An open letter to my children, who still at this point see me as sort of cool:
Dear Noah, Luke and Grace,
I am trying for “cool” every day. I want to be the coolest mom you know, but with that, I also have to be the “mom” part of that which sometimes means not being so cool in your mind.
Luke, today you had show and tell and the letter of the week in your classroom this week is “H” (I hope). The obvious choice was “helicopter,” wasn’t it? But who likes to go for predictable? Now, I had the added challenge of you and your brother running late today because in another attempt of “coolness,” I let you sleep in an extra fifteen minutes. So I literally had a minute and a half to come up with an “H” object to meet your approval (the plot thickens).
I scanned the play room, and thank God I had given in to a garage sale purchase back over the summer; for there in an obscure corner of the room, heaped together with a bunch of little toys that never got put away, was a McDonald’s Han Solo toy. I hesitated though, remembering a conversation we had last night. You informed me that you were kind of over Star Wars. You said you liked “Sonic” now. I think my response was “What?! Sonic?! Like the hedgehog that Steve Urkel did the voice for?” You had just stared at me blankly and all I could think was, “You are Luke, for crying out loud! Just like your hero, Luke Skywalker! You have loved Star Wars since you were in three-year-old-preschool and we wouldn’t even let you watch it yet!” I was taken aback to when Noah told us he no longer liked Thomas the Train but preferred Ninja Turtles. I won’t lie, boys, I have been a little crushed each time you’ve made these announcements. Just another thumbtack on the timeline string to let me know we’re moving along whether I’m ready or not.
But anyway, back to the show-and-tell debacle. I snatched it up and carried it apprehensively to the kitchen. Would my suggestion be met with enthusiasm or disdain? I was justifiably nervous. I knew the object wasn’t a hedgehog, like Sonic, but I hoped it would be acceptable since we’re only a day or so past your Star Wars obsession.
I tried to play it up a bit, as if I’d found something only slightly less exciting than the bones of a real Wookie. “Luke! What about…” (dramatic pause then whip the toy out from behind my back and wait for half a breath to whisper-yell) “HAN SOLO.”
A moment to process the discovery and then your merciful reaction: your eyes light up and you say, “YES! That’s perfect.”
Dad even chimes in, “Good one, Mom!”
Phew! Cool points before 7:00 a.m. That is the beginning of a great day. And maybe I have a little more time to bask in the joy of your Star Wars days. A kiss on your forehead, one for Noah, and a smooch on the lips for Daddy and you guys are out the door for school.
I know days are coming in which I will be a lot less popular around here. “Mom! Everyone has a cell phone! Why can’t I?”
“Mom, you are so lame. Everyone goes on spring break without their parents. You’re so paranoid!”
“Mom, I was only fifteen minutes past curfew! You are overreacting.”
How do I know these things will happen? Because I was young once too. And I now understand that all these “lame” decisions my parents made were not to thumb me down, but were made out of love. And someday when you’re holding your first baby at three in the morning, in that mental fog between love and delirium, you will swear to yourself, to God and to that baby that you will never ever let anything bad happen to him or her. And you will know how mom went from being the most wicked awesome mom in the world to being the most terribly mean and strict beast of a mother you’ve ever met.
I will be incredibly uncool if that’s what it takes to keep you from getting hurt. But I will also [reluctantly] let go of Star Wars and embrace Sonic if that’s what it takes to make you happy.
I love you, my angels,