Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ouiser Boudreaux...Room Mom?

I used to be many things. If you'd asked someone who knew me in my teens to describe me, they would possibly have told you something like, "Oh, that Karen, she's just so...sweet."

In my 20s the description likely would have changed to something like, "Oh, that Karen, she's just so...outgoing."

The 30s would probably have seen a BIG change in adjectives. "Oh, that Karen, she's just so...stressed...and...what a control-freak!"

And the 40s...well...I gotta be honest...depending on who you talk to...there's just no telling what people might say. Cause, in the words of Steel Magnolias' Ouiser Boudreaux, "I ain't as sweet as I used to be."

Some days I'm glad of that fact. To tell the truth, I still HATE confrontation. But then I find myself doing things like confronting VERY LARGE, angry men in parking lots and e-mailing pointed questions to attorneys who are seemingly getting paid to do nothing.

Inevitably, after the fact, I end up wondering, "Was that really me?" My "sweet-old self" would NEVER have considered such actions!

This "new me" has also lost patience with people who base reality on how they "wish things were" rather than accepting reality and the universal rule that actions-have-consequences.... That drives me crazy, right there.

I've also lost any drive...motivation...(whatever you want to call it) to try to force relationships. I think it's because I spent so much of the first 40 years of my life wanting people to like me, accept me, affirm me. I just don't have the energy that requires anymore. I've come to believe something my Mimi tried to tell me 40 years ago, "Real friends find each other."

But then...there are days when I deeply miss my "sweet-old self". The one with eyes and arms and mind and heart wide-open. Those days, I wish I could put life in reverse and try to find the exact "thing" that made my eyes a little more narrowed, my arms a little more folded, my mind a little more nit-picking, and my heart a little more (OK...a lot more) cautious.

You might wonder what has me thinking about all this? Truth is, my thoughts seem to wander this way every year when school starts, and I'm surrounded by all those sweet, young, heart-wide-open moms.

Anyway, this morning, I went to a meeting for "room moms." In this room were dozens of moms, many of them first-time-kindergartner-moms. They were bright-eyed and beautiful and full of ideas for EVEN MORE special school events.

And then there was me....wondering how I was ever going to get a bunch of grizzled, old middle-school moms to sign up to help with parties...and to donate items for the school auction basket...and to donate money for teachers' gifts...and to buy tickets to the school auction...and to donate items to Awesome Acts...and to find food and games and a speaker for a Thailand party...etc....etc....etc....

OK...I know what some of you are thinking--with that attitude, why did you sign up to be a room mom in the first place? Well, that's another thing I miss lately--my memory.

You see, when wonderful Mr. V, who has "been Jesus" to my boys, walked up and asked, "Would you be our room coordinator?", I honestly forgot about ALL the other stuff that goes with that job. And, out of sheer memory loss, ignorantly imagining myself simply bringing in a few chocolate-chip muffins and juice boxes during the year...I looked at Mr. V and said, "OK, I'll do it...for you."

But, truth be told, I miss being being one of those enthusiastic, energized moms.

I miss the part of me that is eyes and arms and mind and heart wide-open. But I've also grown rather fond of my Ouiser side. She's the side that follows bullies into parking lots. The world needs a few more Ouisers, I think.

I have no answers as to how to merge my old, sweet, wide-open self (if I ever find her again) with my new Ouiser self. I guess it's a process...a journey....something I'll figure out along the way.

Maybe I'll let them job-share.

The "Ouiser me" can be room mom. After all, who would dare say "No" to her.

And, the "sweet me" can....Hmmm...guess I'll have to think about that....It's been awhile since I've talked to her.
"Continue to work out your salvation
with fear and trembling,
for it is God who works in you to will and to act
according to His good purpose."
(Philippians 2:12,13)


  1. Ohhhh Karen......
    You hit the nail on the head! Now I know what to call most recent self - Ousier Jr. :-)

  2. Val,
    Let's start a club. We could get t-shirts!
    Oh wait...a Ouiser club would NEVER HAVE
    t-shirts--too much dang trouble!
    I'm liking this club more and more :-D !
    Karen (aka Ouiser Jr. 2)

  3. it could be worse. . . you could be stuck in a car-rider line for 1 hour waiting for your kindergardener to emerge from school!! and you'd think to yourself. . . how long till this kid is 16!! i'm going to grow old in this line!!
    you'll muster up the enthusiasm for your class.
    one step at a time!!