I remember the day I turned 16 and was legally allowed the freedom of joining the “adult” world, to operate my own from behind a steering wheel. I remember the feeling of finally being able to put my purse to use. After sliding that card, with my picture and information that had the words “drivers license” printed on it, into my wallet for the first time. I also remember thinking how those words meant that I was officially an adult and capable of making my own decisions to do whatever I pleased.
I filled that purse with typical adult (teenage girl) items. The essentials of an insubordinate. Lip gloss in every color, sunglasses, bobby pins, hair ties, tampons, and a pint of Captain Morgan for the nights my best friend and I fed a lie to our parents. The one where you tell them you’re spending the night at each other’s houses when really you and your best friend were throwing up together at a field party after drinking too much. The ol’ switcheroo. Can’t forget about all of the loose change bouncing around at the bottom of my purse because lets be real, every dollar I made working at my bakery job was blown on clothes and McDonalds French fries. How I wish I could still eat those fries without suffering the reprecussions of the grease, oil, and regret that made them taste so damn good.
I remember those days. I felt so free, loving and living life while telling myself that what my parents didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them to deal with the guilt of betraying their trust.
I didn’t take into consideration that one day I would actually be them. That the 50 shades of lipgloss, sunglasses, and sneaky Captain would one day be replaced by toys, sippy cups, and pacifiers. That all of the lies that slipped off of my tongue with an actor grade serious face (one so outstanding even Leo would have given me a round of applause) would become an extremely real fear, that I know one day will be fed to me.
I’d like to think that I won’t believe it because I’ve been there and done that, but chances are I will believe it. Because my parents had been there and done that too, but to this day the hint of Captain under a rebellious summer breeze still makes my stomach turn.
The day that my kids feed me some dumb teenage lie and me potentially believing said dumb teenage lie also makes my stomach turn. The thought of my daughter driving around with a boy who her father and I don’t approve of makes my skin crawl. To think of the day that she tells us she loves him and hates us and doesn’t give two shits about what we think is already making my hair turn grey at 22. Thinking about how much trouble she could get into and her young innocent mind denying the thick of it makes me lose sleep at night.
I feel so bad for what I put my poor parents through when I was living the teenage dream. When you’re young and on the other side of the fence, you don’t realize the danger the world has to offer along with the fun you think you’re having. As the years go by time picks you up and puts you on the other side of the fence so karma can come back and give you small beings you love so much, that will most likely think they are as grown up as you thought you were at 16. Be right back, having an anxiety attack.
When I think about the days that are going to come in many more years (thankfully), it forces me to step back and think about the time I’m wasting right now as a mother. You know the time I’m talking about. The days that your kid has been screaming non stop, asking you for something just to say they don’t want it. The days you feel like you’re only picking up the house for them to destroy it again. The days you are literally trying to make deals with God that if he just works his magic and makes nap time run smoothly, you’ll go to church for more than just Easter and Christmas. Those days you feel like you’re going to go crazy.
Not just those hair pulling days either. The other days when you’re the one who is messing up and feel like you’re being a terrible mom. When you fed your kids a happy meal instead of celery sticks for lunch because you didn’t feel like doing all of the work. The days you’re yelling at them for asking you to read a book to them because you don’t have time when you’re too busy doing adult chores. The days they want to snuggle with you because you’re mom, but mom doesn’t feel like being used as a human jungle gym. The days where they really haven’t done anything to deserve being yelled at.
The days where after you’ve put them in bed you quietly peak at them while they’re sleeping and feel guilty and regretful for being so mean and short with them. Those nights where you wish you could wake them up and just snuggle them and love them and slow the time down. The days where you feel like you have too much to do, but you wish you could have done more for them. The bad mom days.
I read a quote the other day. It said, “Mama, you were given these children. You. No one else. You were given these children because you are who they need. You have the soul to give them what they need on their hard days. You have the motivation and the love to give these children everything they need. You have the heart to wake up every morning and do it all over again, even when you’re exhausted. You have the smile they crave and the touch to make everything okay. You are their sunshine and their comfort. You are theirs and they are yours mama. On the days you are questioning yourself, remember. You’ve got this.”
I can only hope that I live up to everything that quote says. I hope my kids know that on their worst day and on my worst days, that they are my entire life. I hope they know that even when they are driving me completely insane I still love them with every ounce of my being. I hope that they truly know that even when they lie to me, they can come home to me. That I will always be their safe space they can run to after they’ve messed up. I pray that my daughter knows after she tells her dad and I she loves the boy she met five minutes ago more than us, that her love for him will never compare to the love we have for her. Especially after he breaks her heart. I hope they forgive me for the days that I wasn’t a good mom. The times I yelled at them too much or scolded them for being kids. I pray that between the arguments and the lectures they take away the fact that no one and nothing will ever come close to being above them on my list of love and priorities. I wish I could stop time and keep them my babies forever, but that isn’t possible. I pray that they have good lives and when they aren’t my tiny babies anymore, that they have taken away something from everything I’ve done to prepare them to become the parents who will worry about my grandchildren one day. And I hope they forgive themselves for being bad parents ever so often.
I want them to know one day if they feel like they can take on the whole world from behind a steering wheel, that there’s a road paved with love that will always bring them back home to their father and I.
I hope one day they will have the time to set the “adult” things aside to snuggle us.