Today kicks off yet another Spring Break Week at our house. I admit, Jimmy and I take a sliver of pride in our reputation for providing ZERO amusement for our offspring over Spring Break. But this year, through some momentary lapse of judgement or faltered sense of family tradition, James talked us in to letting him fly down to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico with a group of kids and their parents from his Senior class…

Ever since we gave him the green light for the trip, I have been filled with maternal dread and worry. I’m just not a big fan of a bunch of American high school students running around the beaches of Mexico. I’m not even a fan of Mexican students running around the beaches of Mexico.   But, I do feel secure that James is in good hands down there. His “official chaperones” are the parents of one of his buddies, but I always favor a strong back-up plan.   Included in the entourage is one of my closest friends, who is accompanying her daughter Sarah (a classmate of James’) on the trip.

Kathleen texted me yesterday to get James’ cell phone number so she could save him to her contacts. That went a long way towards reassuring me that she fully intends to keep excellent tabs on my boy. After I gave her his number, it seemed only appropriate to inquire, what, if anything, I could do for her here in Oklahoma while she was away. I’m sure I was just overwhelmed with gratitude and got swept up in the moment.

I barely got this semi-sincere offer out of my mouth, before she started rattling off a list of instructions. And what an extensive list it was!  My head started swimming. I finally said, “Wow, that sounds like a lot. Can you just email that to me?”

And she did.

The good news is that I don’t have to do anything unless she dies down there this week. She hasn’t asked me to water her house plants, feed her cat or bring in her mail. I don’t have to run over and let her dogs out, or even pick the newspaper up off the driveway. But, the bad news is that, should she meet an untimely demise and perish in Mexico this week, I’m going to be busier than a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest.


She is dead set on these instructions:



I suppose I really don’t mind writing her eulogy. That’s fine.  I have actually written a fair amount of eulogies for a woman as young as I am.  It’s like everything else, there’s a formula.

Assuming I can easily locate that “red lock box,” (if it was my house, it will have mysteriously disappeared from the place where I told you it would be…) it will be pretty effortless to run that song list up to the church.

No problem splicing in some pall bearers, either. I would think anyone could tote this particular friend down the aisle. Even in a wooden box, she won’t weigh much. Trust me, I happen to know exactly how much she weighs, because she went on a diet 3 weeks ago for this trip and has texted me her weight every day. Her pall will be easy to bear.

And, I guess I really don’t even mind throwing this party she wants, but at some point I feel like she is starting to get a tad high maintenance. Is it just me, or is she asking a lot that I have to burn a CD?  Why can’t I just take requests and suggestions from her grieving friends and family throughout the evening and play them on my iPad? It’s like she has me confused with her friend Pandora.

And, then putting ME, of all people in charge of her appearance in the casket?  If I’m truly the one running the show, I’m apt to just ignore that open casket nonsense. Those pall bearers work for me now, right?  When I slam that puppy shut and and tell MY PALL BEARERS, “Let’s Roll!” it won’t much matter which direction her little head is tilted.

On a positive note, I am  starting to worry way less about James on this trip. He’s a good boy and we’ve done our best to raise him to make good choices.  My primary concern has shifted to the safety and wellbeing of Kathleen down there.  I’m really not thrilled that MY Spring Break might get bogged down in all these funeral-related tasks.  There’s a reason we don’t plan anything over Spring Break – it’s because we are trying to relax…

All that notwithstanding, I do enjoy selecting music, so I thought I may as well knock that chore out this morning.  Kathleen happened to call just now to “check-in” on their layover in Atlanta. I asked if she liked the song, “Come on Eileen,”from the early 80s.

When she answered, “Not really,” her 18 year old was as astonished as I was. “Oh my God Mom! Are you dead inside?” (Obviously Sarah agrees with me about this catchy tune…)

But honestly, at this point, I literally just have my fingers crossed.  Not to be callous or anything, but if Kathleen is dead on the inside, that’s Sarah’s problem this week in Playa, if she’s dead on the outside, it just became mine.

Come On Kathleen!  At this moment, you mean everything!