Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Semper gumby.

 Always flexible.

Semper gumby. Semper gumby. Semper gumby.

That's been my motto for the last few years, and even more so for the last few months.

Take tonight, or more specifically, the conversation I just finished with Son #1, who might, it seems, actually graduate from high school.  I have just finished a grueling Monday. At work at 6:30 am, DRA testing,  indoor recess, after school math club, (during which I negotiated a credit card payment for Son #2's tux for prom). Tonight, I did two hours of final editing of Chris Van Allsburg author study pamphlets, then about 9:45 decided to head off to bed. The boys were in Son #2's bedroom watching a movie.

"Night boys, I love you."

Son #1 opens the bedroom door. I think it is the longest I have seen him all day. I decide I should take advantage of the opportunity.

"How's school, buddy? Do you need anything from me?" I am thinking about help finishing a paper, completing a math assignment, etc.

"Prom," he grunts.


 Ok. Two days ago, he absolutely was not going to prom. Not with a girl, not with his friends, not at all. And not to the after prom at the school either.

"Are you going to prom?"


"Are you going with a girl?" I ask.

"Yes." Emphatic. He is more than a little offended that I would ask such a stupid question. Maybe he knows I will ask who the girl is, because the next answer comes before I ask the question. "China." Ok, a girl I know. A pretty nice girl actually.  The manager of the football team.

"Do you need to buy tickets to prom?"

"I dunno. I guess."

"How much are they?"

"I dunno."

"Can you find out?" Then I remember the announcement about prom tickets was in last week's parent newsletter. I pull up the information "$45."

"You want me to write a check?"

"Can you?"

"Umm, Yeah, I guess."

Inwardly I wonder how I went from no one going to prom, zero dollars, a week ago, to two children going to prom, at a cost which seems to somehow be rapidly moving toward $1000, including tux, meals, flowers, new clothes for after prom, etc. (and we are not even doing any of the over the top stuff like limousines!).

"Do you need a tux?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"When are you going to do that?"

"Umm, when can we do it?"

"How about tomorrow after school? We can go after I get off work."

"China wanted to go with me."

"OK, so you don't want me to go?" (Evidently taking your prom date to pick out the tux is the new trend-or new since I was in high school anyway, because Son #2 also went with his date to pick out tuxes).

"No, China wanted to go. Will you give me some money?"

Um. Sure. No problem. I always have $200 in my purse at 10:00 on a Monday night.

"You can do it the way your brother did it. You go pick it, then call and they give me a confirmation number, and I will call it in and pay for it."

"OK. Where do I go do it?"

I hope his brother might explain a little about the process, directions, etc. But son #2 is involved in his movie. "Just google it," he shouts through the bedroom door.

I get online and google the tux place, then try to figure out a couple of landmarks. (Aside from the football field, my boys have remarkable locational deficiencies. Son #2, who can find an open receiver on a football field crawling with 21 other large moving bodies cannot, for the life of him, find the ketchup bottle in the refrigerator, and Son #1 can find a six inch hole to squeeze through on a football field, but can't find his way to the grocery store we have gone to for the past three years without directions).

I find a map of the tux place, then bang on the bedroom door again.

"What do you want?"

"Here are the directions to the tux place. It's about halfway between Kinko's and Sears where you picked me up when I had the flat tire on 2nd.  Think you can find it?"


"Do you need anything else?"

I think I should try the school thing one more time.

"Hey Zay, you know grades are due on Wednesday. Are you good? Do you need anything?"

"Naw, I'm good," he says.

"OK, boys, good night. I love you."

Semper gumby.

Semper gumby. Semper gumby. Semper gumby.


CMacWW said...

Well written! As the mother of two 30ish boys, it brought back memories.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Semper Gumby, indeed! But you kept your cool, mom, even if you didn't have the $200 on you at that very moment.

Dana said...

Oh moms.... you deserve so much better than we kids give you and yet you keep giving and giving and loving us even when we act unappreciative and uncaring. I couldn't help but read this and wonder how often I give my mom (even now as a mid 30 something woman) the worst of me instead of the best. Thank goodness for the unconditional love of a mother. We do love our moms but we definitely don't always show it or give what we should. You handled yourself very well!

fireflytrails said...

Gumby indeed. I am tired just reading about your busy day. And you handled things so well - verrry flexible! Good for you!

Linda B said...

Oh Carol! I admire you for the 'bending' & self-control. How great that is not to be pulled into the drama of high schoolers. I am aghast at the cost expected for all those things. I guess we did it for my son, but don't remember really. My daughter rejected all things like proms in high school, so we didn't have to do that at least. What a day you had, & I'm glad (since I'm late) that it's now Wednesday & wish you a much better day. Enjoy those "younger" students, knowing they too will grow up to be 16 & 17. Arrgh!

Katie Dicesare said...

I agree with "well written" as a mom of 3 boys 9 to 13ish. I always feel like I gain a little insight into how life will be with boys in high school. You are an amazing mom.

Mary Lee said...

"Semper Gumby"

My new favorite phrase!!