FAQ and Other Stuff I Shouldn’t Say

FYI, I say “FYI” a lot.

You know.  FYI.  Meaning “for your information.”

I was talking to my 12-year-old one day, and she mimicked me by saying, “FYI, Mom, I want a laptop.”

And I responded, “F your I, Abby, you’re not getting one.”

F your I, I’m a parenting genius.

Sometimes I have conversations with myself as though I’m more than one person.  They go like this:

Self #1: Don’t ever say, “F your” anything to your children.  Ever again.

Self #2: Thanks for the advice.  I appreciate all your tips for daily life.  I just wish every once in a while you’d get around to telling me these things before I say and do them.

Creepy conversations to myself aside, one thing I learned from the blog survey is that I need to put up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Unfortunately, now I’m afraid of acronyms that start with the letter F.  So I want you to know how very brave I’m being when I press on and write one anyway.

Among other frequently asked questions is this one:

Hey, Beth.  You post a LOT of personal stories about your family.  Like the story about your mom’s butt scope procedure and the story about your sister-in-law’s jugs.  Is that OK with your family, or are you sometimes afraid they’re going to smother you in your sleep?

To answer that question briefly, yes.

Yes, it’s OK.  I think.

And yes, they still  might smother me in my sleep.  What can I say?  It’s a risky, risky life I lead.

I do obtain permission before posting personal stories about other people.

For example, you’ll never see a story about my mother-in-law with the words “butt scope” anywhere near her.  That’s because she’d rather stab herself in the eye with a fork than approve a story like that.  And because she’s too smart to ever tell me when she’s having a butt scope procedure.  And I’ll never ask.  There are lots of things that make our relationship work.

Nana, on the other hand, approved the butt story.  And I shall ignore the fact that Nana was all jacked up on hospital drugs when she gave her approval.

And Kim approved the jugs story.  Or, rather, she didn’t technically say “WHAT?  NO!  STOP!” when I told her what I was doing.  Giggling equals approval, right?  Yes, I think so, too.

And I receive permission for every single story I post about my 12-year-old daughter, because, as I mentioned, she’s 12, so, you know, my very existence is unspeakably humiliating.

Stories I’m not allowed to post, I still write.  It’s a compulsion.  I hope to post them someday with the subject’s approval.

In the meantime, while we’re waiting indefinitely for the stories I can’t post now, I’ll tell you a story about my own preteen self.  It will explain a lot.

Once upon a time, I was a preteen girl with all the usual preteen girl things, like:

  1. Unspeakably humiliating parents
  2. A changing body
  3. Accompanying feeeee-lings

One day, when I was at school, something happened.  Something inside of me.  Something girls learn about in 5th-grade, girls-only health class.  Or from their mothers, like how I learned about it.

FYI (that’s right), I was significantly unhappy that my mother actually talked to me about stuff like that. Mothers talking about girl things; bleh and ew!

I arrived home from school to find my father patiently guarding my mother’s den.  She was horribly ill.  Too ill, he said, for me to bother her.  Like I was ever a bother.  Sheesh!

I patiently explained that I needed to talk to her.  There may or may not have been crying, screaming, and “it’s an eMERgency”ing going on.  Probably not, though; I was consistently even-tempered at that age.

Eventually, even my father had to eat, and he left her room unguarded.  I did what any girl in the same situation would have done.  I braved the former Marine’s wrath, and I went to see my mother who was wrapped up in a thousand blankets, lying face-first on her pillow in a dark, dark room.

I quickly told her What Had Happened.  After she told me what to do, I extracted her iron-clad promise that she would never, ever reveal the contents of our discussion on pain of death.  Especially to my dad.

Next, she told my dad.

I’m pretty sure she didn’t even wait 2 minutes.  Stupid iron-clad promises.  Worthless, I tell you.  Who can you even trust anymore?

She had some kind of silly excuse for her indiscretion.  Like a lack of any supplies for me in the house.

I failed to see why she couldn’t drag her blankets to the nearest convenience store to help me out.  I mean, if I’d wanted my dad to know, I would’ve told him myself.

Humiliating.

And then my dad one-upped my mom in the Humiliation Department.

He…

…you’re never going to believe this…

He bought me flowers.

I know.  Can you imagine?  We were living with another family at the time, and they saw them! I kid you not.

The attached card read, “Congratulations on becoming a woman.  I love you.  Dad”

Oh, the agony.

And so the story that I never, ever would have allowed for public release when I was young has become a memory that is charming and sweet.  Such is the way of life.

I hope you realize the main point of all this.  Did you notice that I was raised by parents who talked to me about stuff?  They were open, honest and never, ever shied away from a conversation.  Not even the stuff that my Health Class would’ve covered for them.

Despite the fact that none of their parents were communicative with them, my parents broke the silence cycle.

Shattered it to pieces, really.

So when you wonder, How can she write this stuff??, now you know who to blame.

It’s my parents’ fault.

They started it.

