“Oh my GOD…”
She mutters it under her breath on the way to school, but audibly enough for me to hear. It is as if I can hear her eyes roll, too.
The five-minute drive to school on Friday goes a lot like that, with quips of “Mom, you are SO defensive all the time” and “MOM, you don’t have to yell at me” and other such accusations when really, I am just trying to stem the tide of awful that is tweendom.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. But I didn’t quite listen when older and wiser parents told me, as I held my precious sweet-smelling pudgy baby to my chest so many years ago that as they get older, they pull away.
That little kids have little problems and big kids have big problems.
Not my kids, I thought back then. We will always be close. They will always be sweet.
I will never regret becoming a mother.
And I don’t.
They are sweet sometimes, and we are still close, but the sweet innocent smiles of early childhood have disappeared from my house, except for the occasional hug and squeeze and overflowing love of my little guy.
The rest have become surly, know-better-than-Mom teens and tweens, making this not my favorite phase of parenting.
On this Mother’s Day weekend, I have different things to say than the ice cream taffy sweet sentiments of years past. Like, do they realize that without ME, they would not even exist?
But ohmigod, I am sounding like a cliche mother in an ’80s movie. I need to look in the mirror to see if I have the bubble-hair to go with it.
Mothers can be annoying and hovering and all of that, but we are only mothers because we chose to be. And that has to count for something.
I remember sitting on the floor of my closet late in the night when my first-born would cry and cry, poring through the pages of the parenting book, looking for answers. Why is he crying? What can I do to make him happy? How can I take away that pain and frustration and upset?
I still want to do that for my kids. Except now, I have to bike down a different street because it is so embarrassing to be seen in the neighborhood biking alongside your mother. (Really, I don’t look so awful on my 22-year-old Trek mountain bike with my helmet fastened tight over my graying frizzy hair.)
I want to make life wonderful for them. I scrimp and save so they can go to a great college and not have to bear the burden of loans.
And still, though they want me on field trips, I cannot talk to them, interact, or even feign familiarity for fear of mortifying humiliation.
I think Mother’s Day should be the day when all the angst is lifted and kids shower their mothers with deep-felt affection in public.
I think this once-a-year day to honor our mothers needs to include some recognition of the fact that literally, without Mom, we would not be alive, let alone have a life.
That as embarrassing and different and foreign as our mothers are to us, we come from them, we have part of them in us, we are influenced by them, and it is our mothers’ love that carries us through life.
Without the love and support of a devoted mother, we would be so worse off. I hope they realize that.