Pink Ribbons and Pumpkin Spice

It’s the middle of October.  I realize this is not Earth shattering news, but it’s what got me started thinking about this blog.

pink ribbon pumpkin

When I was a kid I used to love the month of October.  Yes, it was partially due to my birthday being in October, but I also loved so many other things that only are done in October.  I loved visiting orchards and pumpkin patches (which as a kid seemed like two different locations but as an adult I’m thinking it was really just one) and my elementary school had a fall festival.  I would plan very elaborate Halloween costumes which was a) silly because I lived in the country and could only trick or treat at about five houses and b) unrealistic as many of my ideas would have required a Tony award-winning costumer.  When I was five my mom made (as in sewed with a sewing machine) me a pumpkin costume and bought me green tights, when I was six she made (again sewed) a witch costume and made a pointy hat and when I was seven she made a Bugs Bunny costume complete with a faux fur head.

October was the best month ever and it ended with my two favorite holidays – my birthday and Halloween.  As a Queen of course, my birthday is a holiday.

Now October is over run with Pumpkin Spice and Pink ribbons.  The first is just a strategic combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice but the way it’s advertised you would think it’s some miraculous super food that everyone must consume in the Fall.  And I won’t lie, I like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or two when they come out however I refuse to buy Pumpkin Spice cookies and candy and cereal and…. the list goes on.

The second is complicated for me.

Pink is one of my favorite colors (duh, my blog is PINKbookdiary).  And breast cancer has taken more from me than you can possibly imagine.  So, you might imagine I have a lot of pink ribbon adorned stuff but here’s where it gets complicated.  I’m not a big fan of all the pink ribbon adorned stuff you can buy in October and I haven’t been for a while – like ten years to be specific.  It’s like the Pumpkin Spice stuff, it started out as a great coffee drink from Starbucks and then everyone had to jump on the bandwagon.  The pink ribbon started out to promote breast cancer awareness when it was an underfunded type of cancer (PS it was originally Peach).  Now you can buy shoes, socks, shirts, pants, lunch boxes, gloves, hats, appliances, pens, stickers, safety pins… do I really need to keep going?  Go to Amazon and search pink ribbon merchandise, there is 20 pages of stuff.

I saw a Facebook post the other day from a young woman captioned “Breast Cancer is not Pink Ribbons” and she shared a picture of herself topless revealing two horrific mastectomy scars, she was in the middle of chemo so her IV port was accessed and her bald head was covered by a scarf.  She had a point.  Breast Cancer is ugly and the farthest thing away from a pink ribbon as you can get.

But…… the pink ribbon worked.  Breast cancer is the #1 funded and researched cancer (both by government and not for profit organizations) in the United States, twice as much funding as Prostate Cancer which is the 2nd highest.  And yes, Childhood Cancer – which is like 25 cancers rolled into one title – is still at the bottom of the list receiving 4% of the National Cancer Institute Funding.  That’s when my dislike of pink ribbons began.

So, like many things in my life I have a love/hate relationship with pink ribbons.  And Pumpkin Spice.  And I miss my mom and the October’s of my childhood which were filled with pumpkin patches and orchards and festivals and Halloween costumes that were more than just themed lingerie. I really wanted to insert a line from Mean Girls here, but it’s probably not appropriate given the next sentimental and super emotional part of my blog.

Since it is Breast Cancer awareness month I want to share a poem that I found from 2004 that my mom happened to clip out and give to me but I don’t remember why she gave it to me.  Now it’s her:

I find an old photograph

and see your smile.

As I feel your presence anew,

I am filled with warmth

and my heart remembers love.

I read an old card

sent many years ago

during a time of turmoil and confusion.

The soothing words written then

still caress my spirit

and bring me peace.

I remember who you used to be

the laughter we shared

and wonder what you have become.

Where are you now,

Where did you go,

When the body is left behind

and the spirit is released to fly?

Perhaps you are the morning bird

singing joyfully at sunrise,

or the butterfly that dances

so carelessly on the breeze

or the rainbow of colors

that brightens a stormy sky

or the fingers or afternoon mist

delicately reaching over the mountains

or the final few rays of the setting sun

lighting up the skies

edging the clouds with a magical glow.

I miss your being

but I feel your presence,

in whatever form you choose to take,

however you choose to be.

Your spirit has become for me

a guardian angel on high

guiding, advising and watching over me.

I remember you

You are with me

and I am not afraid.

~Kristi A Dyer

OK so now you’re in tears, well I’m in tears, so Mean Girls it is:

 

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Why I hate being a “Soccer Mom”

I could almost do a Top 10 of why I hate being a soccer mom….. I think I might have even listed them on Facebook randomly from time to time.

#5 – 37 degrees outside but were still having soccer practice.

#8 – I have to drive 3 hours for 1 damn game — on Mother’s Day?

#4 – I miss $15 kids size soccer cleats from Target.

But seriously, what happened to soccer mom’s over the years?  Remember the Clinton-era soccer moms?  They were a force.  They changed a Presidential election.  They were smart intelligent women who were choosing to stay home with their kids instead of having high power careers.  They were created by political talking heads who wanted to target middle class white mothers who drive SUV’s or minivans and were “overburdened.”  But the stereotype, when it started, was positive.  They were important.  Their opinions were considered to be the “voice of the middle class” in the mid 90’s.

Unfortunately all good things must come to end.  The stereotype now is much less positive.  Soccer Mom’s are still middle class white mothers but that’s where the “nice” description from the 90’s.  Now they are (and yes I’m quoting from urban dictionary):

“A woman who refuses to believe that anything that is not white christian middle-upper class is evil.”

