Posts Tagged ‘children’

Remember when Mom…

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I wrote a post yesterday remembering my grandmother, who was a wonderfully elegant woman and who passed on many lessons regarding the “domestic arts” to her children and grandchildren. We are lucky to have had her as a teacher. (I know, “domestic arts” is an awfully outdated expression, but I just can’t think of a way to lump the cut glass pickle dish, the importance of table linens, and silent butler use in one category. Domestic arts it is.)

My recollection got me thinking about what my children will say about me after I’m gone. I should pause here for a moment and say that my mother and I play this game with some regularity — usually when she has done or said something mildly outrageous that isn’t so “grandmotherly:” “Oh, that’s great Mom. It’ll be the nice for the children to remember the time that Grandma told them that math didn’t matter” (not that she’s ever said that — I just can’t remember a specific instance right now that won’t get one of us (probably me) in trouble).

Back to my point. What will the children say? Will they recall the all the times I lost it because socks were left in the family room after I specifically said about 4,000 times to put your nasty dirty socks in the hamper? Will they recall all the times that I knowingly and willingly broke traffic laws because I didn’t feel like following them?

Will they nudge each other and say, “Remember the time in that 4D movie when the shark snatched the seal out of the water and our chairs shook and the whole thing surprised Mom and she said, “JESUS!” really loud in the quiet theatre?” (Yes, I did. But I was startled beyond belief. What do you say when you’ve been surprised by a Great White? That wasn’t my fault.)

Will they carry on, reminiscing about the time I announced, in front of them in a (rare) parenting judgment lapse, that my favorite word was “Asshat”? And how delighted they were that I “swore” in front of them and then, for the next several weeks, would interrupt conversations I was having with other adults to say, “Hey Mom, tell ____ about what your favorite word is,” and I’d either have to explain or cut off their air supplies (my kids, not the other grownups)?

The truth is, they’re going to recall all of it. The trick will be to have them recall the quirky and the fun in equal measure with the not-so-fun and grumpy. Like the evenings when we had breakfast for dinner or picnics in the family room.

Like the time I allowed them to make up a holiday and then decorated for it. (Children’s Day. January 16. They didn’t understand why I told them every day was Children’s Day and why’d we need a holiday for it, but I decorated placemats anyway, and we took photos.)

Like the time they found me wrapped in a towel in the kitchen one night after dinner, soaking wet, with my clothes in a pile and when they asked why, I casually told them I had gone skinny dipping. Oh, the horror! (Particularly when Dad told them he was sorry he had missed it…“Ewwww, Daaaaad!”) And I was pleased with their horror and promised to do it again real soon.

Or when I tell them “Dinner tonight is poison, with a side of poison,” or that when they tell me I smell good they cut me off and say, “I know, Mom, I know. ‘It’s the smell of clean,’ I know. I’ll take a shower later.”

They’ll remember it all. That’s good, I suppose. And it certainly frees me up to skinny dip and use “asshat” when the spirit moves me. After all, some memories are indelible.

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Another chance.

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

I’ve got another opportunity today to do it better. Do what better? Well, this parenting thing. And more than that, this whole being-a-decent-role model for them in the process. At the end of many days, I go to bed feeling like I dropped the ball. Actually, not only feeling like I dropped the ball, but that the damn ball was dropped, rolled around and picked up a dog, who then abandoned it in a corner where it attracted a fuzz or two before being picked up by a couple of boys who thought it’d be fun to toss it around the kitchen despite being told to knock it off with balls in the kitchen becuase if you decapitate another one of my ceramic chickens I’m really going to lose it…ahem. Many nights I go to bed feeling like I dropped the ball.

Every day I tell myself that I’ll have more patience with people, and every day I fail long before lunch. Primarily, the “people” that I’m referring to are my people — flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. But I also mean the General Public — the driver who’s decided to actually drive 5 miles below the speed limit today, thus hindering my progress to the Dog Food Store; the checker in the grocery store who insists on talking over me to the next checker about a third employee who had a kick-ass party the night before; the teenager in line at Dunkin Donuts who won’t get off her phone long enough to place her order but instead holds up her finger (and the line) in a wait-a-minute gesture while the rest of us contemplate other fingers to be held up….See? Patience out the window and I’ve not even had that cup of coffee yet.

The biggest drain on my patience — what sets my hair on fire, really — is that my children, in particular, do not seem to realize I have any boundaries. There used to be a time, waaay back in the day, where, if something were “Mommy’s,” it would be treated with reverence and awe. “Ooooh, that’s Moommmmy’s,” and then the item would be lovingly stroked or admired. Now, indubitably what you’ll hear is, “Cool! That’s Mom’s! [snatch! clutch! walk away!]”

I got a new computer after The Great Email Hack of June 2010. It’s a lovely shiny new Mac. The children have an lovely old(er) Mac in the next room. Whose computer are they using? Without asking?

The most recent thing that set me off? I brought back two paper fans from Key West. They were handed out during the town “Conch Train” tour — the hokey guide called them “air conditioning.” I brought them home, actually figuring the kids would like them. But I had no sooner taken them out of my bag and laid them on the counter when they were snatched! and taken away. No one asked, “What are these? Can I have these? Do you need these?” — they were just appropriated. And now they’re disappeared, at which point I lost it — over paper fans.

When I’m outside myself, watching myself lose my marbles, I think, “Lady, you must get A Grip.” But The Grip eludes me yet again.

Yesterday, my husband brought home a new iPad. He won it at a contest at work — part of a team-building thing wherein he and a group of employees had to compete against other teams for several weeks….answering questions about the company and other trivia. His team won, and each team member got an iPad. Husband already had one, so he generously and wonderfully brought it home *for me.* This was last night — and because of a busy evening, it really only made it out of the box at bedtime.

Who wants to bet an over/under on how long before someone snatches! clutches! walks away! with it? When you see smoke from central NJ, don’t panic. It’s just my hair on fire.

And since today’s another day and it’s still early, I have a another chance to figure out how to tamp down the flames before anyone gets hurt.

Yes, I saved the heads. I'm that mother.

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