Pianos And Racing. But Not Pianos And Racing Together, Because That’s Just Dangerous.

Do you know what we did this weekend?

We finished school; that’s what.  And I’d like to say that I had some emotions on Friday about how my firstborn wrapped up his first year at the junior high, but I didn’t.  This time last year, I was a sobbing wreck, because elementary school was BEHIND US.  Forever.  And wasn’t the junior high a wild place of drugs, red streaks in the hair, and rock and roll music?

As it turned out, junior high was a lot calmer.  The wolves didn’t eat my baby alive, and he had a fantastic year.  He made good friends, he pulled off a 4.0 GPA, and we survived advanced composition, even though there were dark times in the middle of homework when I needed a box of wine to cope with helping the boy on essay revisions.  When school ended on Friday, my lone thought was that I was completely done trying to find things to shove into a lunchbox every morning until the end of August.

I’m not sure if my lack of sadness on Friday qualifies me for The Mother From Hades, 2013, or not.

On Friday afternoon, the boy’s friend, Quinn, threw a party that made New Year’s Eve in Times Square look like a small and quiet get-together.  There were kids.  And more kids.  And still more kids, until we lost count somewhere around forty-one.  There were parents.  There were little brothers and little sisters.  There were pizzas and organic vegetables and watermelons and cherries and hummus dips and something called Knock You Naked Brownies.

(I have no shame; I ate three of them.  I even made sure that my third brownie was the biggest brownie on the plate.  I figured if my clothes were going to fall off and turn things into a PG-13 party, it was going to happen because of the largest brownie available.)

There was also dancing; there was trampoline jumping.  There was dump truck pushing and skateboard races and soda cans being smacked with baseball bats and music that was so loud, my eardrums will never be the same.

I am just proud of myself for not stooping to the all-time low point in my life of saying, “Um, the music is a little loud, dontcha think?”

When you complain about the decibels, you might as well go home to watch Murder, She Wrote, with a hand-knit afghan in your lap and your Centrum Silver.

Sometime this week, I’ll sort through the pictures (Because y’all know I took some!), and we’ll have an ode to the last day of school, right here at Jedi Mama, Inc.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to sunshine for the first time in a decade.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating that at all.

I never exaggerate.

The boy had a piano recital at a coffee house in the city, which involves parallel parking.  I think it goes without saying that Hubs drove us there.  This is why my passion for Starbucks runs so deep; they understand a girl’s issues over trying to cram her Suburban into a parallel parking spot without damaging the surrounding vehicles.  Their parking lot is totally set up for JUST PULL RIGHT IN, GIRLFRIEND!  PULL RIGHT IN AND LEAVE YOUR SUBURBAN ANYWHERE WHILE YOU HAVE OUR CHAI TEA!

The boy can play a wicked piano.  He didn’t inherit my ability to throw an amazing double-play in softball.  His heritage didn’t include Hubs’ ability to throw a wrestler to the mat and pin him without breaking his neck in half.  What the boy got, which came from neither of his parents, is a musical talent that astounds us.

Our boy.  Can play.  The heck.  Out of the piano!  Oh, yes!  He can!

My talent with pianos lies in arranging picture frames just-so on the tops of them.  The end.  That’s the extent of what I can do with one.

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Also?  Well, that snapshot right there makes me see what the boy is going to look like, as he rounds the corner soon into his teenage years.  I’ve stared and stared at that photo, and what I DON’T SEE is my little baby.  Somehow, I’ve blinked, and this handsome OLDER BOY is sitting where my toddler used to sit.

And THAT makes me want to have some emotions and sit in a darkened closet, rocking back and forth.

Of course I had to snap pictures of our friends, McKinley and Kiley, while they beat the piano keys in songs by Beethoven.

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I’m also having a very difficult time not coveting McKinley’s hair and sense of fashion.  That girl can do anything with a mane of hair, and she always knows when to add a bubble necklace, when to go with a snazzy scarf, and when an Under Armour headband will shout out COVER OF VOGUE HERE, PEOPLE!

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The girls’ little sister, Avery, came to clap for everyone.  I adore her freckles.  In fact, I distinctly remember being a 2nd grader and wanting freckles more than I wanted Christmas presents.  So, I did what any girl would do.  I took a magic marker in FRECKLE BROWN, and I smacked dots all over the bridge of my nose and across my cheeks.

My mother was less than thrilled with my artistic achievements.

She may have said something like, “Sometimes I need a good box of wine to survive a kid with a permanent marker in her hand.”

