I Like Jello

“Children are living beings–more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves.  Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore

My husband and I both agree that our daughter is teaching us far more than we could ever teach her.  Things like patience, endurance, restraint, anger management.  Those are the prime lessons she’s teaching us these days.

It’s like Cali is Hurricane Katrina…and I’m one of the looters who just stole a flatscreen TV and is wheeling it through 3 feet of water in a shopping cart.  I’m assured that her behavior and disposition  is due to her brilliantly creative and imaginative mind.  As if this should comfort me.  I don’t care…I’ll admit it.  Sometimes I wish she was a blooming idiot so I could sit down and catch my breath.  Didn’t I read somewhere that Einstein’s mother became a hardcore whino and morphine addict shortly after he turned 2 years of age?  No?  Hm.  Thought I’d heard that somewhere.

I am in NO way implying that my kid is an Einstein.

I’m just saying that she’s got the brain of a criminal.  Or saint.  It could go either way.  There are some days when I fall down on my knees, cross my fingers and shake them at the sky, chanting, “Please don’t let her go to the dark side, please don’t let her go to the dark side, please….”

Yes.  The line is THAT thin.  Then there’s that weird voice in my head that periodically reminds me that I’m 100% responsible for the way she turns out.  While I know this isn’t entirely true….I know that I’m at least 85% responsible.   This responsibility rattles me.

I wasn’t exactly born with the god-given maternal gene.  People assume that every single woman in human captivity is born to be a mother.   Lies!  That doesn’t mean that these women are unfit or “less than”….it just means we have to work a little harder.   And I’m working my hiney off over here, people!  It sickens me when I see the text-book soccer mom looking down her nose at the mom who is doing good to show up on time with the kid intact.

If I’m at a playground with a bunch of other child-bearers, I’ll usually drift towards those whose kids are running around half-naked and filthy dirty.  I like to avoid the moms who point out that your kid’s pants look exactly like the ones they dumped off at Goodwill last month then ask you what church you’re a member of.  Really?

The grossly immature side of me would like to toy with the emotions of women like this.  Like maybe come back with, “Yeah?  Well I saw your husband on the East side last weekend at the Buckle Bunny and he sho nuff wasn’t looking like a Baptist preacher to me!”    While this may be a blatant lie….it’ll make her have to call her primary physician and ask for a nerve pill or two.  Not only that, she’ll most likely avoid the playground and that’s one less snoot to deal with.

Alas….I have matured.  Sort of.  All this parenting stuff has made me look at life differently.  Like maybe I need to take off my serious glasses and put on Cali’s ignorant 3D glasses held together with a piece of elastic, then run around the front yard half naked eating a banana.  Because somewhere along the line, I was misled into believing you HAD to be a serious parent all the time in order to keep the kid in line, otherwise no one would ever be allowed to come over to your kid’s house for a sleep-over.

I’m done with being concerned about the opinions of others.  No longer will I hold my child back from being magical because I’m worried about what the neighbors might think.  Who cares what the neighbors think!  The Trice family is weird as heck!  This isn’t a secret.  Everyone knows about it.  We grill out every Friday night while Cali dances in the drive-way listening to ghetto music blaring from the car stereo.   I’m the mom on the street that is constantly hanging out the door, cussing under her breath, screaming for her kid who ran off.  Again.

If encouraging Cali to live her life full throttle means we’re the oddballs on the block, then so be it.  What kind of mom would I be if I crammed a small child into an empty pickle jar and poked some holes in the lid.  Because that’s essentially what I’d be doing if i tried to squash Cali’s spirit.

Sometimes I’ll watch her sleeping and think, “Kid.  I hope you grow up one day and become super famous so you can publicly thank me and your Daddy for the sacrificial love you were given.”

And sometimes she’ll crack open an eyelid and say, “Please, mom.  Don’t be a mommy-martyr.  It sickens me.”

Then I’ll have to go look at baby pictures to remind myself of how cute and fuzzy she used to be.

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