Thursday, August 6, 2009

Put them all together they spell MOTHER...

I swore in front of God and everyone that I would never have kids. Never. Not ever. My mantra was always, “No kids, no pets, clean house”. I am not a nurturer. I don’t even live in the same zip code as patient, and, well, I just hate sticky. So how did I end up with two children and three dogs? Good question.

Thinking back on my adamant refusal to reproduce, I have wondered why I felt such horror at the thought of being a parent. It turns out that I didn’t have to look very far to find my answer. I believe it all goes back to my own parents. Now, if I was the forgiving sort (and I’m not), I might think twice about revealing what I believe to be true about their thoughts on children. By witnessing their actions and my own recollection of my childhood, I know that my parents thought that raising children was nothing more than a heavy cross that all adults must bear. The Bible told them so. It was akin to being on the chain gang. You get eighteen years of hard labor with each child, and you mark the days off the calendar with a big, red “X”, counting down to the day the kid leaves the nest, and you are free. Here’s the secret every parent knows…you are NEVER free.

Now, don’t feel sorry for me. I know my parents loved me. And although my father never spoke those words to me once in his lifetime, I’m sure he felt it. And my mother, come to think of it, didn’t publicly profess her love until I needed emergency surgery at twelve. I think she just wanted to make sure all her bases were covered. You know, in case I didn’t make it. They did, however, give me anything I wanted, and let me run amok to my heart’s content. Which, looking back on it now, was probably not such a good idea and goes a long way towards explaining my complete self-centeredness and affinity for alcohol and bad boys.

For years I held tight to the idea that I would grow old never experiencing the trials and tribulations of parenthood, and I was fine with that. But after nine years of marriage and more fun than I should admit to here, I had an epiphany. I was sitting at a bar (as usual), and a clear thought formed in my mind: “Is this all there is to life?” At that moment, I knew that working a job I hated all week and partying away my life every weekend wasn’t making me happy. I decided that I needed to either go back to school to find a career that fulfilled me, or have children. It was as simple as that. And, since I really hate to take tests and read textbooks…well, you get the picture.

I desperately love my children. Hell, I brought BOTH of them into this world without so much as a Goody Powder coursing through my veins. That’s some hardcore love right there. And don’t let some male doctor fool you into believing the urban myth that you forget the pain of childbirth. Oh no, my friend. Why do you think there are nearly five years between my children? It took me that long to muster the courage to endure the pain of what I can only describe to you as what it must feel like when a watermelon passes slowly through your nostril. It’s not pretty.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am no June Cleaver. I don’t do brownies or school fundraisers. I’m the mom with crazy hair, pants just this side of being too tight, and a serious attitude problem. I have issues with authority figures, and I tell my children that life isn’t fair, so get used to it.

But here is my saving grace. My kids know that I would stand in front of a bullet to protect them, and that my heart soars when I see them after being away for even just the day. They know that I am their safe port in a storm, and that I will always let them watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” as many times as they want as long as they promise not to swear like Ferris and Cameron. They are my life, and I know they are secure in that knowledge.

Sometimes, being the Perfect Mom isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. I’m not afraid for my kids to know that every now and then, life is hard and Mommy needs a deep breath, long shower and a little cabernet to retain her sanity.

We’ll get through this life together, and, if they promise not to tell, Mommy might just let them have cold pizza and lemonade for breakfast - two days in a row.

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