On Humility :: A Mother Brags About Befriending Monsters and Lying to Her Children

When my son was three years old, he became friends with a fly. 

This story doesn’t end well.

Not knowing the strong {very real} attachment my toddler had developed for the insect in the mere 75 seconds he had known it, I ended the creature’s life without a second thought {and a hell of a swing}. The deceased was already relocated to a trash bin by the time my son let out a wail that shook me to my core. 

“YOU TOOK MY FRIEND AWAY FROM ME! I WAS SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM!” he screamed, clenching his tiny fists into balls; snot, tears, banana goop–pouring down his face. 

I was speechless. But really, not that surprised. 

You see, he’s my tender one. Softer than his little sister; crumbles a bit faster. But a fearless defender of the weak. 

And I had just crushed his friend. There’s not many ways to come back from that. 

“Oh, baby. I am so sorry. I didn’t know that he was your friend. I’ve never had a friend that was a fly, but you are the kindest boy in the world so I understand why he chose you. Would you like to say a prayer for him and we can tell him good-bye together?”

The next 30 minutes consisted of intense talks about insect heaven, Google searches to find an accurate picture of his friend to print out and frame, and a moving lyrical dance piece that I composed, ON THE SPOT, during our Hall and Oates tribute. 

I don’t think either one of us will ever forget that day. 

That was one of the first moments that I ever felt like a real mom. Like, I wasn’t just playing a part. Up until this moment, I had clearly done all the right things {my kids were alive and mostly clean} but I felt like I was going through the motions–reacting, for the most part, based on what I had learned from others and what I had read. Nothing came naturally. Sometimes I felt like a fraud. 

But because I had to deal with something no one and no book had ever prepared me for, death of a fly best friend, I had to make up a solution on the spot. And that solution involved dance and art and storytelling and trusting my gut that I knew what my son needed at that painful moment. 

And I realized something about myself that day :: I was a terrific mom. The exact mom, my children needed. Even if I did things a little differently. 

And for someone that experienced soul-crushing postpartum anxiety for the first precious years of my children’s lives, feeling extremely inadequate and lost, what I discovered this day was a small feeling of freedom and empowerment–I might not be winning prizes for the big things {leading bake sales and preparing only organic meals} but there were a ton of little things that I could do exceedingly well for my children. 

It’s so easy to waste daylight tearing yourself apart. To list all your shortcomings as a mom. To compare. To wish for. To pretend to be. 

I do enough of that. Today, I just want to talk about how freaking fantastic I am. And what I bring to the momming table. I encourage you to do the same. 

THINGS I AM AMAZING, FANTASTIC, TERRIFIC, WONDERFUL, SENSATIONAL, {OMG, HOW DOES SHE DO IT!?} AT :: 

Befriending the monster under the bed

  • His name is Andy Cadillac. He collects blue Legos {and ONLY blue ones}. He has four arms, all varying shades of purple, and a retractable tail {his favorite party trick}. He’s sensitive about his scaly toes and considers his fifth eyeball to be his best feature. And as much as he enjoys hiding under beds, this is only his side hustle while he saves up to go to Monster Medical School. He’s never eaten a kid and has no plans to. This has made bedtime much more enjoyable for all parties. 

Introducing my children to exceptional music 

  • No time for Baby Shark; currently working our way through The Beatles’s White Album {the decent bit} and we start most mornings with Mr. Leon Bridges. Weekends revolve around Dr. John and Professor Longhair {we’re Cajuns, cher}. Hall and Oates, CCR, and The Greatest Showman soundtrack rotate throughout the day. And that’s all I can get away with until they are a bit older. 

Finding wishing trees and hidden fairy doors

  • It’s kind of like I have a sixth sense. But more like I don’t really have a problem lying to my kids. We go on many walks and I always happen to find the most magical things in the most ordinary places. They think their mama is a wizard. I’ll never tell them otherwise. 

Bedtime story voices 

  • When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. Getting to read bedtime stories to your children is basically the same thing. I really shine when I’m making a pirate come to life. Or a skeptical detective with a southern drawl. And I have moved many a human with my uncanny Elmo laugh. I think engaging your children in a story is one of the most important gifts we can give them. It can lead to lifelong readers–which is something I will always fight for. 

Repurposing Toilet Paper Rolls/Cereal Boxes

  • And I’m not talking about the obvious telescope or Hot Wheels garage. I’m more about the complex bridge system for my daughter’s My Little Ponies that I plan to wow them with. Or even better, I’ll encourage my son to accept the role of contractor and draft a plan for our multi-level Dinosaur exhibit–all Barbies and Transformers are welcome. 

Halloween

  • It’s our favorite holiday. We begin adding fake cobwebs in July. Hocus Pocus every Tuesday night leading up to it. We sing “Little Shop of Horrors” on the way to school. And we each have about 14 costumes for different events. And no less than 50 pumpkins. 

Making coffee shops NOT boring

  • As a stay at home mom, one who is trying to be an adult and write, coffee shops are my safe haven. But where I go, the kids follow {part of the gig}. So, they have grown up in coffee shops. They have their special orders {extra froth in the milk, chocolate croissant, one boiled egg}. They bring their special toys {Dollar Store finds that we only play with at coffee shops so they remain somewhat fun} and I’ll think of an easy craft they can do by themselves. It’s become something we all look forward to. And if a dog is there, you can add another 15 minutes to my free writing time. 

Bath time

  • Two words :: Bubble. Mountain. 

I’m not heading up the PTA, practicing baby Math on the daily, or losing sleep over screen time. I don’t cook, bedtimes vary, and their socks seldom match. 

But I’m good at a ton of other things. Like bragging. And lists. {See above.}

What are some things that come naturally to you as a mother? Or just things that make you feel like a rockstar? 

We could all use the reminder. 


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