To all my ladies, mom or not: Today is your day.
Do what you want.
Live your dream, banish your fear.
You are amazing – right now, right here.
Have a fantastic day!
My husband is in court today. Why? Because he’s an idiot, that’s why. This is how it went down.
Due to a myriad of contributing factors, we have recently downgraded our family transportation to a single car. One result of this choice is that the children and I drive my husband to the train station for his commute to work and then pick him up again each evening. About two weeks ago, I received a call from my wonderful husband approximately an hour before his train’s arrival time in which he confessed to me, a hint of incredulity in his sheepish voice, that he had been arrested.
Since we hadn’t planned any bank heists, instances of masked vigilantism, or naked jaywalking escapades, I understandably had considerable difficulty processing this information, so I shook my head to dissipate the fog of skepticism and responded with an eloquent, “You what?”
Thus began a series of events that I am still having a hard time believing possible. Still not quite understanding what was going on, I was told that the Metra Police (seriously – train cops – I had no idea) were taking my husband “downtown” (I thought that only happened in the movies) for processing. Knowing that in Chicago traffic, it could take me hours to reach the facility where my husband was being held, I loaded the children in the car, set up the GPS, and headed to McDonald’s (or The Golden Arches of Kiddie Mecca) to purchase a dinner that my children might actually eat after playing with (and most likely fighting over before breaking) their cheap plastic toys, before embarking on my journey to bail my spouse out of the Big House.
Enroute to the clink, I had to pull over on the highway to try to clean my 3-year-old daughter’s regurgitated McNuggets from, well, everywhere, with the solitary diaper wipe left in my “Adventure Pack” as my 7-year-old son completely lost his marbles in his utter abhorrence to being in close proximity to his sister’s puke. In my haste, I did not put extra clothes in my Adventure Pack, and was forced to move the most heavily soiled articles, (jacket, booster seat cover, floor mats) to the trunk and allow my daughter to stew in her shirt and leggings holding her crusty lovey, Bob, before continuing my trek.
The Metra Police building where my husband was being held was surrounded by an immense fence which I was only able to access after being flagged down by officers that had just exited the compound and given instructions to “drive to the gate, press the button, drive to the westernmost building and wait in the car for an officer to meet you.” The officer that met us told me that my husband was being transferred to the Chicago Police and we had to wait in the car. We waited. And waited. And waited. We were not allowed inside the building until my son and I had to urinate so badly we had seriously considered the side of a police car a viable alternative if we could only be sure we wouldn’t be caught on surveillance video. As our eyeballs floated, we were finally escorted into the building to pee and make an attempt to more thoroughly clean up my daughter.
Before they transferred my delinquent husband to the Chicago Police, a Metra Sergeant arrived and asked if my husband had ever been arrested before. When I answered, “No,” he responded that processing always takes a long time for first timers and that it would most likely be a while before they wrapped things up at the Chicago station. So, I appealed to my parents to come rescue the children for the night (I still can’t decide who was more excited by that prospect, my parents or the children) and followed the Metra officer’s vehicle, with my husband handcuffed in the back, to the Chicago slammer.
My husband was finally sent on his way on an individual bond at about 1:00 in the morning after about 10 hours in the poky.
His crime? He was on the wrong side of the train that had just pulled into the station, so he went under the train to get on. This action is, apparently, a felony. The engineer saw him, had a conductor remove him from the train and turn him over to the local police, who then transferred him to the Metra Police, and then, of course, to the Chicago Police. Because my miscreant of a husband was so polite and cooperative, the Metra Police decided to “take it easy” on him and only charged him with a misdemeanor.
His punishment? Twenty hours of community service and attorney’s fees. Seriously. I wish I had the imagination required to make this stuff up.
The moral of this story? Don’t be an idiot. It could be a felony.
My relationship with my mother-in-law, otherwise known as Hurricane Helen, has been stormy, to say the least. We have been at odds over everything from whether it’s appropriate for her to replace throw rugs and bed linens in my home as she sees fit (she said they were too dirty to clean) to the proper response to a toddler that bites a playmate (she unabashedly told me that biting him back would teach him a lesson he wouldn’t forget). It may be that our life experiences have imbued us with radically different philosophical outlooks. It may be because we are both fiercely independent, stubborn, and used to getting our own way. Perhaps it’s merely a standard result of Scorpio – Leo interactions. I don’t know.
What I do know is that she has, usually with the best of intentions, driven me completely batshit crazy on innumerable occasions beginning with her attempt to hijack my wedding plans and, more recently, with her unshakable belief that she can cram 48 hours worth of “errands” into a 5 hour visit. This belief does not include a plan. I imagine that would take all the fun out of it for her. As a meticulous planner who must have several backup plans in order to function on a daily basis, this Pollyanna attitude deeply disturbs me.
For years, the Hurricane has blown into town and run roughshod over my wishes while staying in my home without even the slightest bit of hesitation or remorse. With the assistance of the hearing aid that she refuses to wear (her most common excuses: “it’s uncomfortable,” “the batteries are dead,” “it’s been misplaced,” “it’s too loud’), she simply only hears what she wants to hear and therefore, will not acknowledge any opposition to her actions. I have been bullied by this woman for so long that I was utterly astonished yesterday to find myself feeling sympathy for her. It seems that while I wasn’t paying attention, the Hurricane faded into a zephyr.
While talking with her on the phone about her husband, whose health very recently took a turn for the worse, I realized that she is suddenly facing the possibility of her own obsolescence. Her self worth is helplessly entwined in how much others need her. That’s why almost every verbal altercation we’ve had stemmed from her usurping my place in my home because she doesn’t know of any other way to be assured that she is needed. If no one needs her, then how can she exist?
This glimmer of insight into my mother-in-law’s personality allowed me to look back over our relationship in a new light and release a lot of the hurt, resentment and anger I’ve nursed in my heart toward her. I will probably need a lot more introspection to absolve her for hiring “Those Funny Little People” as a gift for my wedding reception (I had my heart set on a classy and dignified affair), but the seeds of forgiveness have been sowed. And I have high hopes for the harvest.