“are often found destroying the sacred environment in their oversized SUV’s driving in an unsafe fashion, often times with cell phones in one hand and a Starbucks coffee in the other.”

“an evil underground network of overprotective 30-40 year olds who drive around in s.u.v’s or mini vans or volvo’s who hate tv, internet and teenagers. this “mafia” of soccer moms knows everything that goes on in your town and gossips about every little thing that other people kids do.”

“They name their children Madison, Britney, Caitlin, Tanner, Bryce, Trevor… they drive an SUV or minivan embossed with soccer ball decals and honor student bumper stickers… their two most prized possessions: their cell phone and their sport water bottle…”

“A time bomb waiting to detonate in a therapist’s office or a grocery check-out line after finding her double off coupon is no longer valid.”

“She is usually blonde (often bleached) and has average to above average looks (the latter usually being also a “trophy wife”).”

“Soccer Mom has no life outside her children and their activities. During the day when the kids are in school, she can be found trolling the localshopping mall and maxing out hubby’s credit card buying stuff she doesn’t need at theBombay Company.”

And my personal favorite……..

“Soccer moms are also a major contributing factor to the gas price hike that America has experienced in recent years”

So let me take these down one by one.

While I identify with Christian values we don’t attend church regularly and I enjoy studying and learning about various other religions – including Muslim and Hindu because many of my son’s friends and fellow soccer players belong to these religions.  Evil to me is Plankton from Spongebob — just kidding and no I’ve never petitioned Nickelodeon to give Spongebob a higher parental information TV rating.

Ok admittedly I’ve got no counter point for the SUV, bad driving, drinking Starbucks and cellphone.  Next…. Oh wait, I don’t destroy the environment and I’m very conscientious about recycling.  HA!

I’ve always wanted to be part of an evil underground network however gossiping about other people’s kids typically doesn’t classify as “evil” or “underground.”  My version of an evil underground network involves something much more dangerous like smuggling doughnuts to starving size 2 models or stalking celebrities or something a little more “Fast & Furious” like.  And PS I know everything that goes on in this town because I’m a 911 operator, trust me you DONT want to know everything!

“Madison, Britney, Caitlin, Tanner, Bryce, Trevor” – nope none of the above (Sorry B).  And just so we’re clear the damn stickers on the back window were placed there by my children because I fought kicking and screaming against my back window looking like a suburbia billboard.  At least I don’t have the stick figure family.  And I have no honor roll stickers……….. not exactly a great parental brag but my kids and the honor roll have never been formally introduced.

I can see myself as a time bomb waiting to go off in a therapy office or the grocery store for not taking my double coupon however I feel that has little to do with me being a parent who has a child enrolled in soccer or not.  (see my references to customer service issues in previous blogs)

I could be blonde but I’m not… and currently the color my daughter picked for me is “chocolate cherry” – she thought I needed to be red for fall.  I like to think I have average to above average looks when I actually have time to fix my hair and do my makeup which isn’t often.  And I’ve often told my husband that I am a trophy wife — he just needed to be more specific about what place (they give trophy’s all the way up to 10th place now!).  Keep in mind “Participant” is also a place.

I have a life…. it involves working hellish 12 hour shifts and sometimes part-time shifts or overtime to pay for soccer — that really is a counterproductive point isn’t it? Does anyone have that “Soccer Mom Madame’s” address in prison?  I really want to sign up for the maxing the hubby’s credit card at the mall life though – do you know where I go for that?  PS what the hell is Bombay Company?  We don’t have one at my mall, or any mall near me. (I Googled it… it’s like high-priced IKEA).

And finally……..

I love this person’s take on the gas price increase.  Totally ….. it’s all because of us holier than thou white suburban driving/crashing Starbucks drinking cellphone talking on blonde time bomb trophy wives with no life but shopping and maxing out credit cards.  It has NOTHING to do with OPEC or government regulations or international politics or anything.  It’s all because we fill up our SUV’s and/or Minivans.

There were also countless references to my overworked executive level high paid husband.  Yeah ……… about that.  My husband works ten 24 hour shifts a month and is paid less than most entry-level positions at Fortune 500 companies.

So this is why I don’t like being stereotyped as a Soccer Mom.  Unfortunately I have a son who is obsessed with playing soccer so I can’t get out of the title.  I just hate that Soccer Mom’s have become basically some kind of over indulgent, entitled, rich, snobby pain in the ass.  And trust me I’ve seen them first hand.  Once my son started travel soccer I was amazed at what I saw.  I’ve seen a lady (ok not so much lady – but female) get kicked out of her kids match and could still hear her yelling and screaming 3 fields over as her husband was walking (insert dragging) her to the car.  I’ve seen a teenage kid start towards a oposing teams parent to start a fight and the mother encourage him the whole time.  I’ve seen an opposing player address all of the parents from our team in a derogatory manner and then flip us all off with his parents laughing and encouraging him to keep going.  Sometimes I get confused between whether I’m at a soccer game or a secret taping of Jerry Springer.

I know there is no hope of not being classifed as a Soccer Mom due to the basic principal that A) I am a mom and B) one child plays soccer.  However I reject be stereotyped as some of the examples above.

Except for the Starbucks (it IS pumpkin spice season after all) and the SUV (even though it’s broke — again) and the cell phone (my Iphone is like a 3rd child).  And maybe I’ll go blonde………who knows?