FAQ and Other Stuff I Shouldn’t Say

May 2 2011

FYI, I say “FYI” a lot.

You know.  FYI.  Meaning “for your information.”

I was talking to my 12-year-old one day, and she mimicked me by saying, “FYI, Mom, I want a laptop.”

And I responded, “F your I, Abby, you’re not getting one.”

F your I, I’m a parenting genius.

Sometimes I have conversations with myself as though I’m more than one person.  They go like this:

Self #1: Don’t ever say, “F your” anything to your children.  Ever again.

Self #2: Thanks for the advice.  I appreciate all your tips for daily life.  I just wish every once in a while you’d get around to telling me these things before I say and do them.

Creepy conversations to myself aside, one thing I learned from the blog survey is that I need to put up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Unfortunately, now I’m afraid of acronyms that start with the letter F.  So I want you to know how very brave I’m being when I press on and write one anyway.

Among other frequently asked questions is this one:

Hey, Beth.  You post a LOT of personal stories about your family.  Like the story about your mom’s butt scope procedure and the story about your sister-in-law’s jugs.  Is that OK with your family, or are you sometimes afraid they’re going to smother you in your sleep?

To answer that question briefly, yes.

Yes, it’s OK.  I think.

And yes, they still  might smother me in my sleep.  What can I say?  It’s a risky, risky life I lead.

I do obtain permission before posting personal stories about other people.

For example, you’ll never see a story about my mother-in-law with the words “butt scope” anywhere near her.  That’s because she’d rather stab herself in the eye with a fork than approve a story like that.  And because she’s too smart to ever tell me when she’s having a butt scope procedure.  And I’ll never ask.  There are lots of things that make our relationship work.

Nana, on the other hand, approved the butt story.  And I shall ignore the fact that Nana was all jacked up on hospital drugs when she gave her approval.

And Kim approved the jugs story.  Or, rather, she didn’t technically say “WHAT?  NO!  STOP!” when I told her what I was doing.  Giggling equals approval, right?  Yes, I think so, too.

And I receive permission for every single story I post about my 12-year-old daughter, because, as I mentioned, she’s 12, so, you know, my very existence is unspeakably humiliating.

Stories I’m not allowed to post, I still write.  It’s a compulsion.  I hope to post them someday with the subject’s approval.

In the meantime, while we’re waiting indefinitely for the stories I can’t post now, I’ll tell you a story about my own preteen self.  It will explain a lot.

Once upon a time, I was a preteen girl with all the usual preteen girl things, like:

  1. Unspeakably humiliating parents
  2. A changing body
  3. Accompanying feeeee-lings

One day, when I was at school, something happened.  Something inside of me.  Something girls learn about in 5th-grade, girls-only health class.  Or from their mothers, like how I learned about it.

FYI (that’s right), I was significantly unhappy that my mother actually talked to me about stuff like that. Mothers talking about girl things; bleh and ew!

I arrived home from school to find my father patiently guarding my mother’s den.  She was horribly ill.  Too ill, he said, for me to bother her.  Like I was ever a bother.  Sheesh!

I patiently explained that I needed to talk to her.  There may or may not have been crying, screaming, and “it’s an eMERgency”ing going on.  Probably not, though; I was consistently even-tempered at that age.

Eventually, even my father had to eat, and he left her room unguarded.  I did what any girl in the same situation would have done.  I braved the former Marine’s wrath, and I went to see my mother who was wrapped up in a thousand blankets, lying face-first on her pillow in a dark, dark room.

I quickly told her What Had Happened.  After she told me what to do, I extracted her iron-clad promise that she would never, ever reveal the contents of our discussion on pain of death.  Especially to my dad.

Next, she told my dad.

I’m pretty sure she didn’t even wait 2 minutes.  Stupid iron-clad promises.  Worthless, I tell you.  Who can you even trust anymore?

She had some kind of silly excuse for her indiscretion.  Like a lack of any supplies for me in the house.

I failed to see why she couldn’t drag her blankets to the nearest convenience store to help me out.  I mean, if I’d wanted my dad to know, I would’ve told him myself.

Humiliating.

And then my dad one-upped my mom in the Humiliation Department.

He…

…you’re never going to believe this…

He bought me flowers.

I know.  Can you imagine?  We were living with another family at the time, and they saw them! I kid you not.

The attached card read, “Congratulations on becoming a woman.  I love you.  Dad”

Oh, the agony.

And so the story that I never, ever would have allowed for public release when I was young has become a memory that is charming and sweet.  Such is the way of life.

I hope you realize the main point of all this.  Did you notice that I was raised by parents who talked to me about stuff?  They were open, honest and never, ever shied away from a conversation.  Not even the stuff that my Health Class would’ve covered for them.

Despite the fact that none of their parents were communicative with them, my parents broke the silence cycle.

Shattered it to pieces, really.

So when you wonder, How can she write this stuff??, now you know who to blame.

It’s my parents’ fault.

They started it.

F your I.