I loooooved being a mom when my kids were 10 and under.I was the unrivaled hero in their lives. My middle daughter once presented me with a crayon drawing scribbled with “There are many pritty things in life, but you are the prittiest of all.”
My youngest daughter asked me to marry her at Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. When he was six, my son asked me to drive him to and from college so that he could keep on living at home, with me, forever.
Ah, the sweetness of early motherhood!
Enjoy now, my fellow moms! Because all this adulation will come to a screeching halt, on one single day, when each of your kids is between 10 and 14.
Now, my primary role in life, beyond being a 24/7 cash machine and a chauffeur, is to be the object of endless Mom jokes and the whipping girl for all life’s perceived cruelties.
The same daughter who thought I was “the prittiest of all” now begs me to blow dry my hair, apply full makeup, and run my wardrobe by her before I set foot in her school.
“Because you are SO EMBARRASSING, MOM!” she explains while texting something into her iPhone.
The same daughter told me the other day, sobbing, that growing up in our family was so hard. I held her, brushed her hair off her face, offered tender consolation. Until she added, “Because of you, Mom.”
My 16-year-old son dons a sardonic, rueful smile when confronted with how dumb I am, on every subject from how much time it takes to get to the airport to whether Michael Jordan is a better basketball player than LeBron James (MJ! MJ! MJ!).
My younger daughter, the one who once wanted to marry me, recently announced gravely over breakfast (a delicious concoction I had created and brought to her) that because of me, she hadn’t ridden a roller coaster in over a year.
One of the kids’ favorite discussion topics is the shape of my butt. Need I say more?
It is my fault that my daughter thinks her nose is too big. It is my fault that my son doesn’t know how to load a dishwasher. It is my fault that the 11-year-old didn’t start gymnastics training until it was too late to make the 2016 Olympic team.
Once or twice, between tirades, I have managed to slip in “Did you play any role in this at all?”
The response is pure astonishment. How could I blame THEM for something so obviously NOT THEIR FAULT? As if!
I have also tried to point out that I once felt the same way about my own mother. And that their friends probably feel similarly about their mothers.
The response? Peals of laughter.
“No way, Mom! You are the worst mother on the planet!”
As if this is funny. As if — of course I already know this, it is so obvious!
And it is kind of funny. Because, fortunately, I remember exactly how much I despised my own movie-star-gorgeous-Radcliffe-educated-PTA-president-goddess-mother when I was 14.
Even the way her skin smelled was enough to gag me.
Until I was about 25. Then sanity returned as abruptly as it had originally vanished.
For the ensuing two years, I bought my mother small, lavishly-thoughtful presents every time I saw her, to try to apologize for how awful I had been to her for more than a decade.
I realized, again, that she was a wonderful mom. She had a few flaws of course, but essentially she was a smart, generous, beautiful woman who would lie down in front of a Metro bus to save my life. By that point in life, I knew there weren’t a whole lot of people who would do that. That she was kind of special. OK, maybe priceless. And I once again liked the way she smelled, kind of lemony. Nice.
I try to remember all this as my kids laugh at me as I walk by.