...I'm sometimes pretty unenthusiastic, even though it's my favorite sight in the world 99 percent of the time. However, last night as I tucked him in my son said "Mom? Can you leave out some pretty paper? And also a pencil and safety scissors? Oh, and don't get up early."
(No one ever said he was a master at secrecy.)
So I did as I was told, and when I cracked open one eye this morning, to see much surreptitious tiptoeing and peeking, I stayed "asleep." Then I actually did fall back asleep, and when I awoke I was covered in Mother's Day spoils: He'd come back in to put my card, another card he made and a present (a recipe book he wrote himself, with ants on a log, cowboy cookies, edible nests and at least a dozen others) on top of me.
Later in the morning, I also got this ------------>
There were only a few hundred aphids on it.
I have the best kid.
I rarely, however, feel like the best mom. I spend too much time online. I'm not a good housekeeper. I'm not that great at feigning interest in video games or endless games of tag. He's wearing second-stringer shorts right now because I neglected to throw in a load of laundry.
But I'm hopeful I'll develop into a pretty decent mother. I had, after all, an awesome example.
You know how everyone says it will come?
"You just wait," they say in resigned tones, as the inevitable event has apparently come to pass for all but me. "You'll wake up one day and realize you've totally become your mother."
I'm still waiting. When? When do I get to be my mother? It can't be as inevitable as all that. It seems pretty evitable to me. I'd LOVE to turn into my mother. I'd love to be good with bills. Keep a clean house. Get people to freaking listen to me without feeling like my head will implode. Remember that the littlest things are the biggest things.
My mom not only did everything a mother does, and at least made it look easy, she did it by herself for several years. After my dad passed away, she was mother and father, disciplinarian and buddy, the parent who says "What were you thinking?" and the one who pretends to turn a blind eye. When my own first Mother's Day rolled around, she not only made sure I got a card "from" my son, she got me one on Father's Day too, as I was "both mother and father" to my son at the time. I appreciated it so much, but I never really thought about how she was both for so long. And she didn't have herself helping out and reassuring her.
When I was still flying solo, my son was a baby. He was difficult sometimes, and I was clueless. But he ate. Pooped. Slept. Pooped. Cried. And pooped. That was about it. He didn't even stray from where I put him until he was pretty old, since motor skills (or lack thereof) in our family ensure we're nearing puberty before we can walk.
When my mom was on her own, we were pre-teens and teenagers. We argued. We devised schemes to get around the draconian, horrible world she had created wherein we actually had to do our share. I crashed a school dance and rode home in a wildly careening car driven by a crazed friend. I crashed (in the literal sense) my own car on the third day of owning it. My brother flipped a car going about 90 miles an hour. My sister ... well, my sister was pretty much perfect. But she was annoying sometimes.
My mom was always ... there. Always. Now that I've been around the block of supposed adults a time or two, I'm starting to realize that's incredibly rare.
One of the most peculiar things about becoming a mother is the shift in identity. You become so-and-so's mom. I'm at about half-and-half right now. People still know I love critters. I'm a writer. I'm terrible with directions. I'm a better driver now, but I used to be pretty awful. I hate cilantro. I'm keenly interested in politics. I love sci-fi and know an embarrassing amount about the Dune universe. But more and more, I'm losing these things as definers of me, even if they're still parts of me. I'm David's mom. I'm the one who makes cookies, buys Bakugan toys, prefers SpongeBob to Patrick and can believably voice most of the characters in a Harry Potter reading. I love being these things, probably even more than "just" being me. Being a mom has become the biggest definer of me, and I like it that way. But it makes me think: If that's "me" after just seven years, how many cool things do people probably not know about my mom?
My mom is amazing, quite apart from her ability to put up with me.
- She's the best improviser that I know. She can make anything from anything. Crooked mailbox post, animals in need of a place to feed/hide, messed up wiring, missing ingredients for dinner -- she doesn't have "training" in home improvement, carpentry, or cooking, but the lady's like MacGyver.
- She's a fervent environmentalist, a card-carrying member of Greenpeace, and one of the best appreciators of the natural world ever. I like to think it's where I get it.
- She does not like to be startled.
- The Navy was interested in her at one point.
- Her views on faith are among the most nuanced, and at the same time strongest, that I know.
- She's almost always the one behind the camera. (I plan to work harder at turning the tables.)
- She's a great editor. She can spot a grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistake from space.
- She really does not like to be startled.
- She loves to watch CSI, Without a Trace, Cold Case and the like. However, she has a hard time remembering characters' identities and who's done what, so if they rerun an episode after a span of a month or more, it's a whole new show for her. This is a source of much amusement and teasing from my brother and me.
- She was way shorter than my dad, and unless she "cheated" he'd pose by clamping his arm down/ around her.
- She was a badminton champion in high school, as well as a kick-ass archer.
- She pretty much totally hates being startled.
- She graduated top of the class when our town held a citizens' police academy. No one was surprised.
- She was a children's basketball coach for years.
- She's a pretty big Trekkie. Especially TNG. Patrick Stewart would probably be on her "list," though possibly in character, since when we saw him in a movie, she told me "Hey! Picard's the bad guy in this one!"
- Speaking of the "list," Tom Selleck would be there too. She used to have a big Magnum, P.I. poster in her closet.
- She published an excellent article on Circlestone in the Superstition Mountains. (Something that I have yet to do, though I was on the trip too. Who's the writer again?)
- She absolutely, forever and always, unreservedly and completely for all of her days, eternally and as long as time shall stand, despises being startled.
- She totally, unabashedly loves John Denver.
- If you are ever in any kind of emergency situation, she is the very first person you want by your side.
- She loves chimes and clocks. Our house was a lovely cacophony growing up. (Well, the cacophony provided by the clocks and chimes was lovely, anyway.)
- She is an excellent bowler. I take bowling just a tad too seriously thanks to her tutelage, but those lessons are also the only reason I routinely make it to triple digits.
- We startled her regularly growing up. OK, we still do. Sometimes. It's just too easy.
I've left out tons. But hopefully you get a piece of the picture. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.