I started this in honor of the twins’ 7th birthday. Now that they are 8, it seems like a good a time as any to publish it! I will be going through my drafts folder, so stay tuned for more really dated material.
…and what I have learned.
I am not smart enough for this job.
The kids are getting smarter. They are asking tough questions. “Where did my chocolate Easter Bunny go, mom?”
Darn it, kids, I know the answer to that question but I certainly don’t want to answer to you people. “Oh, look, a squirrel!” This tactic does work surprisingly well even considering that we are overrun with squirrels.
But I fear that diversions like this will only last so long.
The kids get smarter.
I hate left hand turns. The other day I made a “squeaker” of a left on our way to school. It was close (by my standards) and I was surprised that the car behind me followed me through the turn. The oncoming traffic was also surprised and honked.
“Mom!” said two horrified seven year olds from the back seat. “You just got honked at!” In five years, I expect to hear that same abject horror when they see me leave for the grocery store without make up on.
“Guys, they weren’t honking at me. It was the car behind me!” I told them. They twist around in their seats.
“OH! It’s (insert friend’s name)’s mom!”
This is a welcome diversion. It feels like a lot of parenting is about distraction. That feels dishonest sometimes. But also sometimes totally necessary.
One of the twins sometimes gets stuck in moments. The moments spin wildly through her mind relentlessly. I do the same thing, so I know what it is. Reasoning and logic don’t work. “Hey, do you remember when we were at Disney World and we went on Splash Mountain?” “Hey, remember having a picnic at the park?”
I pray for wisdom. Lots, and lots, of wisdom. Back that wisdom truck up over here. I’ll take it all.
We are direct on lots of things: Santa, the tooth fairy. I’m surprised by our directness. The girls ponder the revelations. Carrie decides that while she knows the truth, she would prefer to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy any way. That’s ok with me.
Carrie also learned about air quotes. She occasionally says “Santa” with air quotes. And then she winks. And then she says, “you know what I mean?” I explain to her that only the air quotes are needed; the meaning is understood. We are working on subtlety. That will be an ongoing effort for her.
The wisdom I lack would come in handy for the questions that have complicated and nuanced answers. The questions asking for detailed descriptions of places I haven’t been – heaven, for starters. Wisdom would also be great for helping the girls understand subtle, unwritten social guidelines and how to navigate these unwritten guidelines. Like, for example, how to deal with the heartache of not being invited to a birthday party for a (presumed) dear friend that everyone in class is talking about.
“You know what,” I say in response to that heartbreaker situation. “You’ll always be invited to my birthday party, sweet girl.” She nods. It’s not enough, but at the same time, it’s enough.
(Written in 2018 as the kids turned seven… posted much later.)