Last week, The Scientist and I went to England for six days. Six days. Sans kids. It was spectacular.
But–I worried. I did. Not about the kids, who I knew would be fine. I worried about my parents. Would they survive? Would they be completely destroyed on our return? Would they beg us to never, ever, ever show them the faces of their horrible grandchildren ever again? I wondered/feared/suspected.
Not at all. I was wrong. When I said, “I’m sorry if the baby climbed in your bed 95 times a night,” my mom said, “Huh? He never did that.” There has not been a night in remembered history that Baby MoFo has not shown up in my bed–and when returned to his own room, he comes back. And back. And back. When I said, “Sorry if they wasted all the food you made,” she said, “They ate beautifully!” When I asked, “Did the TV ever get turned off?” she said, “It never got turned on. They love to read!”
The day after I came home, I went to the boys’ school for LL’s “Authors’ Breakfast”–a morning where second graders read from the books they’ve been writing all year (needless to say, LL’s books were about zombies, plants–as they relate to zombies, that is, and Ninjao, and soccer). LL’s teacher calls me aside. “Were you away?” she asks. “Yes, I say. Thanks for asking–.” “I was wondering–all week?” “Yes, we–.” “He was perfect this week. Best he’s ever been.” “Great.”
Of course he was. Because it turns out what my parents have suspected all along is true. They are better parents than us.
But today I decided I redeemed myself. This morning was Cool J’s kindergarten graduation. It was very cute: the kids danced around and sang various songs about being friends and sharing and all that other kindergarteny-type stuff. At the end, our attention was drawn to the mini-people on the wall that the kids had painted and decorated. Each child wrote under the words “After I graduate I” what he or she wanted to be. Our jobs, as the parents, was to figure out which minifig represented our own child. Was mine the own who wrote “I want to be an artist”? “I want to be a cook”? “I want to be an emergency room doctor?” No, I knew right away:
I could have picked any of the kids’ pictures. I could have picked the one whose said “After I graduate, I want to be a lactation consultant.” I could have–really. I could have, but I didn’t. And do you know why? Because I know my kids. I might not get them to eat their greens at every meal or stay in their beds or read regularly, but I know them. Because I am the best parent. Well, not really, but whatever.