I’m smack dab in the middle of my forties and can still remember what it felt like to lay my head in my mom’s lap when I was sick. She’d run her fingers through my hair or stroke my forehead and speak to me in a soothing tone that made everything feel better. It didn’t matter what she said. She could have read the back of a cereal box and it would have relaxed me.
When the world starts to tap dance on my shoulders like an angry hippopotamus, I miss that feeling more than ever. Looking back on my youth now, I realize how right my mom was when she told me, “You’ll never realize how much your mom means to you until she’s gone.”
Ugh. My throat just clamped down and my eyes went all watery. I can hear her speak those words like it was yesterday instead of twenty years ago.
I DO miss her. She drove me absolutely, bat-shit crazy sometimes, but that was her God given right. Lord knows it was only fair after the hell I put her through in my teens.
The beauty of the whole deal? I get to give that special feeling back.
Today, I got a call from the school saying my littlest princess had an earache and wasn’t doing too good.
You know those clapperboards you see on behind-the-scene movie reels? Yeah, that’s how fast my entire day shifted. One thwack and the big-ass to do list I had to handle between Noon and zero dark thirty shifted to a single focus: Take care of my kid.
It was when we were waiting at Walgreens for the antibiotics and eardrops that nostalgia nuked me. There I was, my little six year-old (who’s birthday is today) curled up in my lap, desperate to go home and lay down. I slipped my hand under the back of her shirt and stroked her spine until her breathing evened out and I realized—I’m giving back what my mom gave me.
I’m a crappy teacher. I use profanity way more than I should. I have the patience of a two year-old hopped up on Red Bull and birthday cake. I send store bought valentines to school with my kids and will NEVER fit in with the other soccer moms. (Unless they’re sporting tattoos I don’t know about.)
But I will always take care of my kids. If there’s a day they’re truly hurting and I’m not there, it’s fairly certain I’m bleeding out on the side of the road somewhere or have already gone to meet my maker. I won’t detail what would happen if someone were to cause them bodily harm, but let’s just say it’s not safe to document on the internet where it could be held against me.
What about you? Have you had those moments of nostalgia with kids of your own or other kids close to you? Times when the fact that YOU’RE the adult now, charged with caring for a precious little creature, whacked you square between the nose?
Go hug or kiss the little ones in your life. They’ll remember it.