Friday, September 13, 2013

Confessions of the World's Worst Mom. Ever.

I'm writing this so that I can say out loud what everyone should know about me despite public appearances otherwise. I'm a terrible mom. Now, I know you'll be inclined to pooh-pooh that and I'll accept that it's a pretty bold thing to say, rather lending itself to a counter. But hear me out.

Last night at dinner, my bright young boy started a conversation this way: "What do you think is more valuable - confidence or pride?" Great topic! We started to go back and forth. He believes pride is more important and set out to convince me. I believe confidence is infinitely more valuable, and honorable, and made my case. At some point, I became aware that Sam wasn't buying it. He started showing signs of exasperation and impatience with my point of view. (Don't know where he gets that from.) So I told him his outward appearance was inappropriate, that he should continue to show in his tone of voice and expression an interest in what I was saying. Essentially, I was telling him to control his temper. When he insisted he wasn't behaving in any way that would indicate impatience I decided to teach him a lesson.

So I threw a fork at him.

My intention was to have the fork clatter on the table between him and Sara, make a noise, and startle him. I hoped to say that my actions did not match what I was saying, that a person had to show what they felt, not just say it.

I'm sure if my high school PE teacher were reading this she'd attest to the fact that my prowess with throwing objects even near an intended goal are less than stellar. My softball teammates could back her up on this. And anyone who'd ever played Bozo Buckets with me.

Had I remembered that before I embarked on this lesson we'd be using a different example to extol my horrible-mother-ness. As it is, we're talking about how that fork hit Sara in the wrist.

At first, I just looked blankly at her not able to piece together the vision I had of what would happen with what actually happened. What are the odds, for Pete's sake? I actually punctured her skin! She started to tremble - and so did I - when we saw that she was actually hurt. My motherly instincts (the good ones, not the ones that throw forks at you) kicked in and I immediately tended to her wound, got her patched up and offered a million apologies. When Lucy got to the table late we had the remnants of the pride vs confidence argument still lingering in the air, along with a mess of dishes and first-aid items, and one less fork than people. "Wha'd I miss?" she stared.

After more amends that included a trip to the book store, three books, ice cream, an eclair and 30 extra before-bed minutes, I sent my Sara off to sleep. She accepted all my apologies with good grace and kisses and not a little extra pandering (hence the eclair).

Sara is a joy and I love her so deeply my very being is filled with her in every moment of every day in a way that is not just familiar because I know her now, but because I knew her before she was born. She is me. If I hurt her, even unwittingly, it breaks me into a million pieces. I didn't sleep well.

This morning, she crept into my bed and worried aloud that her finger hurt, that her wrist ached when she moved it a certain way. She was up early for band practice and immediately I scrolled through all the horrible possibilities. Music and art are her life. She was born with talent I can't even wrap my mind around. What had I done? How to explain this at the gates? "Well, you see, Peter, I was trying to teach Sam a lesson about controlling his temper..." Good gravy!

I took another look at her wrist, determined it just needed a little time to heal, and sent her off to school with a carefully worded note to the teachers and some extra hugs and kisses. I think she'll be fine. As she was leaving, she called over her shoulder, "Don't worry Mami!" She was consoling me.

I'm seriously the worst mom. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. Most parents, if they are honest, Carmen, have similar stories they could tell. I include myself with them. Stacked against the good things we try to do on a daily basis, they don't make much of a dent. As the parent of adult children, I can tell you the recounting of those stories makes for some wry chuckles and grimaces over the years. But such events are not fatal, and if I read you right, your kids are smart enough to understand that. Hope you sleep better tonight!