Friday, March 26, 2010

No Love From Erma

It's early spring. That can only mean one thing. The Erma Bombeck essay contest winners have been announced.

Apparently, my love for Erma has not been reciprocated. Yes, I'm sad to say Erma has a crush on another. And it appears I'm not the only one who's been jilted by Mrs. Bombeck. A group of others who were similarly cast aside have banded together to create "Erma's Leftovers."

I need to contact these women to see if there's room in their fridge for my "victory-challenged" essay. In the meantime, I'll just leave it out here until it really starts to stink.

Lasting Memories
There are three days each year that fill me with dread and fear. The kind of days that are so bad I wish I had a fast-forward button on my calendar. Those three days are my yearly date with my OB/GYN, April 15th and School Picture Day.

Sweet faces smile up at me from the order form promising “lasting memories,” and all I want to do is choke them. Who are these kids? What school do they go to because they obviously don't go to my kids’.

You see, at their school the photographers are blind. They have to be. It's the only explanation for why, year after year, my daughter comes home with pictures only a mother could love.

Last year’s photographer was not only blind, but he must have thought my daughter was too. Why else would my adorable little girl be sent home with a school picture of Stevie Wonder? Hello! That’s a headband, not sunglasses. Push it back on top of her head where it belongs!

As if School Picture Day isn't bad enough, there's also the Night Before School Picture Day to endure. The night we spend hours picking out the perfect ensemble and bullying her curls into submission. The night the poor girl sits patiently as we diffuse her hair into big, bouncy loops. The night she smiles at her reflection and beams, "I’m so lucky. I love my curly hair!" Only to wake the next morning to find her beloved locks reduced to a frizzy, matted mess and wail, "It's not fair! I hate my curly hair!"

Desperately, I perform CPR on her lifeless curls. Spray. Spritz. Scrunch. Scrunch. Spritz. Spray. Over and over again until there's no hope left. "I'm sorry, sweetie. The damage was too extensive," I tell her as I stick a headband on top of her head. Her eyes fill with tears. I hug her and whisper, "Don't cry, sweetie. Your hair is bad enough. You don't want your eyes to be red and swollen too," which for some reason makes her cry even harder. Why is it so hard for kids to take constructive criticism these days?

Just as I’m finally getting over this trauma, my daughter leaps off the bus, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, clutching a large envelope to her chest. The familiar sound of crackling cellophane makes my stomach lurch. The proofs are in.

“Mama, I got my pictures!” she squeals, thrusting the envelope in my face. I break out in a cold sweat.

“Mama, why are you crying? My hair looks fine!”

“I’m crying because you’re not my little baby anymore,” I moan. The Kool-Aid mustache had nothing to do with it. I swear.

Note: I knew I should have gone with the reference to Lt. Geordie La Forge instead of Stevie Wonder. I bet the judges were all Trekkies.


Cindy S said...

During the hideously self-conscious 9 months known as 7th grade, a friend of mine got her school pics back and there was, no joke, a FLY frozen mid-flight next to her right ear. Poor thing.

ChefDruck said...

I remember this essay from our online class. I liked it then. I love it now.

You had my vote!

That's what I love about having a blog. When our work gets rejected, it gives us a nice place to release it to the wider world.

Will you be at the Erma Baumbeck festival per chance? I'm planning on going...


Kim said...

Cindy-Sounds like our school photogs have been around for a LONG time.

Vanessa - Thanks! I'm not going to the festival. :( It's too far. I'm jealous of how much you travel having three young children. Have fun! Can't wait to hear how it went.

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha, ha. You are so funny, Kim. How could Erma Bombeck notlaugh at a post like this?