Friday, August 1, 2008

Could it be I'm doing something RIGHT?

When our youngest, Mr. Cool, was four, he told me in no uncertain terms, (in a bizarre toddleresque/Bronx-sounding accent I only WISH I could imitate) "You're the meanest mudder in the weeold. Every day you're doing somepzing wrong." Holy cow. Okay–I'll take that one straight to my therapist. Thanks.Scariest part? Is I probably DO do something wrong every day.

Example: Last night he called for permission to have a "late night" at his friend A's house. I said, "Okay, but only till 9:30 or 10." So a couple of hours rolled by. We went to a lovely wedding reception, came home, got in our jammies, and at 10:24 we were headed downstairs to watch an old Hitchcock movie when it dawned on me: We forgot to pick up Mr. Cool. Completely forgot.

I slip on the nearest pair of shoes (which DO NOT MATCH my pink-cotton cropped pajamas!) and grab my car keys, trying fruitlessly to convince hubby to go in my stead. (Please? I'm in my jammies. And look at my shoes.... Never mind -- don't.) And I get in the car. I drive to the friend's house. Fast. (But not fast enough to get pulled over, because that would be WAY too embarrassing.)

I pull up in front of the house. The lights are out. My heart sinks. Then I see a light come on in the front window, and Mr. Cool's silhouette -- holding a phone to his ear -- moves into the light. I am feeling so, so low at this point. I'm relieved that Mr. Cool sees me and comes out before I have to ring the doorbell. We say our thank yous and goodbyes and are just about to leave when he reminds me he rode his bike. "Come with me to the back of the house to get it," he pleads. I take one look at the dark driveway to the dark back yard and envision prancing across their lawn in my pink pajamas and navy blue slip-on shoes. "Just leave it there, Honey. We'll come back and get it in the morning." (I'm laughing at myself even as I'm writing this.)

So we get in the car, and he seems a bit shaken. Says he got scared. I'm thinking it's my fault. Then the REAL story comes out. Just a few minutes before I got there, they were downstairs watching a movie and all of the sudden they hear this infernal pounding. It scared the Dickens out of them, including the oldest sister, who was babysitting. Apparently another friend came over for the "late night" and forgot to tell his parents where he was going. This kid's dad came and knocked on the door, then started pounding harder and harder when no one answered, and came barging into the house, yelling at the top of his lungs. He was (understandably) furious at his kid for taking off. But reduced him to tears in front of his friends, and gave him such a high-volume tongue lashing that it frightened the other kids too.

Mr. Cool couldn't stop talking about it: "That was really scary, Mom. You should have heard how loud that pounding was. I don't think that was really right for M's dad to just barge into A's house like that. And he shouldn't have yelled at everybody like that. He was really mad. I wonder what he's going to do to M when they get home." I paused, stunned. "Do you think he's going to hurt him?" "No...(I can almost hear the wheels turning inside his 9-year-old head)...but he might give him a hard spank." Sigh.

Then he continued: "I mean, you might get mad if I took off without asking, but you don't ever do stuff like that. You might call up on the phone and be a little bit stern. And you would take me into another room to talk so I don't get in trouble in front of all my friends. But you would do it in a calm voice."

Okay, so never mind the late pick-up, the mis-matched shoes and the pink pajamas. According to Mr. Cool, in spite of it all, I'm actually doing something right. And that's a huge parental paycheck.


Eowyn said...

Oh man. Cogratulations on doing something right.

It's always nice when those moments come.

(I was thinking you did something right by him asking if he could come!)

Kimberly said...

Oh those shining moments where we get some insight into how lucky our kids have parents that care whether they're doing a good job or not! That alone means our kids are beyond blessed compared to so many others in this world of ours.


Cari said...

Despite the fact (LOL) that you are the meanest mudder in the whole weeold and every day you're doing somepzing wrong, you are still my mothering hero. I do my best to follow your example in many ways, every day. Perhaps one day I'll have the great honor of one of mine telling me something similar. Actually, R2 already does, in so many words. And she's not even 4 yet. You've taught me so well! (and continue to teach me, thank you).

charrette said...

Thanks, hermana. You have a rare ability to bring out the best in me (and probably in everyone else too.) Then you take it a step further and point out that BEST when it emerges, sometimes not even realizing the part you had to play in it. xoi

heather of the EO said...

One time I heard Dr. Phil (yes, the annoying TV guy) say something like, every parent wants their kids to look back on their childhood and think, "I hit the parent lottery!"
Oh, I so want that.
And at NINE, your sweet boy has already caught on to how blessed he is! That is just so great!

Such a fun story to read, you in your pink jammies...

Brillig said...

Wow! What a great experience! And yes, you are doing SO MANY THINGS RIGHT. I'm glad that he noticed it too.

(And this was SUCH a fun read! You in your pink pajamas. Hahahahahaha... )

Annette Lyon said...

What a great story! Those small moments when we see we aren't totally screwing up really do make the whole process seem worth it.

(Glad I'm not the only one who's been caught in the car wearing jammies.) :)

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

I'll never forget the few times my son has witnessed people losing their cools; the look on his face is impossible for me (at 7:40am) to describe. Seeing that side of people is mostly foreign to him, but he needs to see it. I'm just glad he (and your son) experienced it as audience members, rather than players.

We have a lot in common. Are you on the Buzz (Cre8buzz)? They have a writers group that you would be a great addition to...