Stop me if I’ve told you this before: (I’m aware you can’t do that. Let me keep writing.) In 1999, nearly nine months pregnant with Goldie, I woke in the middle of the night for another bathroom visit. Her birth was a mere week or two away and I suddenly thought, “This is permanent. This isn’t just some temporary responsibility. This kid is going to be around 24/7. And I don’t really like kids.” And then my heart started racing because ‘responsibility’ is not my middle name. (Can you guess what is?) In the days before she arrived, I told others of my panic and they all said the same thing, more or less. “It’s different when it’s your own child. Maternal instincts kick in.” I thought of the billions of women (trillions?) who’d gone before me in the motherhood game and figured I wasn’t special. I, too, would be okay. And I was.
There’s a big soccer tournament going on in the Southland this month. The first weekend of elimination play was supposed to be January 26-27. Rained out, they moved the entire schedule to this past weekend. Bun Bun’s game times were fine, down near San Diego, but Miss T’s involved a serious conflict with the Super Bowl. I’m the big NFL fan in the family so normally, the husband would be with her except he works for a company that spent millions on an ad during the game, which he needed to track in real time on social media platforms. And so Saturday, it was Bun Bun and I in Escondido. Sunday, I stood shivering for Miss T’s 3:30pm kickoff up in Ventura, while the 49ers and Ravens lined up for theirs in New Orleans. It was fútbol versus football and everyone who knows me would have thought something was terribly wrong in the universe if I wasn’t parked in front of a television yesterday afternoon with a bowl of Nacho Cheese Doritos in front of me. And yet, I wasn’t. It’s a crazy miracle, but the universe and I were fine.
When it comes to my children, I don’t have resentments. I resent traffic. I resent drivers in front of me who don’t pull out into the intersection to await a left turn. I resent politicians who forget the reasons for which they serve. I resent serial complainers. I resent men sometimes when I think they have it easier than women. (And then I remind myself they don’t.) I resent those who won’t consider an assault weapons ban. But with my girls, who can still annoy the hell out of me with requests, I don’t resent. I don’t begrudge them what they need from me on their journey in life. No, I don’t want to scoop them ice cream anymore when they can get their own, but if they’ve made a commitment and need me to help them honor that commitment – well, that’s my job and they’re my kids. Can’t watch the first half of the Super Bowl because I’m outside on a beautiful winter’s day with my adorable ten-year-old who’s playing a mean game at center mid? I’m okay with that.
Of course, when the whistle blew at game’s end, I hustled Miss T into the car to race the sixty miles home, hoping to start eating those Doritos early in the third quarter. I arrived home shortly after Jacoby Jones’ record-setting touchdown, and just after the blackout. It was a perfect power outage, allowing me to settle in, rewind, and view the highlights of Baltimore’s domination in the first half, and then watch as the 49ers made it a game. The five of us were together, laughing at my sudden outbursts when plays fell apart, and all was good and right with the world.
To mothers out there who aren’t as far along as I am (with a fourth, sixth, and eighth grader) and think that whatever phase their child is going through, it will be the end of the world as they know it – it gets better. I love being with my kids. Things are still messy (literally and figuratively) but the girls are turning into creatures with whom I totally enjoy hanging out.
And okay, speaking of the Super Bowl, a few thoughts:
– I was rooting for the 49ers despite the fact that Jim Harbaugh’s temper scares me and I always hated how he’d come off the field when he played for the Colts and tell reporters first and foremost how he needed to thank his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m convinced that Jesus doesn’t pick teams in the NFL. (It’s the same reason I’m bothered by Tebow, and Ray Lewis, among others.)
– Colin Kaepernick will have his day. He and RGIII are the most exciting quarterbacks I can remember watching.
– I shunned social media during the game. Too much pressure in the competition to come up with the funniest retort about the blackout.
– Beyonce nailed it. Wow.
– Didn’t see many commercials but had no idea farmers were so awesome. Cried over the Budweiser/”Warhorse” spot. Hated the godaddy.com one.
Re: the gun control debate. Did you watch the hearings? Grrrrrrr. Arrrrrrgh. The gun lobby is counting on all of us to lose interest and/or cower beneath their constitutional confidence. For today, read this: “Dangerous Gun Myths” from yesterday’s New York Times, and email Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, because she has a history of sensibility and could move from the dark Republican congressional side of this issue and come towards the light.
Make it a good week.