Last night I sat in my basement family room, listening to classical music and the sounds of my three youngest children’s plugged-in games in the background, brooding over my unfortunate circumstances. I was at home, while Superman and my second son were watching my oldest son play football in Blacksburg, VA. Someone had to stay back—at least according to Superman—so the younger three could make their various sports practices. He looked me square in the face the night before and said, “I would really like to go to Blacksburg.”
Both of us wanted to go to go Blacksburg. It hadn’t crossed my mind to not go. I hadn’t missed a game all season. I felt it my divinely appointed obligation to attend and I was willing to shaft my other kids to do it. I thought it okay to pull younger siblings from their practices early and drive the hour to at least see half of the game. But, Superman wouldn’t have it. He said the other kids deserve for us to take their sports seriously, too. He said if I wasn’t willing to stay behind, he would.
Of course I wasn’t going to deny him. Isn’t that my job? Make sure no one is denied? (Can you say, inviting bitterness?) And, here’s the rub: I am the one who gave birth to our son. I am the one who labored and delivered this now hulking, 6’2”, 240 lb., fourteen year-old boy from my womb—with no epidural, by the way–and nursed him at my breast, through the pain, sleepless nights, colic…. I think you get the idea. Shouldn’t that win me the trump card to pull now fourteen years later when choices have to be made as to who gets to go and who has to stay behind?
It is the funny conundrum with motherhood. The one who probably deserves the most perks with her position (whatever ‘deserves’ means), ends up with very few, if any; and somehow often finds herself owing perks to the very people she daily keeps afloat (ahem…did I mention the word, bitter?)
So, anyway. There I was. Sitting on my couch, nursing my wounds with a cup of half-caf coffee, journal open, pen flying across the pages vomiting the many transgressions of my spouse.
That is when I heard the sounds of a cartoon so young and sweet; transporting me back ten years to the days of Nick Jr. and sandy-haired boys with big toddler heads, wide-eyed and talking to the television. But how odd, I thought, to be hearing Curious George. No toddlers in this house anymore! I turned and glanced to the kids’ quarter of the room and there was my third son—ten years old–sitting cross-legged in our old, half-leather, maroon recliner; iPad in his lap, completely consumed by the naughty monkey pretending to be a doctor and causing grief to the man in the yellow hat (one of my favorite Curious George stories as a child).
Holy innocence. Holy moment.