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Those hard questions

Yes, the Herd has been on something of a hiatus this summer. Truthfully, I’m still working on fitting all the new pieces of the puzzle together, and have been trying to just be in the moment rather than always thinking about how I’m going to write about the moment. What it comes down to is this: I’m freakin tired! No one ever told me having high schoolers – high schoolers involved in any kind of activity – means you essentially don’t get summer anymore. Bless, between a trip to Palm Springs, two weeks off from cheer practice, and Big Man being at cross country camp for five days, I’ve had a few sleep-in mornings, but we’ve had two (TWO!) beach days all summer, and one of those was over the weekend. I’ll update, at some point, what we’ve been up to. But for now, I give you this….

Remember the Princess likes to ask some of those “holy hell, what now?” questions, usually while we’re driving to or from dance? Yeah, that. She unleashed a few beasts last night. They’ve been twirling around my brain. First, she asked when I knew I didn’t want to be the same kind of mom my mom was. Wait, what? Not even going to touch that one here. Then she comes at me with, “What would you change about yourself as a mom?” Good grief. She doesn’t pull any punches, does she?

What would I change about myself as a mom? In some ways, I wish I were the mom that LOVED to get down on the floor and play board games with my kids. I detest board games. Drove me insane to even attempt them when the kids were little. Zero patience. Nada. Zip. Zero. But you go with what you’ve got, right? So I learned to accept I wasn’t that mom. Not a huge fan of the disaster crafts seem to leave behind either, but we’ve done our share…which accounts for the fabric paint on the kitchen table, family room carpet, and sofa, as well as the stack of contact-paper-laminated Thanksgiving and Christmas placemats taking up space in my buffet, (I actually really love taking those out every year – they make me smile), and who knows how many sheets covered in paint/glue/glitter. I don’t really like forts made out of sheets, pillows, couch cushions, blankets, and everything needed to hold said fort together. Why don’t I like them? Because I’m the one who only ever ends up putting everything away.

Are you sensing a theme here? I wish I cared less about messes. I wish I had more patience. I wish I was less easily frustrated. Those are the things I would change most about myself as a mom. Notice she didn’t ask me what I think I rock as a mom? That just dawned on me. Maybe I’ll bring that up when we’re driving to dress rehearsal tomorrow…equal time, right?

She also asked me what I would change about Big Man’s personality, the one so much like my own. I just see him doing things the same way I did in high school, in life, and I would (and do) push him for more – to do what he’s capable of, at the level he’s capable, to speak up for himself, to advocate for himself, to not give up when things get hard, to not always take the easiest path just because it’s easy.

And then she asked me what I would change about her. I’ve said before, I wish I’d been half what she is when I  was her age. She’s me, to the power of ten. She’s courageous. She’s a fighter. She goes after what she wants. She’s determined and focused. She sticks up for those who need a champion. She’s a perfectionist. She can be fearless. So what did I tell her I would change? It’s something most women probably need to change. I told her, when she compares herself to those around her, she only remarks on the negative. She doesn’t comment or even seem to notice/recognize her own strengths, those skills and traits with which she stands out.

Like I said, these questions have been floating around my mind since our conversation last night. It hit me when we were driving home from Costco this morning…she  never asked what I would change about Little Man. Maybe it’s obvious in her mind – take away  his autism. But when I asked her about that this morning, she said taking that away would change who he is completely, including the awesome and really cool parts of him. We would just make life easier for him.

She really doesn’t let me slide on this mothering thing. She has that tendency to ask me things I’d rather not address even in my own mind,  much less in a conversation with my daughter. But she makes me bring those things out into the light, look at them, analyze them, talk about them. Hopefully someday, I’ll see the results of these talks in the form of a healthy relationship with her, and seeing her as a successful mother to her own inquisitive daughter.

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