What is it about kids? They can lighten any serious situation with a bat of an eye, the hint of a giggle, or an impromptu, “I love you Mommy,” just when you need it the most. They’re funny, too. Even when they’re not trying to be. “Mom, I’m never going to eat poop again.” I don’t know how, where, when, or most importantly why he ate poop, but I feel good about his decision to not do it again.
To steal a line from a well-known past television show, “Kids say the darndest things.”
Ah, indeed. I can be having the worst day ever, take one look at them, and suddenly not have a care in the world. Poof! All of my worries and insecurities are washed away in an instant. Motherhood is special that way. It does something to a person’s soul. It’s a slow process, and those closest to you might not even notice a difference. They might suspect something is different, but there’s nothing obvious to really stick a pin in. Much like if you were to tint your eyebrows just a shade too dark, people might examine you more closely, eager for a clear answer, but they won’t be able to really say what the hell is wrong with your face with any bit of confidence. Unless the “they” we are speaking of are my children—they’re very talented observers. I would go so far as to call them gifted, but now I’m just bragging, and I hate parents like that.
While they don’t necessarily thank me as often as I would like for the insurmountable shit I do on a daily basis that goes virtually unnoticed, they demonstrate their gratitude in other special ways. Depending on the delivery, they can be real confidence boosters for someone like me who doesn’t generally get out much.
“Mom, is that a red pea on your face? Can I touch it?” Again with the humor. So unpredictably funny and a great use of the imagination to boot. It’s a valid question really. Why do I have the marks of adolescent puberty growing on my face? I’m almost 40 for fuck’s sake. And no one’s touching anything! It hurts.
“Mom, why do you have eyelashes growing on your legs?” I love inquisitive little minds, almost as much as I love cool weather and long pants. God bless the Midwest.
“Mom, do you have a mustache?” Until this very moment in time I was not aware that I did, but it turns out after close examination, I absolutely do. It’s like living with that special best friend who has no real regard for your feelings, but will tell you in a heartbeat that you have a piece of lettuce stuck between your two front teeth in an effort to save you from any further public humiliation that automatically comes along with just being in their immediate presence.
“Do you use teeth whitener mom?” An open-ended question that could be interpreted one of two ways, but the suggested intent is crystal clear based on the tone. This type of inquiry is second only to the statements that begin with, “No offense Mom, but….”
“Your armpits smell mom.” I did not invite them into my bubble, yet here they are, poking their nose around where it doesn’t belong. I am not showering again for them. Fuck that. I chalk it up to the aging process (see turning 40 comment above). Next week, I’ll probably smell like my grandma’s house. You know the smell. But, oh well, anything to give me a little physical space from time to time is cool with me.
“Ugh! Stop dancing mom.” My kids hate it. Behind closed doors, I capitalize on that shit. It’s funny, because I can’t dance. Tit for tat kids. Two words. “Stanky Legg.” Boom. Who’s the boss now?
“Why don’t you have a real job Mom?” I guess it’s a valid question from a kid’s perspective. I could be the mom who starts crying and then delves into a 30-minute explanation of how my job is the most important job in the world because doing what I do on a day-to-day basis is filled with endless rewards, gratitude and reasons to do nothing but smile all the live-long day. But I generally don’t enjoy talking to myself, and quite frankly, I’m sick of the sound of my own voice.
Instead, I will choose to pick my own zits, not shave my legs, rub vinegar in my pits, and drink yet another glass of teeth-staining red wine.
I know the risks. Leave me alone. Mommy’s pretty on the inside.