Monday, April 7, 2008

What My Kids Will Remember

My kids have the charming ability to remember most clearly the worst of their mom. They claim I always yell, always criticize, and never make anything good for dinner.

Our little Roscoe spent his first two years in nearly unbroken peace and serenity. He liked things consistent and calm, and since he was the firstborn, that's what he got. Once when he was about 2, we were all driving in the car. For some reason I was annoyed Mark and snapped, "Oh, just stop it!" (Sorry, Mark!) For the rest of the trip Roscoe sat in the backseat parroting, "Just stop it! Just stop it!" My momentary lapse definitely stuck in his memory more than the dozens of kind words I said that night.

My mother was a paragon of having-her-stuff-together when I was growing up--no schlepping around in faded yoga pants for her! Yet I remember vividly her pre-church, Sunday morning outfit: Black stockings with peep-toe blue slippers; black slip peeking out from the hem of her bathrobe; wild frizzy hair in a mid-point between shower and coif; raccoon eyes from yesterday's mascara. Like I say, for 99.5% of my childhood she was perfectly made-up--which is perhaps why her Sunday-morning get-up sticks in my memory.

(For the record, this was her clever strategy for getting 6 kids to church on time: Mom gets up, showers, and dresses with everything except dress and shoes. She would wear the slippers and robe while she got our breakfast, got little ones dressed, and did her own hair and makeup. Then at the last second she'd switch the robe for her dress and walk out the door looking like a million bucks--and with no kid snot or breakfast on her dress.)

So in the spirit of remembering the unflattering outliers of maternal behavior, here's what my children will really remember:

* Mom's white garment tails bunching above her back waistband.
* Mom shrieking, "Get your shoes on and get in the CAR!"
* Mom holding up a palm and saying coldly, "I"ll look forward to seeing you in the morning."
* Mom stumbling downstairs in the morning in her XXL pink polka-dot pajamas.
* Mom wailing from behind the bathroom door, "Can't you just let me go to the bathroom in peace? It only takes me two minutes!"
* Mom shooting icy glares of death at the 200th person who comes in the kitchen, looks at all the food in plain view on the counters, and asks, "What's for dinner?"

On the other hand, I think my children totally fail to recognize my comic genius. My mother would never have done the following:

* Fall to the ground writhing and moaning when Levi announced that someone in his kindergarten class doesn't like Krispy Kreme donuts.
* Stand outside Logan's bedroom door so that when he opened it, he found his mother dancing wildly, High School Musical style, to the music he was playing inside. He shrieked and slammed the door shut, but when he opened it again a minute later, there I was shakin' it like Sharpay.
* Tell Logan, "If you're gonna rock, it's gotta be loud," while turning up the amp on his electric guitar.
* Burst into comically overwrought (almost) fake tears when someone spills milk on the floor--again.
* Give rock history lessons in the van.
* Finally, when the 201st person asks "What's for dinner?" respond, "A knuckle sandwich and a side of Hawaiian punch."

It's a fine line: Sometimes we could definitely use some more June Cleaver decorum around here, and I need to remember that my kids aren't responsible to ensure my needs are met. On the other hand, I want them to see that I'm an actual person who deserves some consideration while I dole out the solutions to their needs.


  1. Is this a re-post?? Or am I having a deja-vu?

  2. I totally remember the Sunday morning outfit of Mom's. And you're right - it was genius come to think of it. And I totally wonder if the main things my kids will remember is my G's hanging out the back of my shirt and my oversized PJ's. And I love to react to drama tears with some of my own. You've got some very good points thrown in with all those fun memories too. Like that the thought of Mom in Yoga pants is laughable and maybe we "modern" moms should take a lesson from that.

  3. So well said! I wonder what my kids will remember?

  4. You sound like a fun mom. Sometimes I tell my kids we're having monkeybrains and fish eyes for dinner.

  5. It's like you're speaking straight to my soul, lady.

    Lately it's been all about "Daddy, daddy, daddy." "Why don't you go to work so daddy can stay home with us?"

    Why indeed?