Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mom, not the Government Cheese Again?

I am not perfect.  There, I said it.  I don't pretend to be, either.

At one point or another in my kid's lives, I have neglected them.  Yep, I actually make mistakes.  Shocker, huh?  I have forgotten an important assignment, or that it was special t-shirt day or that I was supposed to help them remember to bring in 4 empty paper towel rolls to school.  

I don't really have a lot to complain about - I have two only children that were raised 12 years apart so it's not like I have a huge family to juggle and schedule.  Both of my boys were simplistic in their activities (by my doing of course).  Our rule has always been one school, one sport activity at one time.  I require some time be spent at home doing NOTHING but playing outside or laughing with a family member.  Even with the advent of the stupid technology we are pulled towards we still have a "no phone at dinner" rule in our house.  Family time is precious to me and we don't get near enough of it in my opinion.

But in my defense, I have been a working mom for the past 20 years.  That does put a spin on my memory.  I have to remember several clients and their employee benefit plans and all their intricacies, so it's no surprise I forget the paper towel rolls.

Bubba's school life was a little bit like jail time.  Not federal pound you in the ass prison but more like county jail.  He could come and go of course but once he got home I just took over like a drill sergeant.  He struggled in school.  From 2nd grade on, he just had a really hard time.  So I took the next 10 years riding him all day, every day.  I was involved in every assignment, from a single paper to a 10 page essay.  I sat at our kitchen table for HOURS and HOURS trying to figure out why he didn't like school.  Hmmm, I have no idea.  Couldn't possibly have anything to do with me, I'm sure.  I too had difficulties in school.  Focus has always been hard for me and taking 6 classes a day with multiple mounds of homework was extremely hard for me to juggle.  It wasn't unusual for me to miss homework unfortunately.

Little guy's experience is completely the opposite.  I hardly ever have to sit down with him.  HE brings me his homework and shows me what he's done.  He loves school completely in every way.  He knows tests are coming three days away and actually studies for them ~ independently.  He reads and reads and reads as many books as he can get him hands on.  My expectations of him are the same as they were for Bubba so I'm not sure how they can be so different?  But alas, all kids are different.

But both the boys have something in common as it relates to my memory:  the government cheese sandwich. It actually isn't called that (at least not anymore), but anyone that has kids in school probably knows that if you fail to send in lunch money for your kiddo, the school gives them a plain cheese sandwich to eat for free.  See, they aren't complete asses - they WILL feed your kid for free if you need help!  But no hot food for them - nope, they are destined to eat the cheese.

My hubs told me years ago that it was the same for him when he was a kid in his school - no money, cheese sandwich.  Of course the schools bought in bulk (as I'm sure they do now) and had these HUGE blocks of cheese... kind of like what the government would buy for our military.  Or for any government institution I would guess.  Really what I think hubs meant was WAY back in the depression era, the government would distribute bread and cheese to people who didn't have any money to eat.  

Hence.... government cheese.

Oh and to be clear on this - I'm not talking about a buttery, toasted, melty cheese sandwich.  I'm talking Wonder White Bread and a slice of American Cheese.  No melt.  No butter.  No toast.

Bubba ate the government cheese a time or two.  Little guy has too.  The difference is Bubba wouldn't have said much to me.  Little guy?  When I came in the door last night before I even removed my coat, he reminded me IMMEDIATELY that he didn't have any lunch money in his account and he was NOT going to eat the government cheese.  Yep, classy I know.

No fears, little guy.  Account is full again.  I'm sorry momma forgot and you almost had to eat the government cheese.

Ah... the joys of learning to navigate parenthood.  I'm sure the boys will throw this in a therapy session one day.  Glad to help you out, kiddos!

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