Saturday, 02 February 2013
It was in the middle of a very touching moment. She had impressed me with her kindness when speaking about a girl that no one liked in her kindergarten class and I bent down in front of her, so that she could see the sincerity and pride in my eyes. I was telling her how wonderful she is and what a kind heart she has. And I noticed that she’d stopped beaming at me and has focused her attention to my mouth. Her smile faded and her brow slowly furrowed as she slightly leaned in to get a closer look. It’s like she’s looking at a smooshed snail; slightly intrigued, slightly grossed out… I realize I’ve lost her attention, so I wrap it up with a “You make me so proud…” and as I lean in to give her a smooch, she stops me, a single finger up to ensure no contact is made, “You have a pimple on your lip mom," she says, disgusted.
Now, anyone who has kids knows that their raw truthfulness, though innocent and naive, can CUT you like a knife. Nothing takes you out of a snuggly, sweet moment, cuddling with your kids, like a “Mommy you have a chubby belly, blub, blub," as they grab it and jiggle it around. Or when you give them a big, happy hug during after school pick-up and they look right into your eyes and say, “you’re wrinkly." My hand immediately went to my cheek, where a kiss should have been planted and I say light-heartedly, “Well, mommy is old…” and I quickly, playfully grab her in for the bear hug. She giggles but manages to get out a muffled, “You ARE old mama.” Then she shrugs, smiles big, and skips on ahead of me, looking for sticks and dandelions. And I just love her so much, my bones ache.
Nobody can prepare you for the love that you feel for your child. No one can explain to you how much you can still love your child even in the midst of their sometimes harsh and truthful criticism. It’s pure observational honesty. They’ve yet to learn a filter for this.
And though I’m relatively unaffected by her observations, they do hit you in a place that reminds you; that they are the child and you are… not.
Once we were in the car, I pulled down the visor mirror to see just how bad it has gotten in the bright afternoon light. It’s not good, so I apply some lip gloss and move on. As my kids settled into their seats and buckled themselves in, my son saw the stuffed piggy he’s had since he was a baby in the laundry basket, waiting to be washed. He picks it up and hugs it close like he used to and says, “Mom, it smells like you!” (Uh-Oh) “Oh yeah? What’s that smell like?” I take a breath and brace myself, he says, “home.”
And there you have it.
Do your kids tell you you're fat? Do they embarrass you in public by grabbing your belly? Do they point out things you hope no one will notice? Are they embarrassed BY you, yet?