Being a mother is one of those jobs, much like being president or a rodeo clown, that you can't truly comprehend until you're in the midst of it. And while I knew (sort of) what to expect with some aspects of motherhood, some parts I couldn't even have dreamed up before I was living them. Lately, the most prominent is this: I never imagined I wouldn't be my kids favorite.
It's sort of a hard, sad fact to type out, but it's the truth.
My boys love me completely, but I inevitably play a low, second fiddle to their dad. I'm guessing this is a boy thing (I have no other frame of reference), but I didn't think it was possible for children to worship someone with such a zealot-infused passion as they do my husband.
Believe me, I get it. Dave helps them build forts and initiates bug hunts that require full camouflage. Just yesterday, he spent two whole hours helping them catch a lizard they promptly named "Albert." Once they caught the lizard they built him a house and tried to feed him small bugs before letting him go in a "Lizard Release Ceremony" that involved lighting small torches... I am not making this up!
I guess that's the problem too, I couldn't even make this up. I want to bake cookies, or paint pictures or read them stories and also, I think lizards are disgusting. I don't think like a boy and so it doesn't occur to me that none of mommy's favorite activities are that enticing when placed alongside daddy who is, let's be honest, just a really tall 10-year-old.
Mommy is the one who makes them brush their teeth and take their vitamins. Mommy is the one who shuts the TV off or refuses to let them mess with the iPad when they should be outside playing. Mommy is the one who thinks fruit is a great dessert and abhors sugar of any kind after 3 p.m.. Mommy is the one who makes them do chores on Saturdays and insists on the "yes ma'ams" and "no sirs." I'm the disciplinarian, the custodian and the nutritionist and none of those things rank anywhere near the awesomeness that is daddy.
Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful that I'm married to such a great father. I just sort of imagined the blind adoration might swing both ways. I mean, I did carry all three children in my body for 97 weeks total and got them into the world through a combined 84 hours of labor. But I'm not bitter or anything.
For what it's worth, a couple of weeks ago, Dave woke me up at 2 or 3 in the morning. Unbeknownst to me, Jackson had woken up daddy because he had a bloody nose and Dave wasn't able to make the bloody nose stop. He yelled down to me desperate for help and I could hear the utter panic in his voice. I slowly made my way upstairs and straight into the boys bathroom, which now resembled a triage unit. Blood was everywhere. Jackson was bent crying over the toilet letting this blood fall into bowl because Dave couldn't think of what else to do. "I can't make it stop, he's lost so much blood!!" he whispered anxiously. I could tell he was on the verge of asking if we should call 911 or rush Jackson to the ER. I calmly got some tissue and asked Jackson to blow his nose really hard (which most mommys know will help close up the capillaries). Next, I got a cold wash cloth and had Jackson hold it on the bridge of his nose... within a minute, all bleeding had ceased. I cleaned up the bloody bathroom and then headed back down to sleep.
As I walked to my bedroom it occurred to me, that that's why I'm here. I don't play the coolest games or secretly slip the boys Sprite and so I'm never going to win out the parent popularity contest. But if it wasn't for me, no one would know how to stop a bloody nose or where we store Neosporin. No one would ever make dentist appointments or remember the cupcakes for the class party and dinner would come from a drive-through five nights a week (the other two nights would be cereal).
I realized that while I'm not most popular, I might just be MVP. I'm hoping that even though they don't appreciate it now, someday, these boys, who I'm working so hard to turn into good men, will look back and appreciate their mom and realize that even though I didn't like lizards, I was pretty awesome too.