Who knew that all I had to do was ask. Be direct. Say something as simple as "Look at that sign, an hour massage for $49.99. I've never had a massage. That would be a wonderful Mother's Day gift." And poof! I get a certificate for a massage for the Natural Health Clinic and Day Spa.
I like this being direct business. It's a shame it's taken me this long to figure it out.
But that's not really what I wanted to write about this morning. I wanted to first express gratitude to the guy who made me a mother, the children to whom I am a mother and to anyone who's ever thought about me "what a mother........" Thank you.
Last night the house filled up with a smart set of talented, gorgeous and witty teens who'd come together to celebrate The Dancer's birthday. As I've mentioned before, this is a group of young adults who are more likely to overindulge in Lipton's Green Tea with Citrus than Jack Daniels. Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll? Um, no. This crowd is is more likely to break out into bouts of competitive tap dancing and show tunes.
Nevertheless, I hung around the house as the "adult" supervision while MathMan took Garbo to see the Hannah Montana movie. Occasionally one of the party-goers would come in and talk to me. One of them asked me if I was torn up about The Dancer going away to school. The honest answer is no. I mean, I'm going to miss her and it's going to be strange to not have her come home in the evenings to sit on the floor of the office and recount the highlights and lowlights of her day, but torn up? Nope. Kids are supposed to grow up and away from us. Or at least that's been the tradition in my family.
I once asked my mother why it bothered her that one set of inlaws in the family were so close-knit. There was a long-standing, but friendly, rivalry between my parents and this other set of parents - especially regarding grandchildren.
The Big R explained that she thought it odd that this inlaw's parents raised their kids to remain dependent on them, cloaking it in a sunny attitude of being "close-knit." Back then I sort of got what The Big R was saying, but I also wondered if there might be a happy medium?
It's that happy medium that I hope we've created for our children. MathMan and I try to be available for them physically and emotionally while making it clear that they are not us and we are not them. I tell my kids when I've had enough of them. Their ability to ignore me tells me the same.
Being part of a family means that much of your interaction consists of boring exchanges of necessary information and, as such, often fall into the category of someone asking something of you. Do this, give me that, hand me a, I need, will you please, don't forget, when will you, and on and on and on.........
It's clear to me, though, that I have used a modified version of The Big R's parenting philosphy in raising my own kids. Where she wasn't excessively warm and demonstrative, I have been. I hug and kiss my kids alot. I tell them I love you and offer words of praise when warranted. That was not The Big R's style, but that's okay. I don't feel like her style really harmed me in any way. I do think, though, that it made me want to be more demonstrative with my own kids so if they benefit from it, maybe that's in the score column after all.
I am never going to be the kind of mama who tells you her life revolves around her kids. I will tell you that they are a pain in my ass, a nuisance and totally inconvenient. I figure I had a life before I became a mother and I'm going to have a life after my kids have moved on to their own lives, so why not have a life of my own now, too? I'd hate to get out of practice.
Don't take that to mean that I don't love them. I'm crazy about them. But I cannot tolerate kid-centric home for very long before I need to erect Les Nessman walls, go off duty or hide in the Quiet Room.
It's a kid's job to put the monkey on someone else's back before trying to do something on their own, you know. Well, unless we're talking about vidoe games, flame-throwers and joy rides on the riding lawnmower. Then they are McGuyver.
Thinking of The Big R, though, I'm reminded that one must be careful what you wish for. She wanted us to independent, right? Back when she forced me to go away to college against my will, the Big R must not have anticipated that I might never move back to my hometown. Years later, after I'd married a guy from Chicago, moved to the city and started my own life, she started to fuss at me for being so far away. Then we moved to a tiny village in Georgia. This was the ultimate insult. "If you want to live in a small town, why don't you move back home?" The Big R asked, half-jokingly I assumed.
I mumbled something about loving the weather in the Deep South and dropped the subject. Someday I may find that I have to travel great distances to see my own kids and that will be just what I deserve, right? My only hope in that regard is that they have adequate space for me and MathMan to come visit and that they have the smarts to live in interesting places. France would be nice. I like Washington, DC. I'm not opposed to summers in Chicago........
Anyway, I owe a thank you to my mother for setting a good example. She may not have been a hugger, but she did show us that a mother can also be an elected official, a volunteer, a 4-H leader, a councilwoman and a myriad of other things that I understand better now as an adult and a mother myself. Mostly she juggled like the rest of us and she did a pretty good job at it. I better tell her so.
Which reminds me. I'd better call The Big R while she's still speaking to me. I understand that my brother The Chief of Police is having lunch with her and Dad. Now that I'm friends with both my siblings on Facebook and I know The Chief of Police has been reading this blog, who knows how mad The Big R will be at me.
Because there's one thing I know for sure about my family, the dynamic doesn't change no matter how old we are. If there's an opportunity to rat out a sibling - Darling Sis and/or The Chief of Police are going to take it.
Me? I just blog about it........
Happy Mothers Day to all of you who have mothered.