My son Aiden couldn’t sleep, so I sat with him, as mothers do, for about a half an hour. As we chatted, the topic of Grandma came up, and it went something like this:
“So. Ya know why I love Grandma?”
“She gives us ice cream before bed.” He continued, “I think I would like Grandma to be my mom.”
I sighed a little, although I couldn’t blame him. My own grandmother walked on water to me. Thus, I explained that my grandmother also did wonderful, fancy things for me. She was Grandma’s mom, I said, by way of explanation. “Wow. She sounds great. Where is she?” Aiden said.
Now I’d done it! After a lengthy discussion about heaven, death, souls, and Fred (our dearly departed goldfish), I insisted it was time for night-night and that we could pick this up in the morning (hoping maybe he’d forget).
The point is, of course Grandmas RAWK! They give you ice cream before bed and happily sit on the floor with you for hours and play Candyland and, with no clock-watching, put together intricate dinosaur puzzles, ignoring their stiffening backs and achy legs. They make children feel they are, without-a-doubt, in-the-books, the center of the universe itself!
But not MY mother. She made us clean our rooms, brush our teeth, dust, mop, do dishes, and all sorts of unsavory responsible things. Today I stare in disbelief as my kids ride scooters through her dining room and bang away like feral monkeys on her piano. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she lilts. WHAT? Does she even REMEMBER
Okay, so someone jacked my mother and replaced her with a laid-back clone. Where was this woman when I was a kid? Why didn’t I get to ride vehicles through the house? And where was MY ice cream dispensing, cupboards-filled-with-Oreos, joyful lady?
As a small child, I worshipped my mother. As a tween, I found my mom to be woefully inadequate and entirely embarrassing. Then I had children of my own… The moment I gave birth, my mother underwent a remarkable, overnight, KER-BLAM! transformation. In an instant she became a saint, a benevolent goddess who possessed more patience, compassion, wisdom, and love than I could ever hope to have in a million lifetimes. Plus, in a freakishly bizarre turn of events, I now find her words coming out of my own mouth and my Grandma’s words filling hers. It is a metamorphosis more lovely and beautiful than springtime. To be honest, because of my own children, I now have a completely new appreciation for my mother. I never knew she was so cool!
Perhaps someday I will become as seemingly “perfect” in my children’s eyes as my mother is to them and, maybe, join the company of these marvelous women who came before me. But my boys are young, and I know I will have to wait many, many years before they have such a similar revelation. (That will happen, right?)
I’d argue that my job description often requires me to be a meany: a bedtime regulating, vegetable-doling, computer terminator—a position that makes even the strongest among us buckle.
To shake things up, tonight I will serve ice cream for dinner. Just this once. f
Jane Suter is one funny mom. Check out more essays at njfamily.com/jane.