Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The next time I get the urge to feel sorry for myself as a mom...what with the sleepless nights, the spit-upy-shoulders, the never-ending dishes, and insane amount of errands that need to be run each day...I am going to take a step back and say the following to myself:

"It may be crazy right now, Lola dear, but at least you're not a second grader."


That is what I'm going to say.

Because I think that we sometimes forget how very nice it is to be an adult.

The trepidation with which most of us navigated our day to day existences as lowly little second graders is all but a distant memory. One that we, no doubt, have painted to be prettier in retrospect than it was in real-time.

Being a second grader is tough work.

You have to second guess a lot in the second grade.

Are these jeans too fitted?
Are they too baggy?
Do they have too much fading?
Or...just enough?
If I wear my hair combed differently today,
are kids gonna laugh at me?
Does "this/that/or the other" make me stand out?
Because HEAVEN FORBID that I might I stand out.
Heaven forbid that I might be unique or special in any way.
Please not ever that.
A large order of "run of the mill" with a heaping side of "ordinary" for me, thanks.

Children are like packs of wolves. There is a pecking order, and anyone functioning outside of the realm of the pack's definition of normal is a candidate for reprimand. No questions asked.


Now, you may be asking yourself, "Has something horrible happened to Lola's dear Kortland that has prompted this post?"


It came more as a result of the INSANE opposition I was met with while trying to help him with his report about Zambia. For this project, each child was sent home with a paper doll that they were to dress and decorate in the traditional/cultural clothing of their country.

I researched Zambian cultural costumes, and LOVED the beautiful {and ca-razy} tribal vibe. I showed the pictures to Kort, and what did he say?

KORT: "Yeah, that's cool, but I don't want to dress the doll like that."

I was shocked.

ME: "Why not?!"

KORT: "Because, it's too weird."

ME: "Well, it's a different culture, it's supposed to be 'weird' to us, because it's new."

KORT: "Let's just keep looking for pictures."

So we look... and look... and L-O-O-K.

And nothing is right.

At every turn, he is concerned that the doll will look "too weird" or "like a girl" or "whatever!" and I am just sitting there feeling sad and thinking:

Where did my confident boy go?

Where is he?


Once upon a time, I had a child who threw caution to the wind, who lived life for himself, and did what he wanted with reckless abandon, confidence, and joy, and others quickly followed suit. Now that boy seems to be slipping away...

and I just can't stand it!

Most of us remember the first time we got criticized in a hurtful way.

For the hubs, it was some random girl who walked up to him on the playground and said "Just so you know, sweats AREN'T cool."

{And just so all of YOU know, he wore sweat pants every. single. day. EVERY day. With a really cool Nike shirt TUCKED into them, of course! And as far as he knew, that was cool. - And I'd personally love to know in what universe is the "flooded sweat pants with a tucked in t-shirt" look NOT cool? I know, right? Why do you think I married the guy!?}

But my point is, it was cool to him. {and probably really comfortable to boot... I dare say he was on to something!} Then some random girl, who couldn't stand such confident, "in your face" dissension within the pack, took it upon herself to set him straight. He was super embarrassed, and went home that day and told his mom that he needed new clothes.

My first memory of being criticized to the point of blushing {which, I think I have done like, a total of three times in my life} was when a neighbor girl announced to a whole pack of kids from our neighborhood that "She hates it when kids tuck their shirts in and don't pull them back out a little." {A VERY fashionable thing to do in the awesome 80s. Everyone just HAD to have that sweet "Bum Equipment" T-shirt partially un-tucked.}

My oldest brother, always game to make fun of me, said loudly "Yeah, um I think she's referring to YOU Lo-rah!"

I wanted to die. Which is so stupid, but it's true nonetheless.

My face went red.

Cheeks burning like the Dickens.

Wanted. to. die.

But, {miraculously} I lived, and so will Kort.

{Ha ha! Best shot EVER!}

Now I can take a good look around me and say to myself: "See, Lola? We all survived. Most of us are stronger for it. And most of us are probably a whole lot nicer, having been on the other end of it. And most of us eventually come to the blessed conclusion {whether in jr. high, high school, college, or sometime even later} that we don't have to care about what the masses say. We can march to the beat of our own drum, and have a good hard laugh in the face of the pack mentality.

And the world will be better for it.

And the people who see us doing our thang {tucking t-shirts into sweatpants with reckless, joyful abandon and such} will be liberated, and maybe they'll even say to themselves:

"I'm going to break out my Birkenstocks and wear them with socks...just because it feels good."

So there, world.

So there, pack mentality.

And I know that Kort will pull through this. He is resilient, and he is fun, and if anyone can get everyone on board the "let your freak flag fly train" it's my little dude. Because he really is that fun and good. He probably just needs his mom to remind him from time to time.

So, I've been a bit worried about his self-esteem over the last few days as we've worked on his project together. Then, I went to school to take pictures of all of the kids in his class (because I'm making a cute book for his teacher's birthday) and as I was editing the photos tonight, I found this:


and I thought: Yeah, he's still got it.