Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What it Means

Can you play with me?

It was a bad time. It was dinner. Dinner was late. Dinner I knew was going to be unpopular.  Dinner I was forcing through despite multiple telegraphed messages that this meal would be poorly attended and have much commentary. I thought the fuss was unreasonable, but apparently tater tots are not a substitute for french fries, just as surely as Cauliflower is not acceptable as bleached broccoli.  I said no and rather sharply.  Her eyes got big.  Then I realized what I'd done and said yes. 

For the next ten minutes, I wound up being a camel that walked on all fours and got tied up outside the bathroom so I wouldn't be stolen or go somewhere.  No one was upset that the meal was delayed, even the ones that liked it. However she did have the camel pick up shoes and toys and lunch bags as I journeyed across the living room desert with a caravan of children desiring their time on their mother's back.  The hitching post at the loo was apparently requirement of the game, as mother dromedaries are apt to wander off but it did mean they got their hands washed before we ate.

Literally and figuratively, motherhood is opting to be a bactrian beast of burden tied up outside of the bathroom.  There is no glamor and your back needs to be strong.  

I opted to nix bath times for the younger set as we were still running behind schedule.  Thinking I'd just found 25 minutes, the next requests came flying in to take it back. 

Can you read to me tonight? My son has scrambled to find his chapter book.

Believe me, the first thought in my head was ugh. No. Boo. Go to bed.  But I can't do it. I can't bring myself to say no to the big puppy eyes begging, when I know, soon, those same eyes will barely tolerate my presence.

Reading to one cascades into reading to several. It is inevitable.  So "That's Not My Puppy, Snoozers, Lilly's Big Day and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" chapter one run their course before I can finally bid them good night and farewell and sleep tight.  

Running through the day, I can see where the missteps were, where I could have done something to lift this one or hugged that one rather than make suggestions on how to cope with something, but for the moment, the story aloud saves everything.  It is something I hope they take with them when they leave this house, that they remember being read to, being introduced to wonderful worlds and more wonderful words.   That and I've filed away in my head, next time the question comes, "Will you play with me?" the answer needs to be an immediate enthusiastic and unequivocal yes, I thought you'd never ask. Dinner, and everything else, can wait. 

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