F your I.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
23 comments
  1. […] much as I mess up, though, I’m also ROCKING it, and that’s closer to the Whole Truth about my parenting. […]

  2. […] Just FYI, if you, like me, are a visual person, don’t ever use the phrase “drowning in dropped […]

  3. […] F Your I, my boys totally can’t handle pictures of naked ladies. Or naked men. Pretty much any kind of nakedness, and my kids can’t handle it. […]

  4. […] the calendar.   Me: Good idea. The calendar likes fancy cheese and gin and tonics. Just, you know, F Your I. […]

  5. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Not a blog-perusing person in general, I was completely shocked at how two hours seemed to melt away as I learned about each of your kids and your stretch marks and your mothers colonoscopy, and then finally this essay about your own preteen self.
    One thing I must commend you for: you have more than just a knack for writing authentically and humorously. YOU ARE INTELLIGENT! and that is why I kept reading. My own children are 13 and almost 17 (yes, I only have two) but I may just have to “subscribe”…is that what you call it?
    Can’t wait to see the first screenplay of your first book.
    Let me know when.
    Jessica

  6. […] thought it wasn’t an accident, FYI. She thought he did it on purpose. She thought he should Knock. It. OFF. GEEZ! But I reminded her […]

  7. […] FYI, there’s a guy who lives here in Oregon who contracted the plague last week after attempting with his bare hands to resolve a conflict between a cat and a mouse. […]

  8. […] FYI, Ikea plastic plates that are fried in pizza roll grease on high in the microwave produce carcinogenic (I imagine) clouds of smoke but no actual fire. […]

  9. […] sure you get it.  I became a woman.  My mom did tell my dad.  It was awful.  And wonderful.  Embarrassing.  And […]

  10. My daughter has yet to hit that stage yet, although just about every day I am certain it must be just around the corner because of her extreeeeme mood swings and unpleasant demeanor. I have had the pleasure of being told – during an extended family dinner – that my niece however had become a woman. That was pleasant. So now I am wondering if I should tell my mother-in-law when that day comes or not. She may just announce it at our next family dinner and my daughter would NEVER forgive me.

    1. Oh my gosh, that’s so funny, Holly.

      Next time I’m accused of saying too much (which should happen in another 5 minutes or so), I’m totally telling your niece’s family dinner story… that oughta buy me some “wow, you *can* keep your mouth shut time.” And I need all of that I can get. Thanks for sharing!

  11. OK – I have to comment. My daughter is now 13 BUT exactly 3 weeks after her 12th birthday she too became a woman. Unfortunately, she was in another state with her father, at her grandparents, etc etc. She TEXTED me. I texted back (realizing she didnt want to talk) told her where to find what she needed at g’ma’s house. She replied w/she already found everything. Then the don’t tell Dad….

    Well, I called Dad, told him, and also told him to play stupid. it was just an FYI nothing he needed to do. He promptly went to the liquor store, tied on a good one.

    She was fine, he was fine, but when they got home I heard all about why he had to deal with this after he got the stitches (age 3), and the shaved privates at age 6, etc etc. My reply – you’re a stay at home parent DEAL with it!! 🙂 🙂

    Then she started in like you TOLD HIM!! I’m like yea, he sorta needed to know. Like if he had to go buy something, etc… eye rolls, walks away…

    See your life is so normal….

    1. Mary,

      I’m dying a slow death right now because, oh, man, did you hit my gag order right on the head. AND I CAN’T SAY WHAT I WANT TO SAY! So I’ll say one word.

      Texting.

      Texting is such a great way to communicate.

      Someday. Someday, I’ll be able to talk texting with you. And I will burst with joy.

      Beth

  12. Once I got a work email that started out, “For your FYI…” which I found quite funny, now Kelly and I say it each other on a nearly daily basis. But, I think F your I might be my new favorite thing to say…

    1. Thanks for the trade, ’cause you know I’ll be using “for your FYI,” too.

  13. You know when you are young and your “becoming a woman” time is unpredictable? Well mine came unexpectedly at Christmas while visiting my dad, two years in a row. The first year he took me to Target and then ditched me until I picked out what I needed. The second year he dragged his little brother along and swung the embarrassment pendulum the other way by trying to help me find the slender ones with wings (in a loud military voice kind of a way). Helpful does not equal better.

    1. Oh, Jennifer. The “second year” story just about killed me. I can actually see and hear it, marching you all along on your special lady products mission.

      Hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Great story! It sounds to me that, even though your dad is a retired Marine, you had him wrapped around your little finger…no? 🙂 Most little girls do.

    Both your parents sound completely awesome…just like the parent I know YOU are.

    1. You’re deciphering some secrets there, Kristen. 😉

  15. So… I was *gonna* write that the dirty little secret of Beth’s seemingly indiscriminate recitations of the foibles of family and friends is that – very cleverly – she really only writes about the best traits of others. Witness her focus on her Mom’s “butt” and her SIL’s “jugs” (her terms – not mine). But then I realized that if I were to write that, some readers might jump to the grossly incorrect assumption that she garnered her inappropriate tendencies from The Old Marine (a.k.a. her father). And then I read the end of the post. Too late.

    1. **stage whispering**

      I think they caught on to that little secret a long time ago, Papa.

  16. oh yeah?! F your effing I too!!!

    1. Oh, D. You’re going to have to captain the “things I shouldn’t say” club with me.

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