I regret my decision a little bit about not sending you to school this year. I was so worried given your speech issues and your fly-off-the-handle personality that I was worried that if I started you in school too early, that you wouldn’t necessarily get off on the right foot and thus screw up your whole transition in to school. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself – I tend to do that. Your speech delay is just about taken care of with the exception of moments when you become really excited and you hit an octave that makes my ears bleed and all your words kind of jumble together. We then have to stop you and ask you to calm down and to speak slowly and we can usually, seventy percent of the time figure out what you’re trying to say. The problem with you not starting school yet is you feel you are ready. You proudly walk Olivia in to her classroom with your lunch box in tow. There is no food in your lunch box – instead you pack it up with your Roar and various other toys you can stuff in the box as we make our way to the car. You proudly walk in, hang your lunch box up and get to work pulling out every toy in the classroom. You can imagine the catastrophic events that unfold when I tell you that we are in fact leaving and you are coming with me.
I understand the benefits of keeping you home: it allows more one-on-one time with you which has its pros and cons, the freedom to play with your toys by yourself without your bossy sister demanding you hand over everything you touch and a little more time to mature because let’s face it, it’s not going to fly when you have a major meltdown because you received white cheese instead of orange cheese. You’re not quite enjoying the alone time as much as I thought. Olivia and you are always fighting so I genuinely thought it would be a huge relief to have the entire of stash of toys to yourself. Apparently half the fun is driving your sister and mother batty. Instead you follow me around the house asking every ten minutes if it’s time for lunch. When you’re not asking me to make lunch, you’re asking me if it’s time to pick up Olivia. I can tell you now, neither question is enjoyable to hear on repeat.
In the rare moments that you’re not asking for food or for the whereabouts of Olivia, you want to play baseball outside. Apparently something stuck with all these baseball games we have attended this year because baseball is all you want to do. You dabbled briefly in golf when you learned that you could really cause some damage when you hit the ball just so. Inevitably you get tired of hitting the golf ball and instead turn your club in to a shillelagh. Yes, whacking people can be entertaining but it’s indeed frowned upon. We have spent many hours practicing baseball and it’s quite the workout for whomever the poor soul is who has to pitch to you (me). You’re pretty solid with the bat which is unfortunate for me because I spend a great deal of time running downhill chasing a wiffle ball that will most likely reach its imminent death in a somewhat busy intersection if not stopped. You often hit the ball and when you do, you come running toward me with a huge smile saying, “big hug and kiss, Momma.” You know I’m going to proudly retell this story over and over when I’m sitting behind home plate watching you play professionally. Who am I kidding, I’m going to tell anyone I hold small conversation with from now until the day I die. When we’re not playing baseball, you want to read your baseball books – for a moment, you couldn’t say your name but when asked when the Red Sox were established, you happily answered with, “1901!” It’s a pretty cool party trick if I do say so.
Our nightly bedtime routine is steadily growing in terms of minutes and that is in large part due to us having to sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’ This is then followed by you whispering the following in my ear, Roar happy, Roar mad, Roar sad, Roar Corn, Roar ____. The last part changes nightly. I then whisper the same saying in your ear and try to make you giggle by replacing the final word with something silly. I’m not sure where this came from but it’s random and it’s ours. In case you forget or you rename your lion at some point, Roar is the remnants of the once sunshine yellow fluffy soft stuffed lion you carry with you everywhere. That poor thing is so well loved that I’ll be surprised if we can make it another year without an appendage falling off. You love that lion so much that you have renamed yourself Miles O’Roar. It’s a good thing you live in California or that union would not be recognized. It’s sweet that you have something you love so much and if you love it to death, I have a spare in the closet. I don’t even have a spare case of water in case of an earthquake but a spare lion, that’s a priority.
It’s definitely strange with Liv back at school and being with just one child. You forget what that dynamic is like as soon as the second enters the picture. I’m not saying it’s incredibly easy because there are definite times when Olivia and you are at each other’s throats but you also entertain one another. You both could be in the cart battling it out for the last fruit snack but at least I can find a greeting card in piece without wondering where you wandered off to. Without Olivia, you want nothing to do with the shopping cart and instead wander like the old folks in Costco. I have to adjust how I do my shopping because there is no way you’re going to pass up the soup aisle without taking a good long five minute look at the Lightening McQueen branded Campbells soup can. These companies really screw parents from every direction. Knowing that I can’t disrupt this moment you’re having with the soup can without a major meltdown, I continue on with my shopping in the next aisle. Ten seconds had not passed when I hear a woman’s voice asking you, “hello there sweetie. Where is your Mommy?” Don’t worry ma’am, I know where he is. That’s when the employee goes off and tells me how worried she is – you shouldn’t be there alone in front of the soup cans because one is going to fall on your foot and hurt you. Listen, sister – perhaps that’s my plan! Maybe if the damn soup can falls hard enough, he won’t want to look at them any more and I will have five minutes of my life back.
Nothing is more enjoyable as a parent than being berated by strangers in regards to my parenting. Everyone has so much to say when you’re not crying but as soon as the tantrum begins, you would think I was walking around with an open bag of Anthrax – everyone scatters and there isn’t a helpful hand in sight. Not that I would take it – in fact, I’m pretty rabid in those moments when you’re throwing a tantrum. If someone were to extend their hand, I may bite it. You know the saying, it takes a village? It really doesn’t and if it did, I don’t want a village up in my business. I think the point is, when it comes to someone’s parenting, unless the kid is licking an outlet or playing with matches in a dry grassy field, leave the kid alone and let the parent deal with the outcome. I know I’m not the best parent and there are moments when I do in fact take my eyes off of you *gasp* but life goes on. I do my best to let you fall just enough that you know how to handle yourself. Obviously, I’m not going to be at your side every waking moment of every day and there will be moments that you will have to fend for yourself. Never in a thousand years would I have guessed how hard parenting is. Besides the difficulty of just raising a human being but the judgement from everyone else – sometimes it’s too much and the only thing I can do is try my best and hopefully you turn out decently. If you don’t become a meddler as an adult, I will consider that as a success.
Your uncle often struggles with why people would willingly bring children in to this world. People know that children can be a ball and chain with their nonstop food and general wellness needs and don’t even get me started on the monetary demands. Despite knowing the difficulty that comes with raising children, why do it? Do we do it thinking that we’ll raise someone profound because the odds are definitely not in our favor. As much as I try to open every path for you, chances are you won’t become someone famous or ground-breaking. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in you or I don’t wish for you to become something greater than the majority. Perhaps you won’t change history and you probably won’t pay back your dear parents who provided for you all those years but here we stand. I didn’t have you and Olivia because I thought it’s the thing society expects of us. I had you and Olivia because I met a wonderfully awesome man and I wanted to put equally if not better people out in the world. If it means that the lineage of well-loved happy people will continue on through time, I’m not going to skip out on this. Whether you become a “breeder” or not, the choice is yours. At the end of the day, do what feels right, not what you feel like you have to do. Be amazing or be ordinary. Be present in all you do and never hesitate to start over if the skin you’re living in doesn’t feel right. Just be, my dear. I want you to look back at your life and be proud of the choices you made. Travel the world and see all there is out there. Whether there is meaning to this life is anyone’s guess but it’s yours to make your own and you might as well enjoy yourself while you’re at it. Enjoy yourself with your own money though – this gravy train ends when you turn eighteen. At least that’s the dream.
You, according to my phone: