Saturday, August 07, 2010

Keep on Cheering in the Free World!

Sorry Bob Dylan but that's the song I'm singing loud and proud. With one pom-pom-carrying fist raised to the heavens I will make sure justice is carried out and cheerleaders throughout my community are represented and protected.

Okay, I haven't lost my mind, I've just attended the first of many mandatory (yes, MANDATORY) cheer-parent meetings of the season. Now before you get your bloomers in a bunch let me state here the obligatory disclaimer: This post is purely satirical. I do not intend to blaspheme, slander, disrespect or otherwise misrepresent ANYONE involved with our local cheerleader organization. Hell, I was even a Team Mom for one season and regret enjoyed it immensely. I respect everyone involved with the organization and thank you for what you do throughout the year. Just keep in mind that my twisted sense of humor must find irony and sarcasm in everything around me lest I go insane. So I apologize in advance to anyone involved for anything said that offends. Lighten up and take a minute to see it from my smart-alecky point of view. You just may laugh, too.

Anyway, this past week was the first week of cheer practice. My 12 year old has been a cheerleader for half her life. That hurt just to type it. Anyone who knows me from high school knows I have a love/hate relationship with cheerleading. I love it because my daughter does. She LIVES cheerleading for three months out of the year. We hear cheers being recited from the shower, continually listen to cheer music being blasted from speakers while routines are learned and practiced and we recite "one,two - three,four - five,six - se...ven,EIGHT" over and over in our sleep. We gladly and proudly support our cheerleader and her efforts to perfect her high-jumps and cartwheels right down to a 'high V, low V, daggers, T!!" We attend every game and practice and the ultimate of every cheerleader's career...Competition! I love to watch her on the sidelines even when the temps dip below my comfort range of 68 - 75 degreesF and I haven't spiked my hot chocolate with anything stronger than milk. She's my daughter and what makes her happy, makes me happy.

However...(you knew that was coming, right?)...let me get to the root of the 'hate' portion. I wanted to be a cheerleader in high school. I dreamed of being a cheerleader with the cute short-skirted uniform worn to school the day before game day and the perfected high-jumps and cartwheels. But we all know the end of this story. I tried out freshman year and didn't make it. My high-jumps and cartwheels were FAR from perfect, but more importantly, I wasn't part of the "in" crowd and my pom-poms just weren't big enough to fill the cheer sweater. Cliques and scornful looks and snide comments ended my cheering career before it even began. Can you blame me for my resulting distaste for cheerleaders that has hung on for more than ::ahem:: ... well, A LOT of years?

So with the first week of my daughter's cheer practice comes the first mandatory parent meeting. I really don't know what would happen if neither Randy nor I attended these meetings, but frankly they have me too scared to find out. These cheerleader Leaders have everyone intimidated. We have to line up no sooner than one minute before practice starts to sign the girls in, line up no later than one minute after practice ends to sign the girls out, line up to sign in for the meeting. Don't forget to get your color-coded folder-stocked-with-many-forms-to-fill-out-and-return-ASAP-or-your-daughter-will-never-be-allowed-to-cheer-again. And puh-lease sit quietly and attentively while we go over this season's rules, which are almost identical to last season's rules but with a few more thrown in for fun.

My favorite one of the communist-rules yesterday was: There are too many bathroom breaks being taken so puh-lease make sure your cheerleader goes before leaving the house. Doesn't sound too unreasonable, right? Well, cheer practice is 2 hours long in the HOT sun and they are required by rules encouraged to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. Now I know my bladder is many, many years older than theirs, but I know I couldn't continually hydrate AND jump around for two hours without having to pee (or pee myself). What's the answer? Scheduled bathroom breaks? Don't drink TOO much? Cheer in the shade? I don't know, but I'm heading to Wal-Mart to get my daughter pull-ups 'just-in-case.'

Another chuckle escaped from me when the subject of fundraising came up. We have two fundraisers for great reasons. The girls get t-shirts for 'free' and fair entry for 'free' and trophies and banquet dinner for 'free,' and the girls love all this 'free' stuff. But we parents pay for it and once again, I am not saying this is wrong. I just don't like being told that each girl is 'required to donate' a set amount for one fundraiser. I know that many parents slack off on various sport and school-related fundraisers and I've been guilty of this as well. But the hell-bent on rebellion part of me resents being told I HAVE to do anything. And being told that I HAVE to write a check (or beg family and friends) for a certain amount or my daughter will NOT get her uniform just burns my ...backside. Sounds a bit like extortion, doesn't it? I've paid the registration fee and the snack fee and the refundable uniform deposit fee. I have bought the required parts of the uniform that my daughter has grown out of and have paid for new cheer sneakers. I will buy my hot chocolate at the concession stand and buy 50/50 raffle tickets at the games. I will purchase assorted team logo-wear for both my daughter and myself. I will cheerfully and willingly drive my daughter to and from practices and games no matter how far away. And I will buy our tickets to the banquet to watch my daughter eat her 'free' meal and receive her 'free' trophy which will more than likely end up in a box in her closet with the many other 'free' trophies I've paid for over the years. Maybe I should start a Christmas Club account this year for next years expenses, or have an allotment sent from Randy's paycheck straight to their account. All this aside, piss-poor planning on my part DOES require you to hear about it. Any amount of money for my daughter to be happy. (That sound you heard was coffee spewing from my nostrils - did you choke on that line too? haha!)

