Whenever someone tells me that they’re tired, I tell them that I understand, as I’ve been tired for eight years. I’ve been this way pretty much ever since the moment the doctor congratulated me and said, “It’s a boy!” The Snark-e-Card company has a quote that says, “Great parenting lies somewhere between ‘don’t do that’ and ‘ah, what the heck.” I think I agree. There is sometimes a very fine line between my “over-parenting self,” and my “I’m-too-tired-to-ask-why-you’re-being-so-quiet self.” Still, my husband and I must be doing something right, because after our recent family vacation to Disney … I realized just how amazing my children really are.
Let me start with the preface that amazing and perfect are two very different things. Great as they may be, mistakes are to be made, and often at that. It’s pretty embarrassing, to say the least, when your son (enthralled by the video game the kid behind him on the plane is playing) turns to stare like an open-mouthed neanderthal and lets the gum fall out of his mouth onto the floor! What’s even more awesome is awkwardly having to ask the lady behind me if I can crawl on my hands and knees in between her twins to retrieve the rogue sticky mess, just as the “fasten seat belt” sign dings, and the entire surrounding area laughs at my predicament. Thanks for that buddy – thanks. And yeah, on the plane ride back, my daughter decides to have the equivalent bladder control of an expectant mother in her ninth month. Nothing shouts “good time” like squeezing past nauseated passengers on a turbulent flight to stand beside minuscule bathrooms whose scent is akin to a port-o-potty in the air, all while staring into the face of the flight attendant who is seated with his seatbelt fastened between the two make-shift bathrooms.
Unfortunately, I think my kids had the opinion of Laurence J. Peter who said, “If two wrong things don’t make a right, try three.” Because in a moment, we were off the plane, and my son decided he knew where he was going, managing to both get in the wrong line for Disney transportation, while also forcing us to cut in front of all those before us so we looked like entitled jerks as we boarded the right bus first. I wasn’t sure whether to be mortified or proud of his tactic.
If the flight and airport were the entirety of our trip, I might have more cause to challenge myself as a parent, but the things I saw at Disney … let’s just say it was magical how great my husband and I felt about ourselves after a trip to the kingdom. In short, here are my favorite witnessed moments:
- I passed a little boy who singlehandedly was trying to shove both fists into his mouth simultaneously as his parents looked blindly on.
- I saw a much-too-old kid picking his nose and, yeah … you know.
- I heard a mother plead with the two-year-old she was dragging out of the bathroom stall saying, “Don’t bite me Jack, just wash your hands.”
- I watched a toddler crawl on the ground (THE GROUND) at the fanciest restaurant, only to scream when anyone but her mother tried to pick her up.
- We had a gaggle of plastic-looking-teenage-somethings behind us at the Beauty and the Beast show wearing matching white tanks, identical dyed hair and way too much make-up shift and squeeze themselves together to get a “selfie” until I suggested taking a picture for them, at which point they looked at me like I was a genius, and handed over their phones.
- I watched a frantic father with an empty stroller whiz around the marketplace looking for his lost little one, as another, completely different little girl stood with about five Disney personnel crying her eyes out because her parent left her behind.
- There were a slough of screaming strollers, complete with feet-dragging little wonders who then cried louder when their shoes, laces, blankets, or toys mysteriously tangled with the wheels of their ride.
I could go on and on and on, but the truth is … the longer I was surrounded by everyone else’s random kids, the more I realized how grateful I was for my own. Sure we had mini-meltdowns, sure we stayed up too late and whined a bit for snacks, but comparatively-speaking, my little miss and mister were in kingdom-worthy form. And truth be told, a little bathroom obsession and gum in the backseat doesn’t seem so bad.
So my darlings … I thank you – for simply being you.
Mommy (Also Known as Elle)