It was Mother-Son night at the boys' school last month. While I
had dreams of a Casino Night or a Texas Hold 'Em Tournament, the
Vatican seems pretty committed to this whole bingo thing. It really
makes you wonder if the Twelve Apostles didn't actually invent the
concept of the four-corner win and daubers. Catholics simply love
I think it may be a commandment.
Anyway, I was looking forward to spending some quality time with
my boys. As a first-year family to the Catholic school system, I
was interested in witnessing Danny and Jack in their new
surroundings. I hadn't bothered with any pre-planning and figured
my mom friends would be engaged with their own kids for the
evening. I assumed we'd all just sit, play bingo, and I don't
Like I said. I'm new.
How was I to anticipate that my sons of Judas would ditch me
faster than a torpedoed submarine the moment we walked in the door?
They hustled towards their friends without so much as a single
backward glance or word of adieu. The room was crowded with
bustling kids, moms, and bingo distributors. It began to suffocate
my rationale self.
There were instant flashbacks to the junior high lunchroom.
Where would I go? Who would sit with me? And are those
My social anxiety shot into overdrive.
Thankfully, I have logged in many years as a closet lunatic, so
I refrained from pulling my hair or screaming words that Jesus
might not fully appreciate. Internalizing my increasing panic, I
casually looked around for just one known entity. I assessed my
options were limited to the "hi and bye" variety of mom who already
appeared to have established her group.
Just as I hatched a plan to hide in the bathroom until the last
bingo was called, a smiling face appeared before me.
"Marianne? How are you doing? Are you by yourself? Come sit over
It was Paula. Not a close neighbor. Not a relative. Not someone
whose kids I have watched, driven, or misplaced. Paula was simply a
true beacon of faith, offering up a spot at the inn just as I was
ready to head over to the cold porcelain manger.
I fought the urge to throw myself at Paula's feet as experience
has taught me that usually just makes people nervous.
For the remainder of the evening, I basked in the warm feeling
of being claimed. It didn't matter that I didn't know the other
women at the table. It didn't matter that Jack prevailed at bingo
and won another blasted Rainbow Loom. It didn't even matter that my
plans for bonding with my sons had gone awry.
I had been the recipient of an act of kindness, and I was
committed to providing the same back.
So this week, I attempted to give a kid some goggles at swim
practice, provide directions to a lost mom, and bake banana bread
for my pregnant neighbor.
The swim kid thought I was a child abductor, I botched east with
west while giving directions, and I burnt the banana bread to a
I'm thinking from now on, I should probably just stick with
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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