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Because I Said So

As mothers go, I am not too bad. Taking care of children and a house are both full time jobs. Some days, there are more hours to spend with the children than others depending on how much housework needs to be accomplished, Junior and Daisy generally play together nicely with intermittent arguments. When they want me to play with them, it is is because they are bored with each other and want to be entertained. If I’m not too busy, that’s a welcome break.

With the nicer weather, we have been able to spend more time outside riding bikes and playing in the sandbox. Steve promised to put a new swing set in the backyard this year and we are all looking forward to that. Daisy loves the swings at the school playground. Junior is more a jungle gym guy.

Motherhood came easily to me and I didn’t ask for a lot of advice from family members. I value making independent decisions. But nothing prepared me for the moment when I turned into my own mother. I noticed it first in my choice of bag. My handbags have gradually grown over the years. There’s so much to carry. Of course, when the children were babies, I carried their cloth diapers, pins, and tissues in a special bag with extra bottles and pacifiers.

My own handbag is home to small dinosaurs, bows, some jacks, brushes, Lifesavers, crackers and a small book or two. My lipstick was lost somewhere in the bottom and the bag itself was heavy as hell. I walked leanly slightly to one side when my bag was on that shoulder but the muscle in that arm was stronger too. If I could go back in time and find the first cave woman who chose to pick up all of the cave children’s rocks, I would tell her to leave them behind.

After lunch, I told Junior and Daisy to carry their dishes to the sink and Junior got up and started to leave the kitchen. When I called him back, Junior kept walking. When I called him again, he told me that he didn’t want to carry his dishes to the sink. I told Junior to stop and when he did I told him to come back and do as I asked. Then Junior asked the question most children do, why. Sadly, my mother’s voice came out of my mouth and I told him “because I said so.” There, it was finally done. I had become my mother and all the other mothers who came before her who didn’t have a better answer. I stopped in my tracks and looked behind me to see if my mother was standing there. Maybe it is meant to be and really not a totally bad answer. Mothers have a wisdom built around brevity, a lack of time and hearts full of love for their own families. Some mothers have enough love to adopt the children of others, healing some wounds. The mothers in my neighborhood watch over and keep everyone’s children safe. I know that my children could stop at any house on our street and find comfort if needed.

Junior walked back to the table, picked up his plate and glass and brought it to the sink. I didn’t really mind his testing his boundaries since he didn’t mind my need to mother-speak. He gave me half a smile and I tousled his hair. Good kid. He knew how far to take his insurgency. Maybe it was time to clean out my handbag.

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