I am driving my 14 year old son Daniel to his weights and conditioning class. He is still sleepy. I can tell because his forehead is wrinkled from trying to keep his eyes open. I am pretty sure he has anxiety over starting high school this fall. And also worries about freshman football: “will I be good…will I get hurt…am I going to get bigger…” All that stuff. But Daniel is one of my more reserved boys and isn’t going to say much about his worries to me.
Unlike his older sister whose every thought pretty much comes out her mouth.
She gets that from me. I don’t think all females are like this. God help us if that were true.
Which explains why words spill out my lips before I consider who my passenger is when I see these two fine looking smiling men holding political signs representing some person trying to get elected. I do not even register the position or the name of the candidate because I am busy waving and smiling at these model material males and saying in my sexiest voice “Oh I’m SO gonna vote for YOU and OH MY…YOU as well”.
I myself am now VERY wide awake on this morning and turn to my passenger expecting a high five and an ‘OH HELLS YEAH’ but then I remember that this is not my daughter but one of my five sons. Dan’s lips are flat lined and there is now an extra wrinkle in his forehead. One of his eyebrows is pointedly raised like it always is when he is mildly annoyed at how ridiculous something is.
Now. A good mother would have probably just stopped talking right then and there.
And so I say “Gosh. I wish I could just go into some kind of magical place for two weeks and have them take off a few layers of fat and transplant it to starving baby orphan whales and then at the same time slough off all my unbecoming rough skin and moles and marks and then maybe get a nice subtle spray tan. They’d probably first have to clip off some extra skin on account of the fat layers being gone. It takes a LOT of skin to cover all of THIS and saggy skin is NOT cool. I wonder if all of that would hurt? Maybe they could just knock me out for the whole two weeks. That way I could get some rest too. It would also be cool to get my eyelashes dyed and eyeliner tattoos. Because makeup just bites and I am finally realizing that I actually need to put it ON to look ok. Sucks. And maybe perhaps a little teeth whitening. Oh and my FEET: gawd my feet need help. And I’m while not really pro-cosmetic surgery (save for having layers of fat removed because I just don’t feel like exercising these days) it would be cool to know I had cheekbones under these robust cheeks. It just seems like a person should be able to get all of that done in two weeks. Really I can’t spare two weeks but if I could guarantee they would do ALL of that, well, I’d make time.”
Daniel turns and looks at me and I realize he was actually listening because I was using my outside voice.
Shit and whoops again.
“But then you would not look like you” he says to me.
And I suddenly wish I could just crawl inside this boy’s head and view what I look like from his perspective. This handsome young man of mine needs me to look like me and no one else.
I remember looking at my own mother as a young girl (before teen magazines, M-TV, commercials and other forms of media that destroy the “I am enough” mentality) and thinking she was so beautiful. And she was! I did not compare her to anyone else in terms of size, shape, hair/skin/eye color. She was just my mom: perfectly beautiful and designed to love me.
Is this the magic of being a mother? That when you are you from top to bottom you are pretty much perfect from every angle in the eyes of your child, simply because you look, feel, sound and smell like “my mom who loves me”?
How is it that I am just now realizing how f’ing fabulous this is?
Since the birth of my sixth born and last child, I have often found myself fighting the label of “mother of six”. I’m not sure why because it’s a pretty awesome thing to be a mother of six children. Being the mother of one to seventeen kids is awesome, but after that, well…you’re kinda stupid. I mean where the hell are you going to PUT eighteen or more kids?
It’s just that when I am introduced to people: “this is Heather, she has SIX KIDS (insert dramatic pause here)” as though I have some kind of crazy super power, I find myself being a little irked and often end up mentally elaborating about all my other attributes and accomplishments, mostly show-offy stuff, like: “Oh and also I finally got my dog to swim: I’m pretty much a dog whisperer” or “You should hear me sing in the bathtub: I totally rock the house down” or “Yes, and I look totally HOT in my bathing suit cover up.” I mean if I am going to be labeled as a crazy super power chick, I feel like I should at least add more reasons why to the resume.
Because, seriously? Giving birth to six babies wasn’t exactly all my doing. I had support from my husband, nurses, doctors and in one instance about twenty medical students filling the room all examining and tisking (I’m sure in total AWE) at my child bearing nether regions, as though there wasn’t an actual person attached. Oh and there were drugs. Wonderful drugs. So for heaven’s sake. Hello. No gold medal for this gal.
Same goes for growing them up. There is even more help once they are in the world. If I forget to feed them, usually SOMEONE in the village will. Thank goodness. And in terms of guidance, yes I am part of their moral cabinet, but so are their teachers, friends, and siblings (and other less ruthless family members). So I really can’t take much credit for a whole lot of their good stuff (or their bad stuff).
So I think “Well surely I need to do, be and look like MORE for the world. To make my mark, to build my world resume, to achieve greatness outside being a mother.” Which is what often gets me to musing out loud about transplanting my jiggly fat to baby orphan whales. And while it’s a loving and environmentally friendly thought to help the baby orphan whales, it’s just not very practical.
And here’s the thing: as I grow older and maybe moderately more mentally mature (note awesome alliteration) I am slowly starting to realize that all this striving for excellence outside of who I am and who I love kind of falls flat and unnecessary.
My kids just want me to be me. And they mostly think I’m awesome, which is a hell of a lot better than the rest of the world’s opinion. They don’t want me to be some other mother, or sexy movie star, or triathlete, or high paying upper level executive. (Other moms: if you happen to BE any or all of those things, I mean no insult, you are knocking it out of the park! Bravo! But damn girl: slow down and eat some CAKE!)
I don’t know what a mom-goddess LOOKS like but she is FOR SURE the chick to be. Because it feels wicked good to BE one: like a soft, squooshie, warm ball of beautifully loved-love.
I bet I smell like cookies too. Though probably only because I just ate one.
For the record Daniel didn’t actually SAY I am a mom-goddess. But I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant. So that basically means I AM one. I just am helping him fine-tune his outside words.
You’re welcome Daniel. And thank you.