Becoming a parent has allowed me to experience many different things over the time since I conceived Holden, to now- with two children, one quickly (much more than I would like) approaching the age of 6.
I finally know, after a lifetime of wondering, what I look like with big boobs (awesome, duh.) I also know what my ankles look like as cankles, toes as sausage links, and something like 30 extra pounds hanging around my midsection. I know what it is to love someone SO deeply, so easily, even when they are total assholes, that you literally cannot imagine life without them- and trying to is painful. I have experienced heaven and hell at the same time- and understand now that all the times I said I had gotten “no sleep” previously in life did not at ALL compare to ACTUALLY getting no sleep because I was up with a screaming baby every night for so many days in a row that I lost count.
The most unique perspective that I have gained through having children of my own is that of my very own childhood. The reality of how you acted as a child and the things that you did really didn’t hit me until I thought about all of them as though it were my kids, and how I would react- and that’s when I knew: I was a real asshole.
Sure, I turned out okay- I’m not a mass murderer or hookin’ on the corner for extra drug money in the red light district… and I guess in retrospect I wasn’t THAT bad of a kid, but- well, let’s just say it’s no wonder my mom was a few sandwiches short of a picnic by the time my brother and I were legal and she was no longer directly responsible for us. And she didn’t even know HALF of the stupid shit we did! Or she did, but we would never admit to any of it.
It is at that moment that I look to the two children sitting before me, that not too long ago I squeezed out of my va-jay-jay, and I think- PLEASE don’t ever be like me when I was little. Of course, I will never tell them that; at least not until they are old enough to understand that just because I did, they can- but in my head I have an entire letter drafted and ready to share with them at a moment’s notice to save myself from the crazy my poor mother must have felt.
Please, if you are to do me one favor as you get older and grow into the person you will eventually be- let it be NOT to be like me as a child. I know that you need to make your own mistakes and have your own experiences- but there are a few mistakes and experiences I would prefer you NOT to have if at all possible. It’s really not asking very much of you- so just bear with mommy, okay?
There will always be tissues handy in the house, so there will never be a need to wipe your boogers under tables, under counters, on the couch, or any other random household object. If you can’t find a tissue, just ASK. It’s honestly not that difficult. I’m not inviting you to wipe your boogers on me- but if that’s what it takes…I just don’t want a part time job scraping your nose gnomes off of the coffee table.
Do not accidentally knock holes in your walls and cover them up with Hanson posters. Not that you would ever have a Hanson poster… well, not that Hanson is even a bad band today- but what I’m getting at is just to tell me. You’re not going to get in that much trouble for an accident, and it will be far worse for you if I only find out about these holes on the inevitable day that we move out of this house and there is no time left to fix it.
Although I know it may seem funny and very tempting- don’t pour water in your brother’s bed thinking that I will assume he peed in his sleep and that he will get in trouble, only to have him find it first and blame it on the dog. The dog is an a-hole, but he doesn’t deserve to be punished. Let me in on the joke- I DO have a sense of humor, and I love to prank people.
Choose your battles. Maybe you think we are trying to argue with you about EVERYTHING- but trust me when I tell you that we don’t. We actually pick very carefully. Can you imagine how many fewer arguments there would be if we BOTH did that? We don’t want to fight with you. Pretty much ever.
It would be in your best interest not to swallow beads just to see if you can.
When you are mad at me- please don’t tell me that you “hate” me. I know when you are so young, it seems like it is only a word- but as much as I will teach you that words cannot hurt you to help you ignore the morons you will have to deal with in life- the word “hate” does hurt when you say it to your mommy who is only trying to do what she thinks is best for you.
“Running away” is never a good idea- even if you only get to the end of the street. Neither is writing “HELP ME!” on a piece of paper and putting it in your bedroom window when you have been grounded to your room. People don’t exactly respond positively to those kinds of things these days.
Oh, who are we kidding? You will probably do all of these things because you are just like me. You are stubborn and headstrong and don’t like to be told what to do. Looking at myself now though? I guess it could be worse. And I guess this is payback for doing the same thing to my mom.
The only thing that I really ask of you is that you know, always, that I love you. No matter what. Even if sometimes I don’t like you very much. Even if sometimes I don’t like you at all. Even if sometimes I seem like the crazy bitch mom who is ruining your life- it’s still love.
You’ll understand one day. Just like I understand now. And just like I am sure my mom would do to me- when that day comes, I will say “I told you so!”
P.S. – it’s MOMMY. Not MOM, not MOTHER, not JENNY- MOMMY. That one’s non-negotiable for the foreseeable future.
Maybe I will keep this letter for when they both get old enough for me to rub it in their faces while doing a victory dance. That would be pretty damn satisfying.
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