Ah, the long ride to school. Stony silence. The amount of ticked off that you are is wafting off of you like perfume.
But it doesn’t smell as good.
I would love to tell you that this is ridiculous.
I want to remind you that I’m the one who gets up every morning an hour before anyone else so that I can get dressed in peace and then spend the remainder of the time making breakfast and packing lunches and sometimes starting dinner. I’m the one who does a load of laundry before beginning the oh-so-pleasant task of waking you up.
I still haven’t found a way to do that successfully. Whether I’m loud or soft-spoken, sweet or harsh, silly or serious, you still grump your way into demanding (loudly and hatefully) for another five minutes. Or twenty.
I’m the one who finds the shoes that you can’t find even though you took them off the night before. And the belt.
I’m the one who is sometimes required to find socks that are in your sock drawer!!
I’m the one who discusses your future with your Daddy in hushed tones when we’re alone in the living room. Our fears that we are doing something that will keep you from being happy and loved and successful. Our frustrations when we know you aren’t doing your best. When you’re not being honest. When you’re not being very lovable.
And, yes, I’m the one who didn’t wash your precious jacket because you didn’t ask me to!!
So all of this drama, this attitude, this stink of ticked-offed-ness is over a jacket?
Don’t you know everything that I do for you?
I wash your clothes. Cook your meals – even though you often complain that you can’t stand the dish that was your favorite two weeks ago.
I pick up after you because it often looks like you just melted when you got home from school, leaving a trail of clothes from the living room to your bedroom door.
I hold you when you’re crying. I smooth back your hair and kiss your forehead and tell you that everything will be okay – even when I’m not sure that it will be. I defend you. I protect you.
I love you.
Don’t you understand that?
No. You don’t
Because I didn’t. I waltzed my way through life never realizing what my mom did for me. How things I needed just appeared.
How she always managed to get me what I wanted even if it meant that she and Daddy did without.
How, after I cried myself to sleep in her arms because everyone I knew was invited to that slumber party except me, she went to her room and cried, too.
How she and Daddy managed to love me even when I wore all black for a year and listened to Van Halen at window-rattling levels.
How she spent so many nights on her knees, praying for our safety and health and happiness.
I guess you aren’t supposed to know all the things I do for you.
You’re supposed to realize it years later like I have.
When you’re complaining to your mother that your kids are driving you crazy and how they are so ungrateful and they don’t understand everything that you do for them.
And your mother will smile that maddening smile and without a word, you’ll remember that you did the same thing. And you’ll want to curl up in her lap and tell her that you’re sorry and that you were wrong. And that you love her even more now that you know what she did for you.
Until then, we’ll make this quiet, angry trip to school. You will get out of my car without telling me you love me. You will slam my door and stalk away without a backward glance.
I will cry all the way to work.
I will worry about you all day long.
I will have that crazy mom thought of, “What if something awful happens and we didn’t say ‘I love you’ this morning?”
And when I see you this afternoon, you will act as if nothing happened. You’ll be smiling and telling me all about your day. You’ll complain yet again about that girl who is not nice but has everyone fooled. About that teacher who likes everyone but you.
You’ll ask me again if you can get contacts. Or braces. Or a puppy.
You’ll tell me that I’m ruining your life when I say “not yet” to all those requests.
You’ll go to your room and close the door until dinnertime when you’ll emerge to join the family for a meal. You may or may not be pleasant during this meal.
But I will love you anyway.
Because you’re mine. Your daddy and I prayed for your very existence.
And we still pray for you and love you – even when you don’t think you want to be loved by two such stupid creatures as your horrible, mean, crazy parents.
You’re stuck with us.
And thank God we’re stuck with you, too.