July 13, 2012

Game of Dresses

I don't know if any of you have a narrator in your head who narrates parts of your life, but I've had one for as long as I can remember. My life has always been a half written book, waiting for a new day to add another chapter. I don't always have a narrator, they seem to pop in now and then, usually at the dullest moments of my day. Maybe it's a defense mechanism my brain has developed, so it doesn't turn to mush from my mundane reality.

Yesterday, a narrator started telling the blow-by-blow account of my search for a dress to wear to the Pittsburgh Magazine awards dinner, that I had to attend with Adam. I never really pay attention to my narrators as I've become quite accustomed to them. This particular chapter was completely absurd. I've been reading Game of Thrones, and it seems that narrator has decided to claim a stake on my brain. This is seriously what went on in my head as I tried on dresses.....

     "Lady Jessica knew not which gown to choose for the celebration......" Mind you, there were no gowns. I was staring at a rack full of short sun dresses....."She chose a beautiful teal dress, woven from the finest...." I checked the tag......."woven from the finest spandex/cotton blend. She slid the gown over her head, and grimaced at the way it clung to her misshapen form. Her body disfigured from years of child bearing. Tossing that one aside, she chose another, one a deep shade of plum. It fit nicely, hiding her deformities. Now to decide which color. She loved the plum, for it was her favorite color, but it caused her complexion to appear drab, and she appeared five years her senior. She draped the red gown over her chest. The color of loose women, she thought to herself,".......Uh, I have given birth to 8 children. It doesn't get any looser than that......."but the red complimented her fair, freckled skin, and brought out the auburn flecks in her hair...." 

That would be where I realized what was going on in my head. In my own inner voice I asked, What is this? Medieval Wonder Years?" I let out an audible snort, too late to remember there were a couple of other women in stalls next to me. I'm sure, after hearing that, they wondered what was going on in my dressing room. I doubt they had any clue that a whole Medieval dressing scene was going down next to them, and the poor Lady Jessica from the House of Johnston was having gown issues.

Lesson 155: having a dressing room experience that requires a raising of the banners = white trash

July 8, 2012


Adam and I decided, after Jagger received his First Communion, in May, that it was time for us to start taking ALL our children to mass EVERY week. Holy Communion is a wonderful blessing and not letting Jagger experience it as often as possible would be a great injustice. Jet will be receiving his First Communion next May, and Jude the following year after that, so, we may as well start the ball rolling now.

Let me tell you though, just saying those words out loud to each other made us physically exhausted. It's not the getting up and getting ready, or the stress of getting there on time (which we never do),.....it's the 2 year old. Johnston 2 year olds and church don't mix, and we always seem to have one. I don't know what it is, they're fine in church until they blow out that darn number 2 candle, then the devil enters their body and hell is released at every mass until they turn 3.

Jude was a squealer. He would let out ear piercing squeals of delight, anger, frustration, they all sounded the same. The only time he wouldn't be a banshee was when his mouth was full. I remember packing chicken nuggets in the diaper bag. He could never eat a chicken nugget in bites. Jude always had to put the whole thing in his mouth, and it would take at least 20 minutes for him to get it chewed and mushy enough to swallow. That was how he ate them....at home. At church he chewed through those suckers in less than a minute, leaving plenty of time for squealing. Fellow parishioners did not appreciate the high pitched, eardrum splitting screams. One day, after church, a lady walked by my family with a scowl. Seeing the embarrassment on my face, Jovie's Godmother, who had gone with us, turned to the woman and said, "Well, someone needs to go to confession."

Speaking of Jovie, we couldn't even take that child near the church when she was 2, she would throw her body and scream as soon as she saw the building, and there was absolutely no way to console her. She's past that now, and acts like a lady. Thank goodness.

Unfortunately, Stone is now 2. He doesn't scream, or act possessed, he's more of a talkative monkey, rolling on the ground, climbing over and under pews, gamboling on the seats while people are standing, and all the while giving us a boisterous blow-by-blow account of what he's doing.

Adam and I have always been against the cry room. I know some of you may think that's rude, but when we are in there, the older kids think it's acceptable to act up as well. We still feel that way, but now we have twins. Usually, one of us takes care of whoever is a baby at the moment, and the other tries to control the 2 year old. Now we're outnumbered, so cry room it is. That way if both twins are being dealt with and Stone has removed his socks and shoes and decided to lay on his back in the middle of the room and sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, we know we aren't upsetting the whole church.

Today, my brother Clayte decided to join us. As we walked in, I said to Adam, "There's three of us today. Clayte can hold a twin, you could hold a twin, and I can deal with Stone, if you want to try sitting in the church."

We peered in, since we were late (as usual), we would have to search for seating. We require a whole entire pew. "Ugh....Just sit in the cry room. I don't want to cause a scene," were Adam's words. I felt defeated, but I followed him into the sweltering, empty cry room. It had to be 100 degrees in that tiny space. I got the kids seated and pleaded to Adam, "See if you can turn that air conditioner on." There was an air conditioner right above his head. It was normally on when we arrive, but not today. We were only there for a minute or so, and already I could feel beads of sweat forming along my hairline. Adam struggled through the whole opening song of mass, and never seemed to get it working. He looked at me and shrugged as we took our seats.

"Would an usher please go turn the air conditioner on in the cry room please? They seem to be struggling back there," came the voice of Father over the speaker. I looked up and the whole church turned to gawk at my family. FOUR ushers burst into the cry room, none of which seemed to know how to work it either. Again, Father called out, "The remote is in the confessional." It took about five minutes, but the air was finally turned on, and mass was able to be started.

I leaned over to Adam, "So much for not causing a scene." He rolled his eyes.

Lesson 154: not wanting your family to cause a scene by trying to find a seat at church, then causing church to stop altogether = white trash  

I want to thank all of our fellow parishioners who, over the years, have been encouraging, and not judgmental. We're looking to the future when our kids will no longer be unruly, and a lot more holy.