With age, my freckles faded.  My mama was relieved.

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Then!

After the piano recital, Hubs and I entered an Amazing Race contest.

Oh, you think I kid.

But I KID NOT, PEOPLE.

Our 6th grade friend, Ciara (Who is technically probably classified as a 7th grader now, what with her actually passing the 6th grade and all on Friday), hosted an Amazing Race for grown-ups.  She wrote her own clues.  She created her own tasks.  We did this for her birthday party, back in October.  It was such a good time, and the kids enjoyed themselves so much, they decided to flip the tables around and let the adults compete.

Here’s the kicker.

With Ciara’s birthday party, adults got to DRIVE.  We DROVE kids around town to complete their assignments.  We DROVE THEM IN REAL CARS.  Real cars, with real engines and real air conditioning.

On Saturday, we got to use the legs God gave us.

As in, the very first card said, “Someone from your team must run around the block.”  That would be the block that is half of a mile long.  After that, the clues took us to a nearby school (which we weren’t allowed to drive to), and then on to the cemetery, which was a few blocks away, and then back to this street, and over to that street, and LET ME JUST PUKE SOME BLOOD RIGHT NOW AND BE DONE WITH IT.

With one of the clues, we had to pick up a dog on a leash to walk to the cemetery.  That didn’t sound so bad, except it was immediately after that half-mile run, and everyone was silently swearing in their heads.  The kids had borrowed dogs from around their neighborhood, and we had to pick one out of the pack that was tied to a tree.

We got a Schnauzer of some kind.  I think her name tag said HEIDI.

Heidi was very nervous in the company of strangers.  Apparently she reacts to nervousness by humping herself up in the POOP RIGHT NOW position.

Nineteen times.

It’s so much fun to drag a dog along with you who looks like she’s about to unload last night’s puppy chow, but who is, in fact, NOT going to poop.

Of course, our cemetery has signs outside the gates which read ABSOLUTELY NO DOGS ALLOWED.  And our clue was inside the cemetery.

I was THE ONLY GROWN-UP in the entire race who encountered the caretakers on their four-wheel-drive Gator.  The caretakers were less than thrilled to find adults breaking the posted rules.  I sort of got into trouble.  I was worried that they were going to pin an actual fine upon me, in the form of real American dollars.  I tried to tell them that we were on an Amazing Race, and I just needed to haul my dog twenty more feet to get my next clue.  The caretaker who was driving the Gator let me know that he didn’t care WHAT I was on.  He didn’t care if I was the President of the United States of America.  He told me to get my dog OUT!  OF!  THE CEMETERY!

Do you know how many times I’ve broken the law and gotten into trouble?

That would be NEVER times.

I’m just glad I didn’t bawl.  Instead of assuming the position to poop in stressful situations, I simply cry.  Heidi and I are so different.

Another clue took us inside the house, where we had to decorate cupcakes.  Our cupcakes had to be (and I quote) CREATIVELY DECORATED and then PRESENTED TO THE CUPCAKE JUDGE (age 10) FOR APPROVAL.

The ten-year-old cupcake judge told me, “You’re gonna need a few more sprinkles on that frosting.”

The cupcake Nazi was lucky he didn’t end up with my too-few-sprinkles-on-the-frosting all over his face.

Another clue had us squeezing lemons and adding sugar and GETTING ALL THE SEEDS OUT of homemade lemonade.  Our lemonade was sour enough to induce brain cramps and comas.

In all the RUN HERE! and RUN THERE! and TRY TO BEAT THE OTHER TEAMS! and HURRY UP!, I ended up with a shin splint dished out straight from Hades.  My left shin was on fire, and I left a trail of smoke wherever I went.

(“What’s on fire?”)

(“My shin.  It’s burning to ash right now, but I’ve got to find my next clue beneath a tire somewhere.”)

And then, mercifully, the race was over.

My team was not the winning team, because Heidi kept doing a dry run in her bathroom position and slowing us down.

Oh, whatever.

I slowed us down, with my Shins of Fire.

It’s exactly like Chariots of Fire, only without any real victory.

This morning, Hubs and I both woke up in pain.

So what we learned this weekend is YES!  Yes, the music at the big party on Friday night really WAS too loud!  And our shins don’t hold up like they did when we were twenty-one.  And I even like Brussels sprouts now.

Hubs and I are official grown-ups, people.  I’m not sure when, exactly, this happened.

But what else can you expect when our baby just finished the 6th grade?

Y’all have a very merry  Sunday night.

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