Being a mom is not an easy job. From the beginning it can be daunting…..I read EVERY “What to Expect” book there was. I still had no clue what to do when somehow nursing didn’t come easy, (both Joe Cool and The Genius) or why my baby screamed in the swing that was supposed to soothe him (The Genius), or what to do when my baby was so colicky and cried and cried from 7-9 pm EVERY night for his first 5 weeks of life (Joe Cool).
You can read the books, and follow their advice, and talk to friends, and try their ideas, but at the end of the day, there is NO parenting manual that covers every scenario, and to be honest, parenting is really just flying by the seat of your pants, and praying and hoping it works.
I have always done what felt right, and hoped it would work out in the end, and these boys would turn out to be “okay”. My deepest desire has always been for my children (birth and step) to be happy, healthy, responsible adults, who contribute to society and care about the world in which they live, and the people in their lives. The oldest two have moved out, and seem to be accomplishing that, (for the most part), although like most young adults they still need Mom “guidance” and they call Karol regularly to talk things over with her.
So, now that the younger two are 17 and 15 and I look back over the years, I can see that there have been plenty of mom “fails” or less than stellar moments. Like the time I left The Genius at church. (yes I really did that..I will tell that story another day).
Or the time I was called in to the Principal’s office when Joe Cool was in third grade (three times in the same month) because he 1) helped a kid eat his pudding by pushing the spoon which scratched the kid’s throat, 2) playing leap frog when a kid wasn’t expecting it (knocking the kid down), 3) pushing a kid who was calling him a “vanilla cupcake”, (another story for another day).
Or the time that The Genius decided to say a “bad” word (damn) quite loudly during a quiet moment at church.
Or the time I “forgot” a kid.
Or the time the security officer at Sea World found me to let me know he “could” arrest my son (Joe Cool) because he spit on an employee. (They were on the Manta ride at Sea World, which is a ride where you “lay down”, and Brandon bet Joe Cool, he couldn’t spit and hit something on the ground……the employee walked by just at the wrong moment……)
How could they pass an opportunity to spit on the ground from the ride???
Yes those moments are moments I shake my head, and wonder what I did wrong….
And when you are about to question every decision you ever made, and just resign yourself to the fact that you are a horrible parent things like this happen:
I walked into our local Starbucks on Saturday am on my way to a swim meet in which The Genius was competing. This is the Starbucks where Joe Cool works.
As I was waiting for my drinks, the lead Barista walked over to me, (most of them know I am Joe Cool’s mom), and said, “Hi, I just wanted to let you know that Joe Cool is a very nice kid. You did a great job with him. He is polite, and works hard, and always does what he is told. I really enjoy working with him. I know most parents don’t hear about their kids doing good things, and I thought you would like to know that he is a great kid.”
WOW!!! I was bowled over and felt something well up inside me that felt awesome, and warm, and a bit bubbly. I think it was pride and joy that my kid had “turned out” okay.
That really made my day…….. and then an even more amazing thing happened.
I had to back to Starbucks that evening because Joe Cool was working, and I needed to swap vehicles with him. I was standing and waiting for him to get his keys, and one of the adults who work there walked over to me and said, “By the way, I just wanted you to know that I really like Joe Cool. He is a good worker, and is always funny. He plays sometimes, but he is young and that is to be expected, but you should know that he is a really good kid, and you did a great job raising him.”
To be honest, at that point I wondered if Starbucks was doing a “say something nice about employees” thing. That somehow the management had said , “If a person’s relative walks in, especially if it is their mom, make sure you say nice things about their kid”, or something like that. Or maybe I was being “Punk’d” and any minute the camera crew would walk out from the back…. No really, I thought this…..
Of course as soon as I thought that I realized it was as ludicrous as you probably thought when you just read it, but seriously??? To hear great things about your kid TWICE in the same day???
It is a bit over whelming…..
(If you doubt that, you might want to re-read the parts about the principals office and what we refer to as “The Sea World Incident.”)
So my weekend was made by these two random people. Who said such nice things about my kid, and thereby about me and my parenting skills.
That Mom “Win” made the fails, and questionable decisions fade away, and was a moment to revel in….
And then the next day he left all of my windows and moon roof of my car open overnight when we had monsoon like rains, and I had ponds on the floorboards of my car, and the seats were soaked through……
Oh well…..at least I had one day to bask in my mom glory……