There are certain moments etched forever in my memory.
January 28, 1986; the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. A random evening in the fall of 1987; my first real kiss. November 4th 2008; the day we elected our first African American President. And a summer day in 1995; the day I realized my father was a mere mortal.
The timing is different for everyone but the feelings of shock, awe, disappointment, bewilderment, confusion and resentment are universal. They are tied together in a bow and thrown at your wide eyes the moment it dawns on you, your parents are just people. People with kids.
From the moment we enter the world, our parents are our world. They hold our tiny, precious bodies and tend to our every need. Moms and Dads must be superheroes! They have amazing powers of knowledge and ability, answering all of our unending questions, and handling the endless day-to-day tasks that surround us.
Placed on such high pedestals, when these mere men and women fall back to earth, it rocks our worlds.
When I first realized my dad was just a person like everyone else, I was bitter. I thought he could do anything and that he would never let me down. I felt cheated and I resented him for it. As I grew older I began to understand it and now that I am a parent myself, I love him for it. No one is ready for children; the books and stories from friends do nothing to prepare you for parenthood. It’s messy and exhausting and we are the same people with kids as we were before. Whatever baggage you carry on your back doesn’t magically disappear when you become a parent.
I am very real with my kids. Maybe it’s because I am a single mom and at times I have no choice, my messy life is out there for them to see. Or, maybe it’s because I am trying to cushion the inevitable blow.
I want them to see who I am. The more they see me, the lower I am to earth, and the smaller my inevitable fall and their potential disappointment.
I am a friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend, writer, yogi and runner. I love to laugh, drink, eat and be lazy on weekends. I like to bake, throw myself into projects and organize anything. I get cranky when I’m hungry or my boyfriend is late and I have a low tolerance for shouting kids. I have goals yet to be accomplished and travels to still travel. I am also their mother and it is the greatest joy in my life.
While mom is my favorite title, at the end of the day I am just a person. A person with two kids.
The sooner they realize that, the better.
Related post: Dear Parents: You Aren’t That Special