So this morning wasn't so different from most school days. I got up at the ass-crack of dawn (actually like 5:45, which is when SOME of my friends are just getting home from their a.m. runs...overachievers), put on my big slippers (yay fall!) and started waking the babies.
If you know me, or have read my earlier ramblings, you know that morning time with my teens is a wee bit stressful. Especially with Charlie, the 16 year old. This is the 5th year he's had to wake up in time for a 7:00 a.m. bus, and this is also the 5th year I have cursed the powers-that-be for thinking 7:00 a.m. is a good time for teenagers to be up and awake and functioning.
But I have to give the manchild some credit. He's been way better so far this year. Today was ok..he was up, ate his oatmeal he ordered and then took a diva shower (my term for an overly long shower...I don't think the place to linger is under a shower head spewing out gallons of water). As he was doing this, my budding manchild, Henry, slept. I have never had a problem with Henry not getting up before, so I didn't bother to check in on him after my initial "Wakey Wakey eggs and bakey" reveille.
So, 7:00 came and went. Molly made it, she always does, always has. She really is as close to perfect as a 14 year old girl can be. Love that girl. Anyhoo...so Charlie/diva was ready to go at about the same time Henry had wiped the drool off of his cheek and put on some clothes. MomTaxi, again.
Only this time, I was berated the whole way to school. Charlie insisted that his tardiness was somehow my fault. And you know why he thought that? Get this: "You didn't make my oatmeal fast enough."
For real. If we hadn't been out in public, and if there weren't child abuse laws, I seriously think I would have smacked him, hard. Head, shoulder, kidney area, whatever. I wanted to pummel him. Five long years I've been dealing with this morning bullshit, five long years I've tried every trick in the book to get this kid awake, clean, fed and ready for school on time. I've tried the hardass approach, the soft and gooey approach, the bribery approach, the "ship 'em off to daddy" approach. Everything. I have accepted the fact that he simply is not going to be easy. Stop laughing, bitches! Yes it's taken me 16 years to realize/accept this fact. What can I say, I'm a natural optimist. I love the kid, but he's a tough one.
So I get them dropped of at their respective schools, and I'm feeling ragey. Perfect time to call Comcast to downgrade, right? Right. So I call up Comcast and start the downgrade process. Yes, I am admitting it here in black and white: I was on the phone while driving. Sue me.
Comcast lady answers the phone and right I away I get a mental picture of her: older black woman, maybe mid 50's or so, short hair, warm eyes, sitting at her Comcast desk, cup of coffee off to the right, computer screen with all of my information on it in glowing in front of her. "What can I do for you today, Jennifer?" she asks me, and something in the timbre, pitch, tone of her voice makes me want to lean my head on her shoulder and cry. She sounded a little like Maya Angelou. I wanted to tell her about my morning, about my life. I wanted to hear this voice say to me, "Girl, it's all going to be ok." I wanted her to tell me that I'm strong, that I can do this, to not give up.
I have always had an affinity for black women. God, I hope this doesn't sound racist or creepy or anything like that, but I have always, always felt this way. I think I can trace it back to the first time I read Maya's work. I was about 10 or 11 at the time, and going through some icky stuff (I love my mom, and I won't go into detail about my tweens/teens and things that happened out of respect for her. But lets just say that being a young girl is hard, being a young girl who has a home life that is less than ideal, a life that hurts and scares her, makes it even harder.). One of my teachers read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and I remember sitting at a desk and feeling like someone, somewhere, knew how I felt. Looking back, it almost makes me laugh...I'm most certain that Ms. Angelou didn't write that poem for a scared, lonely 5th grade white girl in the suburbs of Minneapolis, but her words fit me. They worked. They soothed. I became a wee bit obsessed with Maya, and from her I found the works of other African American women and loved those as well. I know good writing isn't a matter of what color the author is, but I do find comfort in the stories this particular group of ladies have written. I also have a girl crush on Queen Latifah, but I won't get into that now.
So anyways. I'm on the phone with Comcast Maya, and she's explaining the whole downgrade thing to me in just the way she's been trained to do: "Well if you do downgrade and get rid of your landline and keep basic cable and internet, you will save money initially but 6 months from now you'll end up paying almost what you're paying now." You know the drill...I know the drill. I am not the smartest bear when it comes to figuring out how to save a buck. All I know is that I want to lower my bill. I started to explain this to Comcast Maya, and all of a sudden I felt hot tears well up and start leaking out from under my sunglasses. I felt my throat constrict and found myself explaining to Comcast Maya in a strangled, chokey voice that I really, really need to cut my bill.
She could have been a corporate wench, she could have gotten all "we can only do so much for you, you poor slob". But she didn't.
Comcast Maya, sitting at her desk, talking to this sobbing chick on the phone said, "Jennifer, it's going to be alright."
She told me what to do. She figured out a way for me to save a nice big chunk every month but still have internet and still have "good" channels for me and my babies (and by good I mean Bravo for me).
She was my Maya for a little bit this morning. I didn't catch her name, but God, I wish I had. She should know what a kindness she did for a stranger.
After we hung up, I cried some more. Cried all the way through the McDonald's drive through (I quit my coffee habit about 3 weeks ago but cheat every once in a while with some cheap Mickey D's java...judge me all you want), cried through some annoying construction near my house, cried in the driveway for a few minutes before composing myself and walking in to get my 5th grader ready for his day.
It was a good cry.