“Boys!” I screamed reflexively. “Where is my chair?”
My younger son, who’s 10, hollered back, “It’s in my blanket fort! I neeeeed it for my blanket fort!”
OK, a couple of things to point out here. When I walk to my desk, I am mentally zeroed in. I am ready to pay the bills, or do the work or write the thing, and I have dragged myself away from whatever diverting alternate activity I’d rather be doing (seriously, do you guys know about thredUP?), and I am ready. I mean business as I saunter up to that desk, y’all.
Also, I am the big sister. Granted, I am also a 43-year-old mother of two large boy-type children, but some part of me has apparently never gotten past those big sister years when all I wanted in the world was to be left alone to read in peace and to find my things where I left them and to not have gross little boys always touching my things and moving my stuff, and why are you even in my room?! Gah!
When my kids were small, my big sister origins were not a problem. I mean, they were little children and mostly helpless and pretty much always in either my lap or my line of sight. They did annoying shit, sure, but it did not generally involve moving furniture or surreptitiously taking my stuff to undisclosed locations, so I kind of forgot about the big sister years. But as my boys have gotten big and strong and grabby enough to disrupt my environment in truly significant and bewildering ways, that 14-year-old version of myself is suddenly back. And wow, she is super bitchy.
“Son, I know you think you need that chair for your blanket fort, but you do not. I need that chair for my butt, so I can sit in it and pay our bills and finish my work. So please go get that chair and bring it to me. And do not take furniture out of my room. That is not OK.”
All of the other chairs in the house were also in this fort, by the way, so you would not think my little office chair would be critical to its infrastructure, but you would be wrong. In making him move that chair, I destroyed his life and proved myself the worst mother on the planet.
Which, to tell you the truth, is OK with me. Someone has to be the worst at this stuff. It can be me. That way it isn’t you! You’re welcome.
I also found that my free weights were a critical part of the infrastructure of this elaborate fort. I found that when, you guessed it, I went to lift my free weights. (That sounds so badass but, you guys, these weights top out at 8 pounds and they are coated in colorful plastic. They’re perfect blanket-fort ballast.)
And forget about being able to use my most favorite giant towel at the pool. That is not my towel anymore, and the way I can tell that is not my towel is that some wet child is constantly wrapped in it. I even bought a new version of it covered in giant pink flowers because I figured none of the boys I live with would want it. And now my reward for teaching them about feminism and gender equality is that they could give a shit if they have a pink flowery towel. It’s cool, bro. Now we have TWO giant towels—perfect!
I recently took a business trip, and while I was gone, my husband took our older son to get his learner’s permit. Then he posted a picture to Facebook of our baby boy driving my car.
My car. Driving. My. Car.
“Good job, buddy. I’m really proud of you!” I texted to my son that night.
“Thanks for taking him. So why the hell can’t he drive your car?” I texted to my husband.
They didn’t respond. I’m pretty sure they were all in the blanket fort. Or out driving my car.