I am sitting here on a Thursday evening eating white bread and butter – teach me to be too busy to go to the store – listening to my children repeat Spanish words to Dora on command. Wondering why they can’t seem to follow my instructions, I feel a bit sad that a cartoon character with a monkey has more influence on them than I do.
This has been happening to me a lot lately. I think I want something – like my girls to be quiet for five minutes – so I rectify the situation, thus channeling Dora the hypnotist, and then feel badly that I resolved the issue. I feel like maybe I should have let them enjoy their summer night a little longer. Instead of silencing them and depriving myself of their sweet little screams, young child slaps and overall drama queen behavior.
Another example of my flip flop parenting is school. All summer I have been wishing for the first day of pre- school for Katie and mother’s day out for Sarah. I’ve counted the days, telling myself that if I could just hang on, I would get my reward, to the tune of $400 a month, and sanity would restore itself – at least 2 days a week, anyway. I’d have more time for Megan, who really gets lost in the shuffle, be able to work on my book whose deadline is quickly looming, and maybe a tad bit of time for myself – finally. My toilets would get cleaned every week, my laundry actually put away the same day I fold it and my hair dryer would be dusted off and used… if only to blow dust from my bathroom counter.
But school is upon me. Monday for Katie and Wednesday for Sarah. Their first days flashing neon in my head day and night, reminding me that I will be away from them. Losing control. Praying they are safe. Wanting to have them here instead… personality disorders and all.
I don’t know if it is the fear of them being somewhere that I can not watch them to make sure they are not hurt, sad, or being complete animals. Or that I have to let go and let them grow and learn without my influence and direction to my ways of thinking. Most likely, it could have something to do with the reality that someone else, their teachers, will come into their lives and, like Dora, be someone that they are more excited about than me.
And that makes me sad.
Having children gave me a chance to be a hero. Egotistical, I know. Every day, all of the time, no matter what. A chance to be the only one that they look up to! As summer nears it’s end, my weekly calendar fills up with my children’s schedules, written in dry erase lest we have to move something to fit another thing in, I wonder when I will get to be that hero again. When they will only want to show me their pictures and boo -boos. Tell me a secret only a Mother will ever be able to understand. And want hugs and kisses from me over everyone else. With every introduction to a new person or activity, my Hero status is challenged and pressed into a smaller mold to manage. I feel the need for me is shrinking and so is my desire to see them leave.
I know, logically, I am being unreasonable. Silly, really. Children need experiences and friends and other adults to learn from. Lord knows they stopped paying attention to what I have tried to teach them by the time they weaned! And I love that they do learn and that they fall so in love with their teachers. They still talk about last year’s teachers with big grins on their faces!
But – just one more day, one more week, one more month, one more year – can’t I still be the Hero? The one that they think of first and take for granted the most? Instead of the soccer Mom, stage Mom, overbearing Mom, embarrassing Mom… the “you don’t understand” Mom.
Can’t I just be Mom?
Sitting here on a Thursday evening, eating white bread and butter – wishing I had gone to the store – listening to my children be mine.