Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My boy's birthday, Mommy guilt and a muthafuckin' pie.

     My first born child, my only son, and a wonderful person was born 15 years ago this month. Gage was 21 inches long, and 7lbs, 4oz, the same weight his sister would be born at 13 years later. What a trip this birthday is for me! I mean, think about YOUR life 15 years ago! It was 1998. While I was still in the hospital after having him, I was watching President Clinton lie to America during his testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinski. Gas was $1.06 a gallon. I had long, dyed black hair and Betty bangs. I was married to his father. It was a different time.

     Gage is the light of my life, truly. He is empathetic and socially conscious. He has great taste in music. He's smart. He doesn't argue with me about chores or anything else. He is helpful and generous. We crack each other up. We like being together. He's disgusting and funny and I love it. He can tell me when I'm being an ass and I know he's being honest and can take him seriously. We have been through so much together, good and bad, both circumstantial and due to both his parents being idiots at one time or another. We have come out of each event like champions though, because as he told me once when he was 8, "We are a team". And we are. Always have been. Always will be. I will support and love that little shit no matter what ridiculous thing he does, and I know he will do the same for me. It's a funny thing when you have your kids young; you grow up together. Even though I was 21 when I had him, in many ways I was still 16. My Mom has expressed similar things to me about having my brother at 21, and me at 33. Totally different parenting styles.

     Gage was always sweet, and pleasant. He was the easiest baby ever on Earth. His little face was irresistible and precious and hard to see because he was constantly being covered by kisses. Even as he grew older, he was kind, nice and thoughtful. He never misbehaved. If he did something wrong, it was because he didn't know any better. I often wondered if he was real!

     Nowadays he is still cooperative and sweet, although he DOES try to get out of his responsibilities from time to time. That's normal. I don't wanna do the dishes either, so I can't blame him too much.

     He is trying out different ideas. Learning new skills. Looking for his "calling". His school counselors are starting to ask what his after-graduation goals are. So I am trying to give him the opportunity and space to figure that out.. It sucks being the kid who doesn't know what they wanna be when they grow up, so I figure, the more you try, the more you know! At least he'll learn what he DOESN'T want to do, right? I mean, it's his future, he should spend his life doing something he doesn't hate, at the very least!

     The future....HIS FUTURE. What a terrifying thing to give him advice on. I can't possibly give him the perfect armor to protect him from every harmful thing he could run into! Or even half of them, honestly! The advice I give him comes out randomly, as I think of it, or as it comes up. I hope he's listening and heeds my warnings, but I also wonder how it all plays out together. Am I contradicting myself? Is the overall message something I would support? When everything I say is so fragmented...I wonder if I'm doing all the right things. I guess that's when my example comes in.
     But he's seen me smoke, and drink, and work in a strip club... be oblivious for 8 years to the fact that his father didn't even feed him at night and then date a drug addicted idiot after we left him. Did I teach him to be a doormat? To smoke cancer sticks and work too hard and misunderstand his son's pleas for him not to leave him with his other parent? To believe everything a pretty girl tells him and ignore the obvious signs of drug abuse right under his nose?? I really, really hope not. Mommy guilt is a bitch, and as well adjusted and smart as he is, I worry. Of course I worry. He's my baby.

     I hope the example I have given is that when fucked up shit happens in your life, when people turn on you, when you lose your job, when you get evicted, when your parent gets sick or dies unexpectedly, if you get a divorce, lose your friends, make mistakes.. whatever things that can make you feel out of control and desperate and miserable... when those things happen - KEEP GOING. Get your sorry, sad ass up and keep fucking moving because if you don't, the world will roll over right over YOU. And if something isn't working for you, no matter how enmeshed you think you are, be brave enough to try something new. If your job makes you physically ill with stress; quit. Do something else. If your wife is abusive; leave. Find someone else. That's the best example I can give. If Husband can teach him to pay attention to his surroundings, and I can teach him to keep moving, I think that will be a pretty good base. The rest of it...what he should be when he grows up, how he should conduct himself...that's for him to decide. He knows right from wrong. I just want him to THINK. Not just do what he's told. Question authority, question everything, but also know how to play the game. The game is what keeps you from telling your boss to eat shit, because you need the paycheck for the time being. It's understanding that if your college professor tells you the sky is green, then you better damn well mark: C. Green, on that test, just to get you the fuck outta that class and on your way to your goal. It's a balance that took me too long to grasp. I hope he gets it sooner than I did.


     For his birthday we took him to dinner and a movie. We had fun! He tried sushi for the first time, too! I forgot about getting him a California roll and just made him dive right in. He tried tuna, salmon and yellowtail. He liked the first two, but said it was weird because his tongue told him it tasted good, but his brain said it's raw fish and it's disgusting. Hahaha!!! I totally remember that reaction the first time I tried it! I think he'll love it one day. His father doesn't care for fish much, but will eat a butt-load of sushi. Some people are like that.

Candles on his strawberry rhubarb pie. Recipe later ;)

Total awe over his big gift. His own pool stick.

     I must mention that once again, the service we got at the restaurant was sub-par. I think after this many poor service experiences in NW Florida, I've come to accept it as a regional issue. We're at the only upscale Chinese/Japanese restaurant in town, and the server didn't even know the menu. What the fuck?? How do you not know what's in your seaweed salad? His answer was, "It has the same things in it as any other seaweed salad you've ever had." Really? Well thank you, you 20 year old shithead with no work ethic, I'm so glad I asked. I tipped him 15%, which to me is a big fuck you, but he was waving at me on the way out. Then I felt kinda sorry for him, cuz if that was a good tip in his world, he must be eating cat food in his studio apartment at night. Whatever, not MY kid! Hahaha!

Oh! Here's the recipe for the strawberry rhubarb pie. Everyone LOVED IT! (NOTE: I used frozen crusts with rave reviews, just so you know and don't have a panic attack over the idea of making your own crust like I did.)

Grandma's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Recipe courtesy Valarie Enters, Sanford, Florida

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 5 min


1 pie


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour as needed, up to 1/4 cup
1/2 cup cake flour (recommended: Soft As Silk)
3 teaspoons sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening (recommended: Crisco)
1/4 cup salted butter
Pinch salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 cup ice cold water


2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar (1 1/4 cups for high altitude)
2 tablespoons minute tapioca
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Large granule sugar

Crust Preparation:

Using 2 pastry blenders, blend the flours, sugar, shortening, butter and salt. Whisk the egg, vinegar and water in a 2-cup measure and pour over the dry ingredients incorporating all the liquid without overworking the dough. Toss the additional flour over the ball of dough and chill if possible. Divide the dough into 2 disks. Roll out 1 piece of dough to make a bottom crust. Place into a pie dish. Put dish in refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Filling Preparation:

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into chilled crust. Dot the top of the filling with the butter. Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling. Higher altitude will take 450 degrees F and 400 degrees F respectively. Also, you can use a pie bird for extra decor. Let cool before serving.

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