I always find it amazing how roller coaster-ish parenthood is. Actually, I believe that very statement, or something similar, was made in the movie, Parenthood. Children have a way of worming their way into your heart and soul. You love them to distraction and sometimes, the things they do and say can leave you speechless - for better or for worse. Only a mother (or father) knows that you can be so joyful you think your heart will burst when your child makes you a card for Mother's Day when no one told them to, and then so angry you could scream when they kick a soccer ball in the house and it bends the blinds and breaks a plant in the kitchen. I think most parents would agree that, when it comes to kids, it's a crap shoot. You have a 50/50 shot of wanting to either hug them or smack them.
And I realized this morning that I think kids feel the same way. Here are two recent conversations between Avery and I to help support my argument:
Avery: Mom, can I ride my bike to school?
Me: Sure. I don't think it's supposed to rain today, so we should be safe this afternoon too.
Because I think my house has been swept up in a tornado and, instead of Oz, has landed in Seattle, we're never safe from rain lately. And of course, we walk out the door and it's drizzling. Reese starts to whine because she doesn't want to be wet and cold, so I say "You know what? Let's just take the car. I don't want to walk all the way there and back with Reese whining, plus, if it's raining now, it may be raining after school and I'll have to load your bike up in the car."
Now, Avery is more than a little disappointed. She's already on her bike and wearing her helmet. I knew she would be irritated and with good reason. There's been too much car riding to and from school lately. She says "I thought you said it wasn't supposed to rain today."
Me: I didn't think it was. The weather says there is only a 10% chance and I heard them say it wasn't likely. I guess they were wrong."
We get in the car and head toward the school, where we see a gazillion cars lined up from the drop off point to the stop sign at the main intersection. I say, "Wow, looks like nobody wanted to walk today."
And Avery responds, in the most smart-ass voice I've ever heard her use,
"Wow. I wonder how come their moms knew it was raining and you didn't." Gasp. Gulp. Gasp.
I responded with something about how that was really mean and if we weren't going to school, she'd be in her room alone for an eternity and that she needed to just stop talking if she was going to be ugly. She apologized and I dropped her off, giving her a hug and a kiss as usual, but still kind of smarting from the sting of her remark.
Then, last night, I went in to lay with her. Hanging from her top bunk was a letter I had written her at parent/teacher conferences and left in her desk. It just says something about having a great day and we miss her when she's gone and she's the coolest first grader I know. And she hung it up. Went to the trouble to find tape, go in her room and find a spot for it.
When I saw it last night, I said "Hey, what's that?" She said, "It's my letter from you. I hang it there so I can see it every night." I actually had to bite my lip and hold my breath for a minute to keep from crying. My heart was as big as the helium balloon that flew away without a kid in it. I told her I thought it was so sweet of her and that I almost wanted to cry and she goes, "Hey, it helps me read and it makes me feel happy."
God, I love that kid. And she drives me crazy sometimes. But mostly I love her.
There isn't enough Prozac, Midol or booze to control these emotional mood swings. I guess, as they say in the movie, we have to just buckle up and enjoy the ride. I'm already feeling dizzy.