I love my daughter. I really do. With all my heart and soul. But sometimes . . . sometimes I just want to leave her by the side of the road so my mom will pick her up and take her home like any other stray. We were at a restaurant, eating a fabulous meal, filling our bellies in preparation for a fabulous fireworks show. I looked over, and my precious six-year-old was twirling a linguine noodle in the air. Marinara sauce covered her face and shirt. She was eating with her fingers and mouth open, napkin discarded and unused on the table, and her chair was so far away from the table I was surprised she could reach her food at all.
When did this happen? Story used to have good manners. Not superb, I’ll admit (she still uses the back of her hand more often than her napkin), but she certainly didn’t cause restaurant patrons to stare and tablemates to lose their appetites. In that glance, I saw a child I didn’t recognize, a feral changeling.
When Story was born, my mom and grandma came up to help me. I knew how lucky I was to have four generations in one house, full of love and laughter and exhaustion. The bonds among the women in my family have always been rock strong, and I hoped that Story would feel the same. But I worried.
This month’s dinner also happened to be my birthday dinner, so I made one of my favorite dishes: moussaka. I’d considered making it several times before, mostly after devouring the dish in a local restaurant, but never attempted it. It seemed complicated, and I’m not that secure in my cooking skills. Best to leave such things to the professionals. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it. So, I tried my hand. (more…)
I must admit that I had my doubts. When Ali got a bunk bed for her girls and reported the resulting magic of the immediate vacancy of her bed, I shook my head. Her girls were ready to sleep in their own room; the arrival of the bunk bed just happened to coincide with that milestone. I may have even begrudged her a bit. My own daughter was two years older than her oldest and still sleeping in my bed. No way did Ali think of something I didn’t to retrieve the luxury of an empty bed. It was just nature. Her girls felt the call to nighttime independence before mine. We two moms had nothing to do with it.
In church this morning, the congregation celebrated the graduation of our seniors. Our caring and compassionate pastor stood up in front of us all and addressed the graduates: “You don’t have what it takes.” At first, I thought I heard her wrong. Aren’t we supposed to encourage and celebrate our youth? Tell them how special they are and that they can be anything they want to be?
As she continued and explained her harsh words, I understood them to be encouraging rather than discouraging, true rather than lip service, and wise rather than rude. She is absolutely right.