I saw a poster once that said “Everything I learned about life, I learned in kindergarten.” It turns out, even after thirty-something years, this is still true for me. Only now I’m learning it from my son. And the best lesson I learned came from my son’s kindergarten graduation ceremony.
My son is really great at being five. I mean really good, what with all the talking back and cuss words he’s picked up this year. But this was a stellar day. Stellar, I tell you. His class walked on stage and quickly found their places. My son was preoccupied with finding me in the audience. He kept searching, not paying attention. Me? I was waving my arms and wore a bright blue shirt so he wouldn’t miss me. Did he see me? Nope.
Then the music started. Baby Beluga. I’ve sung this song to him a thousand times or more over the last five years. It’s my daughter’s favorite. He should’ve known it backwards and forwards, especially given the amount of time he was forced to practice it at school. Did my son know the words? Nope. He sang three or four lines, scratched his head, and looked for me some more.
I waved my bright blue arms.
He didn’t see me.
He sang another couple lines, pulled his shirt over his head, and looked for me some more. He didn’t see me, not matter how much I flapped my blue arms. He sang maybe three more words and shoved his hands down the back of his pants.
Ah, to be a five-year-old boy.
Mercifully, the song ended and the class set up for a square dance. At least I thought it was merciful at the time. My son, however, was still horrified that his square was made up of all girls. “Girls, Mama! They’re disgusting!” He started the square dance with an impressive amount of exuberance. But then he forgot the steps because he was too busy being angry about his many girl partners. One such girl, a really lovely little thing who is usually very quiet and shy, took his hand and dragged him across the stage for the finale.
I thought he’d be embarrassed.
Was he? Nope.
My son walked off the stage like a boss. He stood up straight, smiled wide at the audience, and literally patted himself on the back. He can’t sing, can’t dance, but he OWNED that moment.
And I love him for it.
Life, I think, is a lot like my son’s graduation. There are moments when I want to pull my shirt over my head. There are days when I’m searching for mom to give me the answers or just some encouragement to keep going forward. But there are also days when I’m a boss. Just like my son.
My head is high. My smile is wide. And I pat myself on the back.
Parenthood is hard. Some days suck the big one. I have cleaned up more vomit and poop than I care to admit out loud. But at the end of the day, no matter how tough, when I see my babies snuggled under their blankets and I hear those sleepy mouths whisper, “I love you, Mama,” I get it.
I really get it.
We all make mistakes. The perfect mother doesn’t exist. But in our own ways, we are all bosses. If we just let ourselves admit that it’s scary to be a mom and applaud ourselves for keeping at it day after day, we really should be walking around like we just graduated kindergarten.
Every. Single. Day.
So that is my challenge to every mother everywhere. Find one small thing to be proud of, even if it’s just that you saved a Mr. Potato Head moustache from the toilet, and OWN THAT MOMENT.
Be a boss. You deserve it.
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