Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Play Date

They showed up for the play date and I couldn't believe my eyes; in walked one of the Beauty Queens from the doctor's office!


Note: If you haven't read these stories, The Scribe Wasn't Kidding and The Sagget Lover, let me fill you in. My daughter put a "kick me" note on a kid's back.  I decided the only way to fix the situation was to arrange a play date for them.  Then (the day after the note happened) while at the doctor's office, I ran into some immaculate mothers.  I ended up telling the doctor that those beauty queens thought he looked like Bob Sagget  (he was less than pleased with their comment.)

So, with all that being said, it was time for the play date.  Someone knocked on the door, a delicate knock that wouldn't kill a fly resting on the door.  I gasped when I saw the little girl who'd suffered from the note and the woman standing by her--HER MOM WAS A BEAUTY QUEEN FROM THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE!  She looked gorgeous in a tight top and fancy pants.  

I freaked out, wondering if she'd recognize me since I stuck out like a sore thumb at the office.  I'm not saying I'm worse than Medusa on a Sunday, but I wasn't primped like those women.  All of them had fake nails, perfect hair and designer clothes.  I had a ponytail, four kids and a smile to beat them all.

I invited both of them in.  The Scribe and her daughter glared at each other over the kitchen table.  I knew they didn't want to be there, but as the beauty queen and I talked for awhile, the girls broke my best expectations.  Their glares turned from hatred to interest.  They giggled over things we said.  An occasional, "Oh Mo--om," would creak from their mouths and before I knew it, they asked if they could go upstairs to play.  

After they left, The Scribe practically took my power of speech with her.  I didn't know what to say.  It's as if The Scribe had shielded me with her carefree presence.  I worried The Beauty Queen would suddenly turn and say she knew what I said to the doctor.  I must confess, I was a bit curious; I wanted to know if he'd asked her about the Sagget comment.  

"They seem to be getting along nicely," she said.

I nodded, changing into a mute, with little make-up and a ponytail still stationed at the back of my head.  I looked at her, her beautiful hair and sparkling jewelry.  It reminded me of growing up because my mom, my sister and aunt were all sweet-natured beauty queens.  There's nothing wrong with beauty queens, at least some of them.  But I've played the violin at far too many wedding to come away unscathed.  Some beauty queens become bride-zillas and worse mom-zillas who tell their kids when and how to poo!  It makes me glad I never wanted to be primped and proper.  I'd rather scale the side of a mountain, sew ten outfits for my kids, or build a spud gun than do my hair in ringlets and risk turning into a mom-zilla.

"I'm so glad they're playing well.  I worried we'd have to cancel the play date.  I've been so busy.  Taking my boy to football . . . going to doctor's appointments."  Her eyes met mine.  So she knew about Sagget!  I suddenly worried she'd discovered even more.  Maybe she knew about the "kick me" note.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Oh, yes."  I gulped.  

"You look pale."

Was she there to torture me?  I always look pale.  I'm almost albino!  Plus, she knew I was guilty of the Sagget lie.  She probably knew about the note and still she didn't say a word.

Now, when I get nervous it IS NOT a good thing.  I crack dumb jokes and get so giggly it's ridiculous.  As I sat there, about ready to spew some joke about the afterlife, I heard our girls laughing.  I listened and they shared secrets about how they both dislike the boy who calls The Scribe "Mama."  They went on and on about him and how they never knew hanging out could be so fun.  

"I just didn't know you were this cool," my daughter said.

"Same to you."  They both giggled like that for a long time and when I looked back at The Beauty Queen we both grinned.

I forgot my joke and asked the first thing that came to mind, "So why did you go to the doctor?" 

That's when it happened.  The Beauty Queen, who'd I'd judged, started telling me a story.  She didn't talk about bringing her boy to the pediatrician--she talked about her own doctor's visit--how she goes in for treatments four times a week!  She weaved words about how she almost died years before.  I cried with her and couldn't believe how much that beautiful woman has endured.  Her life is still in danger, yet she manages to be an amazing mother and wife, a wonderful person and now someone I could call a friend.

I couldn't believe her story or the fact that I'd judged her or her child.  She said years went by when she practically lived at the hospital and she's so glad her daughter has a friend now because things have been really hard for her.  I sobbed, completely cried.  I felt bad for judging and that my kid wrote a "kick me" note, but most of all I felt in awe of The Beauty Queen's strength.  That's why my conscience got the better part of me.

"I need to ask you three things," I blurted suddenly.

"Okay," she wiped a tear from her eye and waited in her soft, delicate manner.

I took a deep breath and decided to go from easiest to hardest.  "Did your kids' pediatrician ask you anything about Bob Sagget?"

She tilted her head, "Why no . . . no he didn't.  How come?"

I sighed with relief and went on quickly.  "Well, ummm . . . never mind.  And next, did you know that my daughter put a 'kick me' note on your daughter's back."  I bit my lip.  That DID NOT sound good.  I waited, breathing slowly.

The woman smiled and grabbed my hand.  She gave it a squeeze.  "I thought you'd never ask.  This whole time I've been sitting here, wondering what to say about it and then I told you my story instead.  Sometimes I get so nervous."

"Me too," I said.  "You're just so put together and I look like a ragamuffin!  I can't believe you knew!  You're so different than I expected."  I paused and then asked the hardest question of all.  "Would you . . . read my journal?  I'm publishing it at the end of this year.  I'd really love to get your opinion on it.  I wrote it about my son who died.  He was so perfect to me."  My breath caught on the words.  "I'm just glad I have my journal to remember every detail about his life."

Tears filled her eyes.  "I'm so sorry.  I can't imagine how hard, but I'd love to read it.  I feel so honored."

We sat there crying again.  Our kids laughed upstairs and I nearly choked on a sob.  "This is turning into one heck of a play date," I said.

"And you know, about that note. I don't think it was completely your daughter's fault."

"I can't believe she did it.  I mean, she did put cat poop on a teacher's chair once--that was awful, but this is worse."

"But it turned out okay."  She smiled and laughed.  "Because of that note our girls are getting along great now and I have a new friend."

I can't believe how strange life is sometimes.  God brings people together for different reasons.  I mean, it's crazy, because of a stupid "kick me" note, I'm friends with an amazing Beauty Queen.