So, what’s new with you?
(dramatic pause)
You may be unaware of this, but I am expressly forbidden to discuss politics in the Friars Hill Traffic Report anymore. Which is Such. A. Shame. Because, I would absolutely love to enlighten you about my feelings regarding the election.
I’ll tell you what: Come by the office and we’ll walk up to the Wild Bean. There, you can buy me a large pumpkin spice latte and we’ll sit down at the community table and I will give you my FULL Julia Sugarbaker impression, if you catch my drift.
Oh, but anyway.
I do enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.
I ordered one in Martinsburg last weekend at the Target Starbucks, and I just can’t tell you how profoundly embarrassed I was. Like, how absolutely suburban-white-lady was that!?
“Yes honey, I’m just really feeling this fall weather, and before I go purchase some reasonably priced, high-quality bath towels here at Tar-jay, I’m going to treat myself to a little bit of some fall goodness in your new holiday cup.
“Am I from here? Oh no, honey, I’m just visiting. I’m from down in Greenbrier County. I’m just here because my daughter has a dance class.”
Oh G-d I just wanted to kill myself. I’ve become that mom.
You know, a soccer mom.
I remember in the 1996 election, when the term “soccer mom” became fashionable. I was in college, and the idea of a minivan-driving, mom-on-the-go as the new voter to be reckoned with seemed just … so … bourgeois.
And yet, 20 years later, here I am.
In the last few years, the idea of a soccer mom, defined as a busy mother who puts her family first, has become more appealing to me, because, of course I would want to do that. Why have children and then not tend to them?!
Anyway, so now I’m that lady, careening here and there in my SUV, soccer balls and pointe shoes flying from one side of the vehicle to the other, guzzling sipping my latte and checking my phone at 40 miles per hour.
I am harried. I am caffeinated. I am wearing Ugg boots.
Here we are.
This weekend, we have a soccer tournament in Barboursville. I’m really hyped because I’ve bought team T-shirts for the whole family. My husband Tom is thrilled by this development (just kidding. He really doesn’t want his identity to rest on his kids’ success on the field and the stage, like me).
Actually, (and don’t tell him I told you this) he’s become a bit of a soccer dad himself. His transformation is more subtle, but I learned a long time ago, from my own father, that a sure sign a man is becoming a soccer dad (and maybe getting a little old) is when he starts listening to alternative country music.
Tom, the same man who used to skulk around Manhattan in his black leather motorcycle jacket and listen to The Clash, has taken to quoting singer-songwriter Corb Lund, stating – in no uncertain terms – that “everything is better with some cows around.” He’s also given up soda, and he’s becoming pretty well versed in soccer plays, so I’m pretty sure his transformation is near completion.
Last week, a woman I work out with wondered sarcastically whether I have stick-family stickers on the rear windshield of my car. Apparently, I was sounding especially soccer-momish and she felt the need to make fun of me.
I’ll be honest: it stung a little. Because, that lady is still cool. She’s young, and her children are little enough that they just stay at home learning to talk and pee in a potty. She’s still got her identity.
But just wait: before she knows it, she’ll be knee-deep in her children’s adolescence, driving them to play ball from one end of West Virginia to the other. Her husband’s going to discover Robert Earl Keen, and, I guarantee: she’s going to need that latte.
And in the fall, when the air gets crisp, she’s gonna want some pumpkin spice.


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