Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jennie Garth Looks Like Me

I almost didn't get this post in on time for NaBloPoMo today, what with the time-suck inherent in being the World's Greatest Mom and all.

No, I'm serious. You know how there are days when you think, darkly, that foster care would be better for your kids than what you're providing for them? And you know how there are days--the majority of them, if you're lucky--when you feel like you're just managing to scrape by? Well there are also the rare, rare days when you look back and you think, "Hey, I'm not half bad at this." In fact, I'd probably really be patting myself on the back for today if it weren't for the fact that I wound up slapping Noah's hand tonight, right before bed, after he tried to push the cat off the bathroom window sill. (His behavior lately has been a tad...what's the word again?...oh, right. Horrific.)

But back to the good stuff.

After a picking Em up from an impromptu, hey-you-don't-have-school-tomorrow-so-why-not sleepover at her friend's house, and a subsequent hour-long conference call, Em, Noah and I headed out to our local Toys-R-Us where, on a tip from one of my beloved ParentsConnect cronies, we had been invited to a special event to kick off the Million Toy Drive for Toys for Tots.

There were only 15 kids involved in this event, and omigod, did my two enjoy themselves. They got to hear a story (read to them by Jennie Garth, of 90210 fame, and more on that later), they got to go shopping for needy children with a young, dress-uniformed Marine bearing a gift card from Toys R Us, they got to have cookies and juice, they got to be filmed and photographed to their little hamboned hearts' content (there was a film crew from the Dr. Phil show--something about Jennie Garth being on a Christmas show of his--and there were store photographers as well as two reporters from our local paper, for whom N decided to pull out all the stops), and then...Well, then they got a goody bag with a book, a stuffed animal, and a cool Crayola craft. (So much for being all about the poor kids who have nothing.) They were in heaven.

But, really, I think the best part for N was the fact that he got to walk around the store with a Real Live MARINE. (The awe in his face would have amused D, one of our best friends, who is a Marine himself but somehow doesn't make the cut in the awe department.)

And Em took it all really seriously, telling me later that "doing something nice for someone else really made me feel warm inside." She spent her alloted money on a stuffed rabbit for a needy child, explaining, "If I didn't have a lot, I'd want to have a stuffed animal, because that way I'd always have a friend." She then went on to name her little Gund bear from her goodie bag "Mitzvah," to commemorate her getting him as a result of doing a good deed.

For me, the thrill of the day was seeing Jennie Garth looking like ME. Except, of course, for the fact that she's still really beautiful. But she has child-broadened hips, mom arms, had minimal makeup on, straight, simply brushed-out hair, etc. (Yes, I know she just had a baby--her third--like two months ago; work with me here.) Plus she had her nine-year-old in tow, and since *I* had *my* nine-year-old in tow, I felt like we were buds. Except for her being beautiful. And rich. And a well-known actress. And postpartum, and thus clearly only looking like this for the time being. Oh, nevermind.


After we got back, the kids got down to some serious Crayola crafting, then went outside to play with the neighborhood gang. Looking out the window, I realized that it was now or never for the fallen leaves in our yard, so I called out to said gang (three boys, N and Em) and let them help me rake and gather leaves into a big ole leaf pile, which they then spent the next hour diving into, sliding into, stomping around in, and throwing up into the air like confetti. And I just smiled and watched and took pictures. (See? See my greatness?)

After a while, Em's friend J came home, and we invited her over for dinner and--much to Em's surprise, I even suggested she stay the night. Not only that, but I offered to let them sleep IN MY ROOM. IN MY BED. Because...well, because then I could have the whole downstairs off the house to myself. But you'd have thought I'd offered them the moon, the way they carried on. And now they're up there, sound asleep, after giggling away for ages and ages, and I'm here having a beer and thinking that, aside from the hand-slapping moment, I showed my kids a pretty good day.

I wonder whether Jennie Garth agrees.

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