Monday, February 27, 2006

My Cinderella Story

Boo mentioned to me that my language is a bit too colorful.  He’s right, it is.  I just never really paid that much attention to it, until he said something. Once he mentioned it, I was embarrassed.  It was colorful enough that he not only noticed it, he felt compelled to say something about it.  And he was right to do so.

I didn’t realize how far foul it had gotten, until I started making a conscious effort to clean it up.  Then I was amazed (in a bad, shameful way) and embarrassed by how often 4 letter words came flying out of my mouth without so much as a thought.  Especially when I’m mad, or have worked up a full head of steam I can cuss up a blue streak blue enough to make a sailor blush.

I’m mom to 3 kids, 12, 8 and 6.  I shouldn’t be talking like a sailor around them.  Sure they’ve heard it all before, but that doesn’t mean they should continue to hear it. Especially from their mother.  Besides, I’m creative enough, and seem to have somewhat of a talent with words, I should be able to come up with more creative things to say.  My sister does, and my all time favorite from her is ‘Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick’.  I can do that.  It may be fun to try and do better than that.

So, I’m going to start cleaning up my act.  Not because Boo wants me to (he never said that) but because Boo noticed, and made me really aware of something I’m not so sure I like.

My colorful language harkens (does anybody really use that word any more?) back to my life with the devil incarnate.  (I guess if I’m cleaning up my act, I should find a more polite name for the evil I was married to. I’m going to have to think on that a bit).  

He was a redneck, (which is no excuse) but his language was rather colorful, and tended to become more so when he was with his brother or his friends. I blame that on his limited intellect.  He had no other words at his disposal to use to express himself.  Every other word was the F-word.  Being married to him, my standards were pretty lax, and I picked up his bad habit.  It was easier to let it go than it was to spend all my time getting after him to clean up his language.

The thing is, I was raised better than that.  I was raised with manners, couth, class and style.  I was not raised to cuss like a sailor.  And I don’t want my daughters to be raised that way.  I can’t help what happens with their father, but I can instill in them the same values and manners and class I was raised with and hopefully I can raise two young ladies instead of two redneck-tomboy girls.

On our trip to Florida, Boo and I had a lot of time to talk about a lot of things, and he said some things about my parenting skills, that weren’t easy to hear, but were right on the money.  They were observations he had made, and he was just voicing his opinion, which he is entitled to do. My kids have seen movies they shouldn’t have seen.  They’ve all seen the whole American Pie trilogy.  Not exactly fit for young eyes.  No, I did not allow them to watch it, at least not the first time, that honor belongs to evil incarnate.  But they have seen at least 1 or 2 of them at my house since then. My reasoning, while not all that logical, was that ‘The damage has already been done.  They’ve already seen this movie.’  But repeating a wrong isn’t right.  They’ve been allowed to watch rated R movies, which are so NOT age appropriate.  I am guilty of listening to Bob and Tom every morning on our way to work and school.  That morning program is not age appropriate for 6 and 8 either, it’s probably not age appropriate for 12.  Their father taught them to flip people off, but thought it was ok since he made sure to tell them they were only allowed to flip him off and their Uncle J.  I am guilty of allowing it and not putting a stop to it.  I voiced my displeasure, but, it went unheeded.  My voice was never heard in that marriage. But I digress.  I am guilty now, of occasionally flipping the girls off. It’s a private joke in our family, only now, there is no more family, or at least not the family unit that started that joke.  I can do better. I can be better.  I can be a better person, a better mother and raise better kids.  

I may have to work twice as hard to teach them to be gentlemen and ladies, because I am going to have to work to undo the damage done by their no class, no manner, no couth father, but it’s not an impossible task.

When I told Santa (Boo’s nickname for Newt) that Boo thought we could try harder to be more lady like and nicer and polite, she looked at me with the dead seriousness of all her 6 years and said ‘But he’s not here right now, so we don’t have to.’   She’s right to a point.  We don’t have to because Boo said to, or thought it would be nice.  We have to because it’s the right thing to do.

I am not making this change in me to please Boo, even though I know that it will, I am making this change in me because it’s necessary.  It’s necessary, because when I see myself through someone else’s eyes, I don’t like what I see and I can’t blame him for not liking what he sees either.  It’s not pretty, but it can be.  I don’t care how ‘beautiful’ he thinks I am, when foul words are flying out of my mouth, my beauty fades tremendously. Boo just happen to point it out and make me VERY aware of my lacking social graces, and questionable parental decisions.  Both are things I can and should change.

This weekend, a local department store had a MAJOR clearance sale.  All of their previously clearance items were marked down an additional 50% from their clearance price.  So, needless to say, I went shopping.  I bought close to 10 more pairs of jeans. Which is a ridiculous amount of jeans, but what can I say, I live in mine and the price was right.  But along with the jeans I bought 4 pair of dress pants.  I have several pair of dress pants already at home, but if given the choice, I will always choose my jeans, they’re more comfortable.

When I showed Boo what I bought Saturday morning (6 pr jeans, 1 pr dress slacks) he made the comment “I always wanted you to wear clothes like those pants. I always hoped you would dress up more.”  Easy enough. I can dress more professionally at work, and less casual.  Again, not to please him, not because he told me too, but because he’s right, I have a professional job, in an office where customers often visit, it’s a good idea to dress professionally and save the jeans for Casual Friday’s and the weekends.

In a weeks time he’s pointed out things that I kind of knew but had been sticking my head in the sand about.  When it’s pointed out to you, it’s hard to ignore.  It’s not major changes that need to be made.  It’s just a few tweaks to make it better, to actually get back to my roots.

You know, he doesn’t talk about ‘us’ much with his family or his friends.  Yes, they do know about me, but not in any kind of detail.  He says that he’s not embarrassed by me, that he just likes to keep his private life, well, private. (Good thing he doesn’t know about this blog!) But with his family coming from another country and being so BIG and ‘important’ (his father was a general in the army in his homeland) I would be embarrassed to bring me home to meet the family right now.  I’m a little TOO red-blooded American, almost, (gasp) dare I say it, Redneck right now.  I’ve lost touch with my manners, my class, my style, my couth. I need to find the lady in me and lose the hick, the hillbilly, the rude, loud, obnoxious, showy, flashy, sometimes even trashy side of me and find the refined, mannered, quiet, polite, socially acceptable person I know I was at one point.

So, I am going to shed yet another layer of residue left on me from my marriage.  This one I’m all too glad to get rid off.  Kind of like peeling the dirt and grime and filth off of me and finding a new shiny, cleaner, prettier, fancier, better me underneath.  A rags to riches, or Cinderella story.  Cinderella was good inside, the outside just needed to be polished.  Same with me.  Deep down, I’m good, I’m pretty, I’m classy, and well mannered.  I’ve just got to toss off these rags and shine.

1 comment:

mamakohl said...


I've wanted these things for you and your children for a long time, but it wasn't my place to bring it up. It's amazing being a lady, please remember, however, that ladies don't need to be quiet. They can still move mountains with a few small softly spoken words.

FWIW, B. Keyte told me when I was 20 that I needed to clean up my language. I never forgot it. It made a HUGE impression on me. You're not alone in that experience.

Good for you, Ma'am. I'm proud of you.

(and forgive me if this sounds patronizing - it's not meant to. I just have only been awake for a bit and the coffee hasn't kicked in)