I dearly hope nobody takes this to heart. Seriously. A little humor (usually at someone else's expense) goes a long way to helping me get through the day, and like I said before this was all written tongue-in-cheek (well, MOST of it anyway). My daughter is at that age where self-esteem and self confidence can take a hit quite easily if I get too careless and leave my mommy-watch for a minute. I am beyond grateful and thankful that for at least three months out of the year cheering gives her this self-confidence boost. God knows that at her age or even now I wouldn't have the nuts guts to get up in front of a crowd and do what she does.

Yes, I am all talk and no action. A-C-T-I-O-N ACTION!

"Why some animals eat their young"...

...or "NOW I know why the female praying mantis kills her spouse after mating."

It is almost 1 AM, as in "the morning." My day started at 8 AM - yesterday. It was a normal day around our household. That's not always a good thing. There were three girls (Shelby had a friend sleep over) and I here all day. At times I had a few minutes to myself...while the girls played Wii downstairs, when they went outside, while I was in the shower (although I did have to explain why I wasn't in the position to take a phone call while showering...).

The rest of the hours were filled with the sounds of children: laughter (Shelby and her friend) and arguing (Kathleen and Shelby) - and the remnants of children: empty soda cans left in various places (none of which were the recycling bin), dirty dishes not put in the dishwasher, lights left on in broad daylight, flip flops left under the dining table and in front of doorways, more dirty dishes left on top of the stove, empty food boxes and a milk carton left on the kitchen counter, more lights (and the television) left on downstairs...get the picture?

Oh, I almost forgot the dirty looks and rolling eyes I got everytime I told someone to stop arguing or to pick up the messes left behind. Academy Awards could've been handed out right and left today to the person with "Loudest Sigh" or "Most Profanity yelled at a Sister" or "Most Dramatic Eye-Roll."

Guiness would be proud at the records broken today for "Highest Number of Drinking Glasses Used" and "Adding the Most Letter "O's" to the Name 'Mo-o-o-o-o-o-o-om" and "Ignoring Your Mother Calling You the Longest".

Yes, it was a normal day around here. And according to the Mothering Handbook that I have yet to see in existence, let alone read, I'm supposed to take it all in and roll with the punches. Not. This. Mom.

I'm sorry, but after 18 glorious hours of mothering I am tired of it. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughters more than anything else in this world. I would do anything for them and lay down my life for them. But apparently asking for a little help around here is equal to telling them they have to run naked down the middle of Route 12. Now, they are not bad kids - not at all - and sometimes I do get a bit of help: some vacuuming, dishes loaded or unloaded, laundry that makes it all-the-way-to-the-washer rather than thrown down the cellar stairs (a tear just came to my eye).

But I digress. This post really isn't about what they do or do not do. It's more about me (of course). I want to know just how long in one 24 hour period do I have to 'graciously' (and if you know me, you know I use that tern loosely) put up with this crap? Seriously. Less than an hour ago chaos nearly erupted because it was LATE and I was still hearing about a loose tooth that won't come out and was asked avery two minutes to "just LOOK at it" and ::::gasp:::: I just didn't want to. AND I couldn't find my damn glasses so I COULD see it and get it over with.

So fussing ensued and voices were raised and daddy had to come out of his room and console the person who 'only wanted Mom to look at my tooth.' Sharp looks were exchanged and even sharper words flew across the room and here I sit on the computer at 1 AM!!!

Really? I thought my day was over. Don't laugh. My girls are older and do not require round-the-clock supervision and constant monitoring. I don't want to neglect them, I just want to stop referreeing. At any given time during my day I yell "Take it outside" like a barroom bouncer. Most times I'd give anything to see them duking it out in the front yard rather than have to listen to the petty bickering over who's breathing whose air or who looked at whom.

WHERE in the manual does it say I have to be NICE??? I love them, I feed them, I give them a place to live. I don't have to tattoo "Welcome" on my forehead.

Whew...I feel a little bit better. If you feel the need to comment on this rant, please do and try to keep it pleasant. I don't need you to agree with me, but I don't want to hear what a crappy mother I am. Because it may just send me to the roof with a pair of binoculars and a BB gun. And I'm NOT taking prisoners.