“Get ready for the hardest years of your life,” a friend told me when my husband and I started having kids.
What? Being a parent is supposed to be blissful! Purposeful! Enriching!
But as I round out a decade as a mother of two sons, I realize that she was absolutely right. Personal space, my side of the bed, a car that doesn’t smell like a keg of sweaty socks – all gone, within the blink of two C-section scars.
I’ve tried talking to my husband about it several times over the years – this, mind you, is the same guy who leisurely reads the paper, drinks coffee sitting down, and gazes blankly at his fingernails uninterrupted every morning while I’m yelling at someone half my size to brush Just. One. Tooth. – and he just shrugs.
“They’re in a mom phase right now,” he says. “Someday the tables will turn.”
Ah, Calgon … take them away.
It isn’t that I don’t enjoy my kids; I simply enjoy going to the bathroom by myself every now and then.
So here we are, on the eve of Father’s Day, and the tables have turned indeed. Camping trips, Angels games, fishing off the dock … suddenly it’s a party for three, and I’m the odd mom out. The only thing I’m good for these days, it seems, is a lice check.
Remember when Avis came out with that famous ad slogan, “We’re No. 2, so we try harder”? Genius marketing, and sound advice for anyone looking to reclaim their No. 1 spot.
Except that I’m not a mid-sized sedan.
Plus I’m really tired.
So how do I celebrate the man who took my kids away from me this year? Do I bring him breakfast in bed and give him a spa gift certificate for a facial and massage? Do I buy him a dozen roses?
I am a mother scorned this Sunday, hellbent to reclaim her title as the go-to for all things whiny, slimy and putrid.
You know those homemade “freebies” your kids give you for things like washing your car and doing the laundry that you never redeem because know they’re going to screw it up?
Daddy’s getting a homespun haircut and shave this year, compliments of our two young sons and his razor, as well as a barbequed hamburger dinner just how he likes it – extra rare.
Hey, it’s only fair he learn how it feels to be in the limelight the hard way, just as I did the year the three of them thought it would be a good idea to buy me a vacuum cleaner for Mother’s Day. There IS no glory in your glory day in our house, Hon – only a terrible mess to clean up and, in your particular case, a potentially fatal case of salmonella.
But on the off chance any of you think I’m being petty or heartless by punishing him for simply being a good dad, I did write him a poem which I promise to read to him this Sunday while he’s huddled over the toilet.
What do you give the dad who took has it all?
How do you say ‘thank you’ for nothing being so on the ball?
Is there anything you won’t do that I can do better for your loved ones?
Could there possibly be a mom dad out there who’s more fun?
On this day, they we cherish you, Dad.
Today and always, you’re the second best parent our kids have ever had.
Happy Father’s Day, Newport Beach. Enjoy your day.
And be careful what you eat.