I’m telling you, it’s not what you think. Let me explain. My youngest daughter recently went on an “outdoor education” field trip with her class. Upon her return, I found these drawings in her backpack.
ME: “So…umm…you made these on your field trip?”
HER: “Yeah, we had to draw what we saw in nature.”
ME: “Oh. Huh. Soooo you saw….”
HER: “A crane fly! The first one I drew didn’t look that much like a crane fly but the second one really does, don’t you think?”
ME: “Yes! YES, it DOES! That’s EXACTLY what it looks like!”
Parenting. One small heart attack at at time.
Those are not my real boobs. Let me explain. It was the first day of kindergarten for my youngest child and I arrived at the classroom to pick her up at the end of the day. All of the children were running up to their parents proudly displaying their new drawings of flowers, hearts and animals.
My daughter thrust her picture into my face, beaming, “It’s you and me!”
I looked down at the picture. Of boobs. Really, really big boobs. Yes, MY little artist didn’t draw hearts or flowers…she drew an EXTREMELY inaccurate depiction of her mommy for all the world to see.
“Wow!” I said. “Just…wow!”
Laughing to myself during the drive home, I was imagining the teacher probably thought Dolly Parton was coming to pick up this child. I bet she was a little surprised when it was just me and my B-cups that strolled through the classroom door that afternoon.
I love this drawing because it is a reminder of how our children can view us so differently than we view ourselves. Look at me here…my boobs are perky, my hair is thick and bouncy, I have a perfect, tiny nose, and my smile is bright.
I mean, really, I’ve never looked better. And if that’s how my daughter chooses to see me, I will treasure it forever. 🙂
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Why is there a gigantic bear in the back seat of my car? Because it’s hard when your kids grow up. Let me explain…
Four years ago, our family relocated from suburban Southern California to a small, rural island in the Pacific Northwest. Since moving here, we’ve done a family outing to Costco one Saturday a month, an off-island excursion that is fairly exciting for these parts.
The five of us pile into the car, and we talk, tease, fight about what music to play, and generally annoy each other during the 45 minute drive. But it’s actually just nice having all of us together in one little space when we spend so much of our week going in different directions.
We have a pretty precise system. First, we spend like $8.00 to feed all of us lunch at the food court, the best deal in town. Then we hit up every sample table like all the other Costco crazies, waiting in line to get 3 pieces of popcorn in a paper cup, a quarter of a piece of toast, or a shot size swig of juice.
Today, we needed to make a Costco run for the first time since our oldest child left for college. So now there were only two kids in our back seat that had always been filled with three. And it felt a little empty.
So we did what any logical people would do. We bought a 5 foot tall teddy bear at Costco, buckled him into our college daughter’s seat and texted her a photo of her replacement.
Well, that’s not exactly true. My 15-year-old son has been wanting to buy his little sister that bear for months. And I kept saying, “We have no room for a giant bear. No.No. And no.”
But today that ridiculous giant stuffy was on sale for TWENTY-FIVE BUCKS. And if there’s one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a crazy deal at Costco. Even a 5 foot tall deal that will take up half my daughter’s room.
So the kids are happy. I got a deal. The car is full again. It worked out. Let me introduce you to Herman Wiener MacDonald. My 9-year-old named him. Don’t ask.
See this kid? The one with the long, silky blond hair and full cheeks? He’s 15 now. The hair is dark and cropped short. The cheeks are angular, with stubble much of the time, as he mostly ignores my reminders to shave. The smiling blue eyes are the same, though the smiles aren’t gifted to me quite as often as they were back then.
I used to piggyback this boy up the stairs to bed. He towers over me now. After years of listening to his high-pitched squeals during lightsaber duels, it often startles me when I hear the deep, booming voice that comes out of his mouth now.
He is my one son, sandwiched between two girls. I’ve learned some things, raising this boy.
Boys are loud. Boys are messy. Boys are smelly.
Boys are sensitive. Boys are thoughtful. Boys are protective, especially of their moms.
The most unexpected thing I’ve learned? Boys are so, so sweet.
I’m not gonna lie. 15 is tough. Tough to be, and tough to parent, especially in this day and age. When my kids became teenagers, I had to tell them things like, “Please don’t smoke, drink, take pills, have sex, or cyber-bully anyone.” When I became a teenager in the 80’s, my mom told me things like, “Please don’t bring your Cabbage Patch doll to the dinner table.” True story.
You know, when your kids are little, all you want is for them to leave you alone for five minutes. Then come the teenage years and suddenly, they leave you alone for too long.
The eyes are rolled, the doors are slammed, the walls are up.
And through those walls, sometimes it’s hard to see that sweet little boy.
The one who snuggled me the most.
The one who held my hand the longest.
I come downstairs one morning and on the kitchen counter is a piece of coffee cake. The very last piece. With a sticky note on top, that says, in terrible handwriting, “Save for Mom”.
He knows it’s my favorite.
There’s that sweet boy.
Another time, I overhear my 9 year old daughter being rude to him.
I interject: “Stop being mean to your brother!”
“It’s ok,” he says. Then, turning to his sister: “Even when you’re mean to me, you’re still my favorite person.”
And so, through the throes of teenage angst, I hold onto those glimpses. Of the sweet little boy he was, and of the good man he is becoming.
Not long ago, he randomly announced to my husband and I something I won’t soon forget. He said, “Do you realize that one day you’ll pick up your kid and it will be the last time that you do? But you won’t know it then.”
I’m glad I wasn’t aware of the last time I picked him up.
Because it would have broken me a little to put him down.
This boy of mine may not hold my hand any longer, but no matter how big he gets, he will always, always, hold my heart.