I’ve been a tiny bit under the weather of late. See Also: no posts, no social media, lots of feeling cruddy. A virus funk that had the makings of Swine flu nailed me, then decided to give the gift that keeps on giving – Shingles. Who knew the fun?! (Not.)
I rarely get sick. And getting sick as a mom – well, it’s not like the days BK (Before Kids) when you could exit life and snuggle into bed with a remote control close by and ample opportunity for silence when desired. Any bed snuggling these days or quiet is almost non-existent. Just stealing away is a feat in and of itself. But I tried. The sneaking off to my room was always interrupted with drink requests, referee appeals, solution requirements, so many things. Then the kids, at least my few that are still in the young category, couldn’t stop themselves from coming to sit by Mom on the bed. And once the cover is blown, all of the kids, and sometimes their friends, keep trickling in. And, then they would change the station from whatever sappy movie that might have momentarily stolen my thoughts from all the misery to NickToons noise.
Do they not know how bad I feel?
Probably not. Because, to them I’m Mom.
But during one moment alone, I watched a little Notting Hill. Hugh Grant, who played an owner of a travel-book store, & Julia Roberts, who played mega movie star, make an unlikely pair until she explains at the end of the film that apart from fame, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Cue the tears. So sweet. Run after her, Hugh … She’s just a girl. Regular underneath it all.
I think moms feel that way, too. Despite the super-hero, despite all the hats we wear, despite keeping every plate spinning, smiling, encouraging, staying one step ahead … we are just people. Sometimes, I want remind my kids … I’m just a person. When I’m sick, I’m just a person like you who doesn’t want anyone to touch her – because it hurts. I’m just a person. And, by the way, I do have feelings.
I thought about that, the feelings thing, yesterday as I headed out to the grocery store. “Who’s coming with me?” I asked the three able bodies close by.
“Just one. Who’s it going to be?” I asked again. My girls shot each other a not-me glare and the boy pretended not to hear.
Eventually the stand-off ended by a daughter loud-sighing, “Fine. I’ll go!” Then she loudly exited and made her way to the car.
On the ride to the store, I turned to her. “You know. It’s not much fun having you help when you so clearly don’t want to. I’d almost rather go alone.” Then I added just to let her know, “Guess what? I don’t want to go either. I’m just a person, too. Do you think this trip to the store is making my day?”
She just looked at me. I think they forget we’re people.
Earlier in the day, picking up afternoon carpool, a different kid got into the car holding a stack of books – just regular, fun to read books, taken to school to read during down time after State testing.
As she got in the car, I commented, “So, you took three books to read?”
“Yeah,” she replied. “But, I didn’t need them all. I finished one, but wanted to have a couple more.”
“J.I.C?” I said.
“What?” She looked at me like I was a whacko.
“J.I.C.” I nodded my head, like I was cool and shot her a little, you-know wink.
Still looking at me weird.
“J.I.C…. You, know Just In Case.” I could have been even cooler with a hashtag preceding my acronym.
“Uh … That’s not something.”
“Yes it is.”
In slight disgust, she reiterated, “No it isn’t.”
“Oh it is…” I nod. “It’s something because I said it. Yep – that makes it something.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Hey – I’m a person. My voice matters.” I got the same response that night in the kitchen with I said, “J.J. – Just Joking.” to something I had said. They winced as they informed me, “It’s J.K.” I tried to tell them that it could be JJ, too.
I am embarrassing.
And then, in my last carpool of the day, while taking a daughter to her small group Bible study, a old song came on the radio. It was an 80’s number that I loved. A vision of my old self flashed through my mind. The college days when we would go to converted movie theater and dance, with the videos of bands playing on the huge screen. It was all new (MTV & VH1 were in their first years) and we had a blast. And I loved dancing. I was an okay dancer – not Dancing With the Stars material – but I could feel the beat.
So, behind the wheel, I might have lost myself in my thoughts and gone back to the days … and I might have done a few moves right there in the driver’s seat.
“Maahhwwmm!!!” snapped me back to reality. “Oh my word. Don’t do that!” Then she started laughing.
“You’re laughing at me,” I said … a little hurt.
“No I’m not. I’m just laughing. It’s funny.” She looked at me, “But you’re not laughing.”
“Yeah … I wasn’t being funny.”
We sat for a minute, then she lightly punched me to let me know she loved me – despite my weirdness.
And there I sat. Letting it all sink in. Because, yes; I am a person. And sometimes I want to (and do) say, “You know, I am a person. I have feelings.” But I’m also a mom. And I love the mom part, even when I’m sick and don’t want to be touched. Because they forget me being a person and I love that they can’t stop themselves from snuggling alongside. And when I make up ridiculous acronyms, I love that they feel free to offer up sarcastic correction. And when repressed dance moves bubble to the surface, they can laugh with pure intentions of it being with rather than at – because to them, I’m more than a person … I’m their mom.
And what a blessing.
Thanks for walking the road with me.