Friday, June 21, 2013

Can you find the 80 year old in a thong?

Can you find the 80 year old man in a thong in this picture? 

No not the long haired person lying on a camping mattress wearing a thong. She is much younger and topless I might add. She is at least in her 60's.

And you should thank me for not posting a frontal shot of her. However, when I first saw her I did feel a bit more "perky" myself.

This is what summer is all about in Amsterdam, lying in Vondel park people watching. You never know what you might see. Thats why I stay down at the South end where its more family oriented.

But every now and then you will get a little eye candy like this old guy in his weeny bikini from 1965, when he was a Chippendale.

This is why I love Amsterdam, people just aren't afraid to let it all hang out (literally)!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Will I ever be on the list?

My baby on the bus looking so sad

Throughout life there are so many lists we want to be included on. 

I can remember in kindergarten wanting to be on the “Little Helpers” list and then the Honor Roll list in grade school. 

Before I knew it, I wanted to be on the list to graduate high school and then the list to make it into journalism school. 

Once I was old enough, I wanted to be on the lists at the doors of my favourite clubs or parties.

And luckily enough I was included on all of these lists. And I guess for almost 40 years I have taken this for granted, until today. Today I wasn’t on the list.

You see, today was my son’s school trip to Sprookjeswonderland and Baby Daddy had signed me up weeks ago to go as a chaperone. Matter of fact, I recall him saying to me on the phone, “Great babes, you are at the top of the list.” At the time I didn’t realize the significance of this statement.

All week Luca and I had been talking about going on this trip together. I took a day off from my work and woke up extra early to pack our picnic lunches. We sang on the way to school and talked about all the things we would see today.

We bounced into the classroom and it was like a beehive buzzing with excitement. Luca was bragging to all of his friends, “My mama is going with us”.  Then it was the time all the kids had been waiting for, time to get in the groups with chaperones. The teacher began passing out all the group information papers to the chaperoning parents. She finally came to the bottom of the stack and every parent in the room got a paper, but me. I was left standing there without a group.

I asked the teacher why I wasn’t included and that was when she told me “I wasn’t on the list.” Well actually I was on the list she said, but I was number seven and they only needed six parents. Why hadn’t she told me earlier?

I choked back the tears. I knew right away it wasn’t the truth. I knew why I wasn’t on the list and I knew it deep inside for a very long time. I wasn’t like the other parents. And the thing that broke my heart was that I knew I would never be.

She left me standing there with a little boy looking up at me with eyes begging me not to say the words. But I had to, there was no other choice.

“Luca sweety, mama can’t go this time, but the good thing is now I have time to go buy you a dinosaur.” I didn’t know what else to say and yes I tried to buy away his disappointment.

He immediately began sobbing, like he does when he scrapes his knee or falls off his bike. He was in pain. I was in pain. We were in a room full of kids and parents and there was no where to hide. I was the outcast and my son was suffering the consequences.

I hugged him tight and tried to get myself together. By this point, several of his classmates were surrounding him asking what was wrong with Luca? All I could say was Luca was verdrietig. He was sad.

I am not even sure what I said to him after that. I just smiled and held him trying to convince him he was going to have the time of his life without mommy. By the time we walked to the bus, the tears had dried up and I was able to convince him to get on the bus.

I followed his little shadow to end of the bus and I could see his sadness through the tinted window. I just had to hold it together for a few more minutes until the bus was just a silhouette down the street.

And I did. I walked back to my bike feeling like a failure as a mother. I failed in trying to fit in, learning the language, and being a part of my children’s culture. I didn’t make the list this time and I doubted if I would.

Being a mother is not easy, but being a mother in a place where you will never be accepted adds another dimension of insecurity and self doubt. No one could imagine the beating that was going on inside of my head after I heard the news. 

When I woke up this morning, I was a confident, strong mother and now I was this weak, irresponsible mother who couldn't be trusted with a small group of 4 year-olds. Two years of sitting in a classroom trying to learn everything I could about the culture and language washed down the drain. I knew nothing.

Of course, I will get over it and my tears will be replaced with smiles when I pick my little guy up from the bus this afternoon. However, I will spend half of the day worrying about him and the other half convincing myself I am a good mother and it doesn’t matter if I fit in.

What does matter is that I have two beautiful souls that I call my children and no matter what, I will always be on the top of their lists. Even though I  won't always be on their most popular lists,  I will know my kids love and accept me for who I am...a mother who will never be perfect but one who loves them with all her heart, just me.