchased the tickets ahead of time and picked our outfits.

When we left the house, we both were dressed very nicely. I had curled my hair, put on fresh makeup, was wearing a maxiskirt and a sweater. It was a tiny bit warm for a sweater, but theaters are typically cold and, after all, I was just riding down and going in to the theater. I grabbed an umbrella because it was overcast, but not yet raining.

My daughter had on 2 1/2 inch heels and a nice dress.

We left the house in plenty of time. I was very proud of myself – I hate to be late, and any time I go anywhere, I try to be very organized and prepared. So we left in plenty of time to get on the light rail, took it all the way down to the stop closest to the theater and the mall and had plenty of time to spare. We walked around the mall, windowshopping, and even stopped in the Lush store, a particular favorite. We tried several different lotions, smelled shampoos, and left in time to walk over to the theater.

I was super proud of myself. We were PREPARED.

My first clue was the fact that all of the front parking spaces in front of the theater were empty. The Will Call ticket window was not open, and the security guard wondered just what we were doing there. It was 2:10 at this point, and the show started at 2:30. Surely, there should be some sign of life, and not the bland empty nothingness we faced. Frantically, I pulled up the show on my phone, and realized my mistake. The theater that we needed to be at was six blocks away.

The light rail station does not go down that far. There are no cabs. And I had no car.

And so we walked.

We started out the day looking like this:

You can drop off my mother of the year award any time now
I look somewhat ratchet in this picture, but notice the lack of sweat and the somewhat pulled together look


As we walked, it got hotter and hotter, the sweat began to run down my back, and I realized that I had not put on my Spanx under my skirt. If you don't have a thigh gap, you know why I needed those Spanx under the skirt. The Chafe, it is a real thing.

We walked through some very sketch areas. At one point, I became disoriented, and we went to a block in the wrong direction. We walked past pawnshops, tattoo parlors, gun shops, and the bus station. The only people visible to us were obviously street people. My poor girl limped in her high heel shoes, and I cursed at myself. What kind of a mother doesn't check the location? What kind of a mother doesn't have her car available to drive to the other location? Why did I think taking the light rail would be such a fantastic idea?

We made it to the theater with two minutes to spare. Of course, there is the obligatory five-minute delay for good luck in the show, so we were fine. The show was great. Her teacher did very well, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Until it was time to leave, and we both remembered that we had to walk back. And so we walked, past the padlocked buildings, the barred and gated windows, the homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk, the man sitting outside the tattoo parlor with gauges the size of golf balls in his ears and a tattooed, bald head, the people hanging out at the Greyhound station, and all the way up to the light rail stop. It was getting dark, and my Spidey sense was working overtime. I felt uncomfortable, unsafe and a trifle nervous - and seeing the "Bring back the city!" invocations spray painted on abandoned storefronts - in an effort to make the city feel safer - flat out didn't help.The humidity was brutal, her poor feet ached in the shoes (and she begged me to let her walk barefoot but I declined) and my hair was plastered to my head, my hot roller set a distant memory.

Here I was trying to do something good for my daughter, make a memory - well, I'd made a memory all right.

I felt like the worst mother ever, and then karma interfered.

There was a woman standing at the light rail station. She had a couple of children with her, and one of them bore the brunt of her anger. As we got closer to her, we could hear her screaming obscenities at this child, who was apparently her daughter. She was so upset with her daughter at one point, she kicked her, and then said, "Yes, I kicked you. And there are cameras here that caught it. I hope CPS saw me do it and they will come and take you away." She grabbed the young girl's arm - she was probably 12 or 13 - and threatened, "I'll punch you in the nose if you don't shut up right this minute!"

I get it. I've been really, really angry before.

My daughter sat next to me on the bench, and she texted me – what do we do? I texted her back – nothing. There's nothing we can do. The mother continued to parade her daughter, grabbing her arm, and yelling obscenities at her. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore, and we got up and went to the other side of the light rail stop.

And suddenly, the fact that I'd gotten the theater wrong, wasn't able to find a cab, forced my daughter to walk six blocks, through a sketch neighborhood, in the heat, didn't seem so bad after all.

Sometimes, my best effort is good enough.

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