Parenting Stories: We Are Not Amused.
This week the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. I am quite a fan of monarchy, especially the kind with all pomp and little power. And had I been in England with my friends and family, or if it hadn’t been M’s fortieth birthday, or if I didn’t have to spend the day in Little League Purgatory, I’d have made a Jubilee party — complete with little cakes and sandwiches like these adorable Nigella Lawson confections.
But it isn’t easy sharing the week with Her Majesty. We have two birthdays and an anniversary this week, and therefore it’s always rather festive (if not slightly stressful) around here in early June. M has been away, but I was still prepared to pretend that this week was all about celebration… but that damn Queen insisted on one-upping me.
SHE floated down the Thames in a flotilla of boats. I drove hither and yonder to games and practices galore in my beat-up minivan and was, once again, stopped in a parking lot by some guy offering to fix all the dents “for next to nothing.”
I imagine SHE had a team of people ensuring that she was well-rested each night. On one night this week, someone who never wets the bed wet the bed, the baby was up with a face full of snot, and Fiona pooped in her pull-up, forcing me to scream at the top of my lungs in the middle of the night, “PULL-UPS ARE NOT FOR POOPING.” It really all was quite glamorous.
HER ailing husband missed some of the celebrations due to a bladder infection, and the world wished him well. Bennett, my eldest, sprained his ankle during a basketball game and is not only hobbling around, but has rendered himself completely useless at the moment. (I suppose he and Phillip have the “useless” bit in common.)
SHE was driven around in a circa 1902 carriage, open air through London. I spent yet more time in the minivan.
SHE and her family changed from fabulous dress to fabulous dress. I think I changed out of my running clothes once this week, and that was into my favorite green pants, which I discovered have an intransigent grease stain on them.
SHE was serenaded by pop royalty at a Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace. Andrew Lloyd Webber even composed a new tune for the day. I arrived early and nabbed front row seats to Francie’s kindergarten graduation, which the school is now calling Celebration of Learning (it seems they finally cottoned on to the fact that caps and gowns for 6-year-olds was nothing short of ridiculous, even if quite sweet.) Paul McCartney did not perform. But Fiona did sit next to me and moan the entire time, until I gave up and let her play Barbie Fashionista on my phone.
We both had rain, but she endured it with trademark stoicism. On the day I was scheduled to run ten miles, we were experiencing what even the inept weather people were calling record rains. I postponed.
SHE had loyal fans and well-wishers turn out in the rain by the thousands to cheer her on as she drove and floated around. Me? The checkout guy at Costco looked at my ID and told me I was much hotter in person. Clearly, we take what we can get.
SHE commissioned a Canadian artist to paint an enormous portrait done in honor of the festivities. While Bennett was home nursing his ankle, he downloaded an app entitled Age Your Face. He took a picture of me and then thrust in my face an image of what I will look like should I survive all of this and live to 80. It was horrific. Utterly horrific. I wish such appalling, indecent aging on nobody, or at least nobody I can publicly name.
SHE capped off the week with a Thanksgiving Ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I will be celebrating the actual day of my birthday by picking the kids up a bit early (as promised) from school and taking them to see Madagascar III: Europe’s Most Wanted. Please, hold your applause.
Honestly, being a mother is a bit like being the Queen, or at least it’s the closest I’ll come. I have subjects who can be both loyal and mutinous, but of whom I am usually rather fond. I am frequently embarrassed by the antics of my children. Although they may be far less glamorous, in my family, there are many, many wardrobe changes. I do wear a hat daily, and yes ratty baseball caps count. I enjoy speaking in third person and people often mistake my boredom for stoicism. (We are not amused.) Oh, and say what you like, but like Her Majesty, at least half of my job is just showing up… and occasionally waving.
Congratulations, Your Highness and may God Save Both of Us.
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About Lea Geller
I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages nine and down)… Currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well. That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell. I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely. Check out the rest of Lea's family's adventures on her blog, This Is the Corner We Pee In.