“Everyone have a glance at Sam’s ears. He may have only one after school.” I know it’s terrible to say, and before I had kids, I would never have imagined that I would say something, that would scare my kids into believing that they would loose their ears from frostbite, but there it was. Okay, not nice, but I was frustrated, here we are on the way to school, ten minutes late, and I look back and see that my ten year old son doesn’t have a hat on and it’s –20 degrees with a windchill of – 34 degrees. Not to mention of course that, I have told all three of my boys, eleven, ten, and eight, over and over again to wear a hat and gloves, especially on a sub zero days.
Luckily, Sam found a hat on the floor of the van and as I drove away after dropping them at school, I remembered a babysitter my kids had a while back. She was a lovely lady and back then I thought she was a borderline saint. The day she told me the monster story I saw she was human too. She’d said that she and her husband and two kids were on a long road trip, the kids were fighting most of the way. After a while, she lost it, and told them that there were monsters in the woods ready to grab naughty kids and eat them. She’d said that the rest of the trip was peaceful and the kids were well behaved, probably terrified I expect. After hearing her story back then, I said to myself, I would never say anything like that to scare my kids. Yeah right, who was I kidding.
It’s one of those things I have learned first hand, “never say never”, and boy have those words come back to haunt me more times than I care to admit. It started when I became pregnant, it was peaches and cream, flowers and fairies, and I was on cloud nine. People would say, enjoy it now because it’s the last time that you will be spoiled or pampered, boy was that sage advice. So for the birth of my first son, I had set my self up to refuse pain medication, saying that I had a good pain tolerance, I could white knuckle it. I would be a hero, for who I don’t know. After thirty-six hours of labor and being on the “drip” also known as, induction, I actually swore at my husband, in front of my doctor and three nurses, to give me some medication.
So began my journey of disillusionment with the word never.
Next never. I will never lose my cool with my kids. Flashback to the day, in the middle of winter, that I threw a skateboard out in the snow bank because I had tripped on it one too many times. Three faces pressed to the patio door glass, staring at the two back wheels sticking up from the snow. Guilt washed over me and I went out to get it. One foot on the icy step and bang, down I came on the concrete stairs. The bruise that I was left with, the size of a coconut on my derriere was another reminder to try and hold my cool, and “never say never” laughed at me.
Next never. I will never spend my free moments cleaning and cooking. I will sit down and enjoy a coffee and maybe some crafts, whatever I want to do. Right, no one told me that I would have at least ten baskets of laundry a week, food under the table, so much homework that I sometimes say that I want to quit school. Pee on the floor, sometimes in the garbage can and often on the wall. Asthma attacks, twenty-four hour flues, stitches, and broken bones. Swimming lessons, and soccer, hockey, skateboarding, summer camps, spring break camps, doctors appointments, the list is endless. No one told me that I would pretty much give up everything that I was before I had kids. But no one told me how much it would mean to me, when my children succeed because of something I’ve done for them. The happiness of seeing them become who they were destined to be, to grow, achieve and turn from a caterpillar to a butterfly. No one told me how good it would feel when I read sweet poems about what I do for them, and how they say I love you when I am having a bad day.
For those moments I will take the tears, stress, maple syrup down the heating vent, and watch them sleep at night, grateful that I have made it through another day. I will remember that it isn’t easy being a parent and there are days when you tell you child that their ears might fall off if they don’t wear a hat, but it is a job that I wouldn’t give up for the world. Although I have definitely given up the word “never” because I am certain that every time I say it, the universe conspires to make me sorry that I ever did.