Momma Card Suspension is Possible
A Momma card is an imaginary card that is given to every woman as soon as she gives birth, adopts, fosters or becomes a guardian to a child. She is then officially deemed to be a mother and agrees to honor the duties of a mother.
What are mother duties? Well, I looked it up since clearly there are times when I have forgotten:
According to the University of North Carolina School of Education,a mother is chiefly responsible for nurturing and rearing her children. A mother has an obligation to help her children develop strong moral principles early in life. The mother’s presence and daily guidance in the life of her children helps them to develop positive character traits with love and compassion for others.
A mother who shirks her responsibilities to her children may encourage them to go on a wayward, destructive path in life. Mothers must also correct children when they do something wrong to teach them how to do better.
Taking my girls to a movie almost caused me to lose my Momma Card. I will never forget the day that I seriously questioned my ability to parent and to be a responsible mother. Although I have been a supreme Momma Addict (MA), I can honestly say there have been several times when there could be no acceptable excuse for my behavior. These are the times when I should have been reported to a panel of judges who could decide if I was worthy of keeping my Momma Card.
Many of us have had moments, perhaps to lesser or greater extents, where you were afraid your Momma Card might be revoked. It rocked you to your inner core. I can vividly recall one of the most memorable times when my card was in jeopardy; and 13 years later, my girls still remember it, too.
My oldest daughter was in 6th grade while the youngest was in 3rd grade. We were on vacation in Destin, Florida over a school break. It was a beautiful day, but instead of going to the beach, we went to a movie. I was feeling exceptionally laid back in vacation mode and had put my MA obsessions on hold for the week. This was my first mistake.
My daughter had become obsessed with a song she was learning in chorus. And there was a movie released with actors singing that song. Can we watch it? Please?
At the time, my girls attended a private Christian school, so I just assumed that whatever song they were learning had to have meaning and value. My next mistake was then assuming that the associated movie would be educational as well. Yes…I had beach brain and had tucked away my MA security system. I was feeling comfortable letting my child drive her own life vehicle and making some decisions. . There were no potholes to avoid. Or so I thought.
My girls were ecstatic that I was taking them to this movie. Not Disney. Not cartoons. A big girl movie. Hugs all around. I was a Momma Rock star. I loved it.
My brain must have been completely turned off as I bought tickets, popcorn and soda. It was a matinée, so the theater was not full because it was a sunny day at the beach. This fact was the one saving grace of the entire ordeal.
The lights went dim. The movie started with about 8 actors standing on a dark stage with spotlights on them. Beautiful harmonizing voices belted out my daughter’s song. She sang along. It was glorious. What was the song?
Seasons of Love.
Yes, from the Broadway musical RENT.
Yes, I knew I bought tickets to a movie called RENT, but since my private school child in chorus was singing a song from it, surely the movie had a different theme.
If you haven’t seen RENT or if you haven’t seen it recently, pause right now and watch it. Then come back and judge me. Judge me hard. I still do.
There was no excuse for my actions. I led my children into harm’s way and had not attempted to shield them.
The singing stopped. Suddenly, a man was riding a bike down the street and began singing. That’s when I realized the gravity of the situation. But holding out hope that I was wrong… I leaned over to my daughter and whispered… What’s this movie about?
She shrugged and kept eating popcorn. I don’t know. I just like the song.
No, no, no, no, no! This can’t be happening to me.
Bam! I was soon sitting in theater exposing my young children to sex, drugs, AIDS, and anarchy/revolution, all laced up with an abundance of homosexuality.
Dear God. Now what?
Admit defeat and stand up and drag out my kids who were frozen staring at the big screen? I wish I had. That was mistake #3.
This last mistake should have been the reason that I was called before the Momma Board and had my Momma Card suspended, if not revoked.
I dug in deep. I lifted the arm dividers between our seats and brought my girls’ heads in to me to rest on my chest. This was their constant position while they watched and I narrated the ENTIRE movie.
I used this awkward situation to discuss our family values and beliefs about topics like drugs and tied it to the school red ribbon campaign: Say No to Drugs.
I talked about subjects they did not know existed and found a PG way to discuss sex, lesbians and transvestites. I glossed over these topics as much as possible and focused on the themes of friendship and loyalty. Like how Benny married rich and forgot where he came from.
When the scenes became too graphic (meaning I wanted to slap myself for allowing my third grader to watch this) , I would say…
Girls, look at me. This is very important for you to understand and I need to see that you understand.
They dutifully turned to look at my face, and I made up some important distracting stories, while glancing at the screen to determine when it was safe enough to resume normal levels of inappropriateness.
By the time the movie was over and Angel was dying, my girls didn’t even focus on him being a transvestite who died from AIDS. They were both bawling.
All three of us experienced extremes of emotions that afternoon that we will never forget. Ever.
My actions that afternoon were wrong, but I made the best of a bad situation. I know this is not MA behavior, but do you think I should have had my Momma Card suspended? What have you done where your Momma Card was put in jeopardy?