Entries from March 1, 2008 - April 1, 2008
I’ve cursed my 15 year old son. He can be strong willed and tenacious and, like his mom, he is inclined to yell. I am convinced his temper is the result of my mother cursing me. In frustration she’d say, “I hope you have one just like you some day!” I could feel my DNA recombining even as the words spilled from her mouth.
One like me someday... I was a shy teenager, this boy while quiet, is very confident. I was a diligent A/B student; he is a dilettante A/B student. I never, ever played sports; he came out of the womb wearing a football helmet, hockey stick in one hand, baseball in the other. No surprise he was born by c-section.
He does have my kind heart, my passion about the things that matter to us. And... he has my temper. I am pretty sure that is what my mom was cursing me with, a child with the same stubbornness and annoying verbal dexterity that had I blessed her with. The kind of pig-headedness that makes you want to yell, cry in aggravation, and curse your kid with the age old mother's curse.
Like most woman of my generation, we want to go one better than our moms. So I do. When he is being difficult in a way that reflects his genetic gifting, I smile, climb on a chair, look him in the eye and utter the mother’s curse…super sized,” I hope you have triplets just like you some day”.
When I turned forty I decided I need a vice. Not a major vice like smoking, or wearing fur. A minor vice, something socially acceptable but not quite, quite. I took up drinking coffee and found a passion....the elixir of life.
A teetotaler from my teens, I remember trying to drink coffee in college. It seemed the sophisticated thing to do. While both my parents were coffee drinkers, my mom was convinced that coffee was very bad for children, and drinking it would stunt our growth. At least that is what she told all eight of her children. Looking back with the perspective of being a parent myself, I now think she didn’t want to share her coffee with all 8 of her children. I remember college coffee as a brown sludgy bitter drink. After a few tries I left coffee drinking behind and joined the ranks of discriminated against tea drinkers.
Back in the day, friends would gladly offer you a cup of coffee, but unless they really liked you, and kept an open dusty box of tea way back in the cupboard just for you, tea didn’t seem to reside in peoples homes. Even restaurants would bring brewed coffee at their patron’s request, but a tea drinker received a tea bag and a little pot of water and we had to brew our own drink. I was a happy, contented drinker of the then stepchild of hot beverages.
Until I turned forty, that is, and decided I need a vice. I stepped into my first Starbucks. With a fateful desire to try something different I ordered a mocha. With my first sip I knew what heaven would taste like, chocolate, coffee and whipped cream…perfection. That mocha was my introduction to the possibility that coffee might be enjoyable to drink. A few mochas later, emboldened by the desire to save some money at Starbuck’s, I ordered a plain cup of coffee with room for cream.
Now I am hooked. Our coffee-maker is taking up valuable counter space in the kitchen. I am fortunate I rarely have to make my a.m. coffee. I find it too difficult to make coffee in the morning before I have had some. Even though my husband no longer drinks coffee (he’s switched to tea) he still makes it for me. That's a good husband.
Most mornings I come downstairs with two goals in mind, that first cup of coffee, and to have a quiet time (Q.T.) of pray and devotional Bible reading.
Sweet elixir of life indeed.
I have four teenagers living in my home. I love my kids and I have been an excellent mother if I do say so myself. Since there are four of them and one of me, I often have to say so myself. Evidently according to those who claim to know best, I am an imperfect parent.
First off, I never listen. This charge is leveled often at me. There might be some truth to it. My accuser usually levels this charge of imperfect parenting after I have said no to whatever demand said child is making of me for the 3rd or 4th time. With four kids, while I try not to say no often, I wind up saying no often. I think I could get a hung jury on this one.
I have been told I tend to communicate by yelling. Again there is quite a bit of truth to this particular charge concerning my imperfect parenting. This one I have to plead 'No Contest' to….with extenuating circumstances (I am not a lawyer, by the way, though I do watch way too much Law and Order.) My children, while having normal hearing, are Mom deaf. If I ask them to do something in a normal tone of voice, said action will most likely not be accomplished. Hence, the yelling. A jury of my peers would no doubt convict and sentence me on a week long cruise to some place warm and sandy.
I am also accused of being cheap. I will not pay for dates, multiple expensive hair products, (Suave works for me), more than ten dollars worth of home snacks a week, gas, or over due library fines. I do pay for food, a reasonable clothing allowance, shelter, cell phones, car insurance and college. Case dismissed.
I am admittedly an imperfect parent. And I am perfectly fine with that.
I have always been a little nutty about coming home to a clean house after a family trip. The difference between a trip and vacation is kids. If the kids are coming, particularly little kids, I’m going on a trip. Trips involve some level of work. Family trips with little kids involves all the normal work done in a place where none of their stuff is in its normal place. While trips are fun, there is nothing restful about toting kids anywhere over night. Hence, we went on a lot family trips as opposed to family vacations. Vacations, at least in my mind, involve a rest from work and a chance to relax from daily responsibilities. After our trips, I need to come home to order and calm.
That means the kids and I would clean and clean before we left. If I could manage it, there would be no dirty clothes in the hamper, no dishes in the sink, beds would be made and rooms orderly, if not down right clean. The longer our trip the cleaner the house had to be before we left. As the children got older they were expected to aid in my pre-trip cleaning fits.
They never quite understood the frenzy and it did make going away stressful. My oldest has moved out and now has a place of his own. He had his first visit home as an “adult” for. A free agent, able to make his own decision, he told me with not a little glee he left dirty dishes in the sink and didn't take out the garbage before he left.
Hee, hee, hee...unfortunately for him, my son had a four week delay getting back to his place. Four weeks of dirty dishes and smelly garbage in the 100 square feet he calls home.
Mama always knows best.