Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thought From the Perfect Mother

You know how there are days when you have these parenting highs and you think to yourself, "Why, I am a genius. Why has no one else figured out how to do this mom thing as well as I have? Maybe I should write a book."

No need to look for my brilliantly insightful book on perfect motherhood in a Barnes and Noble near you.

I thought I started strong today. With Mark away on business, I had to get the boys ready and off to school this morning by myself which can be remarkably similar to rocket science somehow. In an attempt to be that mom who has it all together and sings a cheery song while birds land on her hand, I packed the boys lunches last night, had them pick out their clothes, had my clothes laid out, filled out and packed Jude's permission slip, excuse, and money, and set out money for the book fairs (yes, they each had one at their schools). I was anticipating a smooth morning full of laughter and cuddles and maybe one or two show tunes just for fun.

As I dropped Jude off this morning at precisely five minutes to eight, I gave myself a little pat on the back for getting him to school with just the right amount of time left to get to his classroom, hang up his backpack, and get to his seat to sit attentively for his lessons to begin.

I am so glad that I have made motherhood the priority of my life. I have found my calling.

Being so time efficient, I stopped back home and threw my sheets in the washer (Marshall puked last night. There are somethings even the Perfect Mom can't control...). During that brief pit stop, I noticed that Cal wasn't looking quite like the Gap ad I had hoped for. Last night he had picked out gray sweatpants and a Transformer T-shirt, but being a mom in touch with a child's need for some authority, I allowed it.

He is going to be such a better man because he had practice making choices as a child. Thank heavens I am so well educated on his emotional and developmental needs.

Now I hadn't banked on the half a pumpkin tattoo that didn't get scrubbed off his cheek last night, the purple marker streaks down his arm, and the hair that this morning looked like it could poke an eye out. Add to the messy hair some static from a hooded sweatshirt he rejected, and that child was looking afright. We're talking a disaster. Not even clean or put together enough to call a gypsy. Determined not to panic and lose my cool, I made a conscious decision to let it go this morning.

Thank goodness I am wise enough to know when to let things go. Some moms might stress about their child's appearance today, but I am self-evolved enough to set aside my expectations as needed.

In my chipper sing song voice I coaxed Calvin back into the Nav and we headed off to his preschool. On the way he told me a story about robots, and I asked him some questions about the tale he was telling. Bonus points for robotic attentiveness and asking leading questions.

I rock.

We arrive at Cal's preschool a little early to browse the book fair, and I notice I am the first one there. A wave of smugness washes over me as I think of those poor mothers who will swoop in late, gasping for breath while I peruse the book fair slowly and thoughtfully.

Another point for me.

As a few more mothers arrive, Cal notices that we have checked several of the books for sale out of the library to read together. I feel so proud to be a mom who takes her children to the library and reads to them.

What a blessing I am to this world.

I go to buy the books Cal has chosen, and as the woman behind the counter struggles with the credit card machine, I smile and laugh and bestow grace abundantly on her while the line backs up behind me.

I am so like Jesus.

And then the bottom fell out.

As I glanced at my half tattooed, marker covered, bed-headed child I heard the most horrific sentence a fraudulently confident mom can imagine:

"Today is picture day!"


And thus, all the bonus mommy points I had racked up this morning hit the floor and shattered, as the woman behind the counter confirmed that it was, indeed, picture day. She looked at Cal the refuge, looked at my horrified expression, looked back at Cal the refuge, and then graciously offered, "Um, maybe they'll let him do a retake on Thursday."


I ran Cal to his classroom, confessed the obvious - that I totally forgot today was picture day at preschool - and then ran out to the nearby shopping center to find a cheap, but handsome outfit to take back and get him in before pictures this morning. As I dashed into, around, and out of Kohls, I could hear a new monologue running through my head:

I can't believe I could forget picture day! Was it on my calendar? I am sure I wrote it in there! Oh, poop! I forgot to look at the calendar last night. Oh my goodness! How am I going to resurrect - or put to death...which is it??? - his hair? I don't even have a comb! Was that washable marker he colored up and down his arm? When did I leave him unattended with art supplies? There will be no more tattoos on the face! That's it! I draw the line! No more on the face!! Holy crap! Holy crap!

As I dashed back into the preschool and offered a feeble explanation of how wrong the morning had gone to the greeter, I had a somewhat comforting thought.

I bet seeing me standing there at the book fair with my complete mess of a child helped one other mother give herself bonus mommy points for remembering picture day.

I'm glad I could help.


Randy Bohlender said...

OK, I laughed so hard I cried. This is AWESOME!

It's not the boys who freak me. I've got 3 of those. It's the second wave - the female wave of 3 - that has me worried.

Great post. I'm still laughing...

Renovation Girl said...

Oh, Ann, if only you were at our preschool...I would LOVE a little "help!!!" Hysterical and sooooo true!

Aly said...

You kill me! Thanx for the laughs this morning at Chic-fil-A! You get like a thousand good friend points for sharing this.