Recently we had a nice family dinner.
At one of the daughter’s homes we gathered. With our families. Their very small children. Husband and I. After a wonderful meal we sat around as we are apt to do when our bellies are full and we are all hoping someone else will get up to do the dishes. It was a nice talk. My daughters took time to express their horror (is that too strong a word?) at my parenting style and all of the horrible things I did as a mom. By the way, they never exactly used the word “horror”. But when they were teenagers I knew they thought I was a …horror.
Of course it was in fun. And we were all laughing.
I have been thinking of this conversation today and I decided they are correct. I was a horror as a mom. And for that I say: you are welcome.
For all of the times that I said no, you may not go to the county fair without me, you are welcome. Because every time you went with me you had fun. And came home. Safely.
For all of the times that I said to you, in front of your friends and dates: no drinking, no smoking, no sex. You are welcome. At no time could you ever say I didn’t tell you what you could not do. You had very clear expectations created for you.
For all of the times that I made sure you couldn’t have a successful teenage party in my absence. You are welcome. Yes, you had the parties. Yes, you got busted. No, you never managed to have one that I didn’t know about. Yes I called your friends parents. And yes, according to you, your friends were scared of me. You are welcome. It made doing really stupid stuff that much more difficult.
For every time I drove to where you were staying and checked on you and what you were doing. You are welcome. The time I broke up the party at your dad’s house because he left you there and your friends all ran to leave you to face me alone (except the one girl who stayed, I still give her kudos) you are welcome. I don’t know of any of those friends who are anyone you could ever count on. Then or now.
For all of the times I let you say what you wanted to say to me as long as you didn’t yell at me. You are welcome. Even if I did yell at you. I always loved you enough for the both of us when you were a teenager. You always knew that. You are welcome.
For letting you keep your room like trash pits as long as you kept the door closed. You are welcome. Because now I have pictures to show your children.
For all of the family dinners I made us all sit down to quote enjoy unquote. You are welcome. I know that they were important to you. And even you had the insight to know that not all families did this. And it was a good thing to do.
For all of the times I lectured you until your ears bled. You are welcome. I greatly anticipate the day you open your mouth to lecture or yell at your kids and my words come out of your mouth. You freeze. You groan. And you say “OH MY GOD I’VE BECOME MOM”. You have no idea the joy I have thinking of that. I chuckled just now thinking about it. Oh golly. You are most welcome.
For all of the times I physically threatened your boyfriends you are welcome. There are those who believe I can kick their asses still. And those who don’t believe? They are just stupid. And we all figured that out. You are welcome.
For all of the times that I told you I was right and you are now discovering that I was, indeed, right….. you are welcome. As a mom you will discover the importance of this. Because when you are the mom, you are right when you are protecting your child. Even if you find out you could have done it better. You are right and powerful to protect.
For all of my love that made me over protective, unbearingly annoying, and excruciatingly bossy-you are welcome.
You are welcome because you know, if not then but now, how much I fully and devotedly, love you.
For all of the moments that I powered us through, you are welcome. Because it got us to days like this. Where we gather for dinner. We enjoy our family. We laugh at what was. We are grateful for where we were and where we are. And we find joy in the horror that I was. The day was good. The dinner was good. The history was good. The laughing was good.
I then got up and did the dishes.
You are welcome.