Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Postpartum Flashback

My friends think I'm lame because I get up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to curl (or straighten) my daughter's hair before seminary. They don't actually say, "you're lame," they say things like, "I could never be such a good mom," which we all know is code for "Get a life, girl!"

What they don't understand is the hypnotic power that beauticians (and bar tenders) have over the human soul. My daughter doesn't talk to me unless I'm doing her hair (or pouring her a stiff drink). For me 5:30 a.m is the witching hour when my little girl lets me into her world to have a look around.

From a distance, mind you.

Who would have thought this mother/daughter thing could be so . . . awkward. I always pictured myself as the cool mom, snuggling up in her bed at night and giggling about the cute boys and gossiping about the cute girls. She would spill her guts, then I would spill my guts, then we'd hug and be best friends forever. I never took into consideration all the eye rolling or the fingers in the ears, and I certainly didn't predict the talk-to-the hand wrist flip.

Last Mother's Day my tween son was required to write a list of 100 things he loved about me. My favorite was, "You don't mean to be mean, it's your job."

Now that's something to snicker over. That's almost something to brag about, like when I get evaluations from students that say "Too HARD!" or "WAY tooooo much homework!"

But the other day I was bringing my daughter and two of her teammates home from their soccer game. One of them went off about how mortifying her mom was because she yelled through the whole game (at least I don't have a loud obnoxious embarrassing voice).

But my daughter immediately piped up: "Well, at least your mom doesn't freak dance in front of your friends." Okay, that was only once and to my credit I was driving so their view was obscurred. Anyway, since when has freak dancing been uncool?

Mean I can handle, but embarrassing????


Postpartum flashback: I recall one Sunday afternoon vividly. My daughter was a classic daddy's girl from the start--always had to be in his arms when he was shaving and eating--wouldn't sit in her car seat or her high chair . . . or her stroller . . . or her crib (she was actually a little brat come to think of it) because the only place that suited her was daddy's arms. That Sunday was the only time I gave her a good scolding about it. In between sobs I told her how it was--how I had carried her around for 9 months and gone through 19 hours of blood curdling labor, in the snow, uphill, BOTH ways! I really let her have it. "I'm your mommy!" I kept saying.

Someday she'll be saying the same thing to her little brat, I've already cast that curse on her, but until then I'll be up at 5:30 a.m. curling her hair.



*MARY* said...

Oh yeah?! Well, I get up at 5:29 AM just so I can paint my daughters toenails before she has to get up for her early morning cartoons. So I can relate.
You're not lame nor in need of a life. You're just a really great mom, like me.

Lisa (Funny Farmer) said...

My oldest is 16, and although I don't straighten her hair at 5:30am (Due to His Infinite Mercy, I live in an area with Released Time Seminary!!), I do wait up for her when she's out on dates, and then we spend at least another hour talking, 'cuz she spills her guts late at night. No cuddling in the bed though. That's just weird. For me.

It's funny how things are so different from what I imagined: babies and toddlers require a lot of time and often unpleasant manual labor. Teenagers require a lot of time ... and sometimes unpleasant emotional labor. Huh... for some reason I never saw that coming.