I cannot help but dream that my children, when they are grown, will remember fondly the many blissful moments of childhood. I like to imagine that they will sigh, eyes misty, and say “there was nobody like our dear mother.”
Then someone can cue some really sappy music and there will be a fade out to me, in my younger incarnation, being both bountiful and beatific as the perfect mother (Julia Roberts, miraculously un-aged, will play me in the movie).
That is why we parent isn’t it? For the glory? OK, so maybe we do it for the children.
Moments of glory. Nonetheless, I would hope, that when they discuss my past on-the-job performance as their mother, that they remember moments such as these:
* That I am the kind of mommy who, after finally ferrying all her little charges safely to the car, will respond to a child’s cries of “I forgot teddy!” by turning off the vehicle, traipsing back across the yard, up the steps, unlocking the door, shaking off the snow, searching high and low to find “teddy” and repeat all these same steps in order to return him to his mistresses loving arms.
It figures. All this so the same child can hold him for the one block ride to the babysitter’s house and, upon disembarking, announce cheerily “I will leave Teddy here with you mommy!” and drop him to the floor of the car.
* That the one time I tried to be the “Super fun mom” of childhood lore and honest to goodness served snacks for dinner (what fun!) my two children, 6 and 4, appeared hours later (around bedtime) with aggrieved expressions wondering how it could be bedtime when they hadn’t had dinner?
“Dinner?” I say. “Dinner was all the cheese sticks, and dippy things and fun stuff we had earlier!”
You know, dinner? To which my 6-year-old replied, as if speaking to someone terribly slow: “no, mom, dinner, y’know, meat and some vegetable stuff we don’t like and applesauce next to it, on a plate.”
Oh. I stand corrected.
* That I once put a New York editor on hold so I could listen to my son recite, in great detail, our own telephone number (his first time!)
* That, in fact, everything relating to them comes first including, but not limited to, school parties, holiday parades, and social engagements with friends I didn’t know about until they met me in the hallway at preschool and announced that six little friends (and their parents!) were coming for lunch.
Trading jobs. I used to have a career, now I have a PalmPilot full of “snack day at preschool” and “storytime” scheduling. I may have a part-time career, but parenting is my full-time job.
* That when I say “no” I mean it. OK, not always. Sometimes I mean “maybe” and sometimes I mean “OK, if you ask me again a few more times and look, really really cute doing so.”
But usually, and I really mean it, I mean “no.” Maybe.
* That I played “Care Bears Race” – a game with the entertainment equivalent of watching paint dry – three or four times in succession without complaint. OK, with some complaint.
But only when I roll the “lose a turn puffy clouds” repeatedly. That purple bear has it in for me.
* That I said things like “don’t look at me in that tone of voice!” with a completely straight face, and meant it.
* And finally, that they promised that no matter how big they get, they will always be my babies. It may not be written in stone, but it’s most definitely written in my heart.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt still has teddy in the car. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)