“Hey, Mom. See my new last name? It’s Lutbrgr. So, if I do work, then everyone will know my name, Lutbrgr. That’s my work name.”
“Oh? Do you prefer Miss, Mrs, or Ms?”
“Ms. Definitely Ms.”
“What kind of work do you do, Ms. Lutbrgr?”
“I lift weights. Also hang on the gymnastics bar and do gymnastics.”
“Who pays you money to lift weights?”
“I pay money myself.”
I couldn’t make this kind of stuff up. Their words are priceless.
I swear that I’m going to remember them, each little goofy thought and amusing anecdote… but when the house finally quiets down, late at night, and I search for the treasures of the day, sometimes all I am left with, all I can think about, are the dirty pots and pans waiting for me in the sink.
And I am tired.
What even happened today? Did I make it worthwhile? Did I talk with each and every person in a meaningful way?
What did we talk about at supper?
I listen for echoes…voices laughing and yelling and trying to one-up the person sitting next to themselves.
“Sit by MEEEE.”
“He sat by you yesterday.”
“Can I have seconds?”
“I need money for school tomorrow.”
“Don’t kick me under the table.”
“Can I have thirds?”
“They’re all yelling!” Doug moans. “Can’t we just be civil and take turns speaking about something normal? I wasn’t raised this way!” (That’s the trump card, right there.)
Small One launches into another verse of “Frozen” as she passes the spaghetti.
“Let it GO, LET IT GOOOOO!” But they don’t let go, and Little Person number 3 knocks over her milk. It spills down through the crack between table extensions. Aww. Am I actually EVER going to get to eat? Because I’m hypoglycemic and feeling pretty ugly right now. I mop up the spill, and the spaghetti is finally passed.
“Spaghetti rhymes with Raghetti, did you know that? Raghetti is my favorite character in the Pirates of the Caribbean Lego Video Game, Mom. Did you know he can pop his eye out?” “Yeah!” Pipes up Another One. “And after he pops it out, he has another one! He has so many Lego eyeballs!”
Then, The Rivals lock elbows. They try to compete discreetly, but to no avail. It’s another battle of wills and wits. Who is taller? Who weighs more? Who gets more pepperoni? Who can win in arm wrestling today? Who gets to unload the dishwasher? Who has to load?
Those two have been wrestling for authority over each other since age 3. But it’s all good. As long as they still have affectionate nicknames for each other… and they do. They just like to compete.
And the final remembrance of my day:
“Hey, Mom. If you ever have to go away for a long time, can SHE be my mom?”
Sometimes this is actually a topic of conversation. Because when you have a lot of sisters, you have a lot of females telling you what to do.
“Brush your teeth!”
“Stop chewing with your mouth open!”
“Look what I have in this box….SNAP! Gotcha!”
One of my babies had two mommies right from the start. Really. He called me Mommy, because I am his Mommy. And he called his older sister Mommy. The Smaller Mommy, his big sister, always cuddled him, always had time to rock him, always cooed at him and hugged him and babied him and loved him. She cast off her American Girl Doll like wet socks left in the hallway when he was born. He was her very own living baby doll, and he loved her right back. That boy is now programmed to be adored.
Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: The Boy That Was Never Put Down! The Boy that was Cuddled Continuously Until He Could Tie His Own Shoes!
He was held and smiled at and adored until he was old enough to walk down the street.
That’s a lot of love.
Sometimes my adult children have complaints about things in their childhoods. Usually it is funny stuff like burnt fish stew that they had to eat anyway, or the Oatmeal Punishment, where they had to eat oatmeal until their bedroom was clean. For as many meals as it took… For as many days as it took… (That is a battle of wills no one won. We only succeeded in assuring Someone’s lifelong and thorough hatred of oatmeal.) Sometimes they remember the ways we really messed up as parents. And we sure did.
We still do.
I mess up every single day at this parenting thing. Every kid is unique, every situation is unique. There is no manual. Being a family is tough. And you never quite know at the time whether this is going to be just a moment, a flash in the pan soon forgotten, or A MOMENT, one of the moments they remember for the rest of their lives.
Which leads me back to Ms. Lutbrgr. I don’t know who these kids are going to grow up to be. I didn’t special order them…I made a lot of mistakes while they were (and are) growing up…
I don’t even know what we talk about at the dinner table half the time.
But you know what?
I love them.
And even if they hate oatmeal the rest of their lives, and carry deep regrets about the clothing they had to wear in junior high, they still have to admit that they were loved.
They were loved. They are loved.
And that is a good place to come from.
You go, Ms. Lutbrgr. Go get ‘em.