I do not profess to be a Hillary Clinton fan; however, if there was anything she should take credit for it is her message, “It takes a village.”
My parents divorced when I was two years old, remarried (each other) when I was 13 years old and divorced a final time a year later. The second divorce was messy.
I never thought I would be divorced—pretty much ever. As a mom with young children, my girlfriends and I had a pact. The pact was “if it was my child doing something not appropriate, I would want to know”.
I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. Having a coffee at Starbucks, elated that I had friends that felt that same as me! Two days later, I get an IM from the same friend.
Suzanne: Have you ever heard of the book, Choked?
Jaye: Why, yes! My oldest (at the time was 18) just finished reading that book over the summer.
Suzanne: Well, Anders brought it to middle school and loaned it to my son.
Jaye: (mortified) WHAT??????!!!!!!
For those of you who don’t know Choke, it was a book, turned movie, written by Chuck Palahniuk.
Alex was not a big reader in school. The last summer before he entered the Navy we went on a two week vacation. Alex’s first request was to go to Barnes & Noble to get books. He was even willing to PAY FOR THEM HIMSELF. I should have known something was up, but I was giddy with excitement. I gladly paid for them. When he picked up Choke and I read the side sleeve, I was concerned. I approached the sales assistant (never trust a 20 something old male sales clerk to root for the Mom Team vs. the Male Teen Team). “No”, he said. “The book is great”, he said. “Chuck Palahniuk is a great author”, he said. Asshat. He could have sold Hustler magazine as a health and wellness guide. I was so gullible.
Chuck Palahniuk’s book Choke is about a man who keeps his mother afloat in a nursing home by faking accidents at restaurants and collecting personal injury money. Not so bad, you say? Then there is the side story of his sexual additions, his visits to Oversexed Anonymous (OA) in which he works the 12 step program for an hour and then bangs the girl sitting next to him at the OA meeting in the bathroom, on the tile floor, before he has even left the building.
Anders has not only taken the book to school, he claims to have read the book and then given it to his friend for his reading pleasure. Suzanne found him reading the book as he was finishing the last page.
It takes a village.
Aaron at the ripe age of 10 asks me to burn a CD for him. His brothers have been listening to music with him. Aaron doesn’t yet own any type of I-anything. A simple CD he asks for.
Mom: Of course, dear. Just get me the names of the song you would like.
Aaron: Ok, Mama.
Aaron provides a list of songs.
Mom: Honey, I don’t know who sings these songs.
Aaron: Star Fucker.
Mom: Excuse me? (now bellowing for his older brothers)
Mom: Alex/Anders – what do you think you are doing? The Star Fuckers? Really? You couldn’t give them more wholesome choices?
Alex: Mom, there is no The.
Anders: Fuckers is not plural.
It takes a village.
My girlfriend’s oldest son left for college. Before he left, as all moms would, she asked him to clean out his room. As all sons leaving for college would, he ignored her. After spending a full day cleaning out his room, she called her husband at work.
Wife: Hi, Honey. I just spent all day cleaning our son’s room. I have bad news and good news.
Husband: Hmmmm…..Ok, what’s the bad news.
Wife: I have just found the largest stash of porn I have ever seen.
Husband: What’s the good news?
Wife: He’s straight.
It takes a village.
A typical weekend at the cabin with the boys, their cousin and a third friend. I boot up my computer the next morning to stream Pandora and up pops “PornHub.com”. I figured it would be a combination of all three of them.
The three boys appear bleary eyed to the kitchen foraging for Captain Crunch, sit down with overfilled cereal bowls hunched over their food like they haven’t eaten in a month.
Me: So…….Who likes PornHub.com?
Third Friend: It was me.
Me: (silently thinking) FUCK. Now what am I going to do? It’s not even my kid and he’s honest. His dad is going to blow a gasket. I need to talk with his mom.
His dad came to pick him up (as regularly scheduled). That poor kid. He followed us around the house for 15 minutes while I gave his dad the tour. He was terrified I was going to rat him out.
After they left, I called his mom. A lovely, lovely woman.
Me: Hi, Sue. It’s Jaye Lynn. Yes, yes. Your husband just picked up your son. What a great kid he is. Yes, I think he had a great time. I just wanted to let you know we had a little problem. I don’t want to blow it out of proportion, but I thought you would want to know. He downloaded porn onto my computer. It’s ok. We talked about it. Really, he is welcome back anytime (silently thinking….without access to my laptop).
Leave it to a 14 year old to teach you that a) you can now download porn for free and b) it’s a pretty legit site.
It takes a village.
You can’t raise your children by yourself. If you are lucky to have relatives and friends that have common sense and good values and keep an eye out for kids that aren’t even their own, you really are lucky.
If you find yourself divorced, and your children now have three dads (as Aaron refers to the men in his life) and one mom, but all three dads have a common sense of parental guidance, fondness and responsibility for children that are not their own, you have achieved a miracle. I am thankful for this miracle. Can they drive me crazy (both boyz and three dads)? You betcha. I told my boys from the very beginning. Your dad and I may not still be together, but I guarantee you this. You have watched us fight and make up for 20+ years. You will continue to watch us fight and make up.
To John and Ken – all the alcoholic toasts in the world couldn’t be thanks enough. Y’all Rock.