I remember one day a few years ago when I began to have those magic thoughts inside (Deana, Deana, Deana, you are really a great one. You are THE mother today; these children are so, so lucky.) I should know by this point that the immediate second that I think anything like that, I should STOP - I will soon be shown it untrue. But, alas, we go with it. For one fleeting particle of time, we relish the thought that we might be doing some wonderful things and our children just might not parade their childhood years in front of God and everybody on the Oprah equivalent of their day.
On this particular day, my children each had a friend or two over. I had cleaned off (well, used a one-armed swipe to slide the stuff into a large bag) the kitchen island. I had introduced those poor souls (who had never known the thrill of victory) to the sheer joys of shaving cream. I was changing their lives, one pile of cheap sudsy cream at a time. The babes giggled as they created masterpieces of mountains and flowers, they tossed blobs of the slimy mess onto each other, and I - oh great I in my laid-backness just giggled happily. It was an illustration for all of you, from me, the great one.
With a smooth segue from shaving cream to pizza fixings, we cheerfully cleansed the artful island to make room for our next adventure in fun moments. Out came all of the ingredients of a tasty pizza - whatever you could dream of - all in little bitty bowls to make it even more precious. The children were delighted. One little dab of shaving cream on each bitty turned up nose and a plop of pizza sauce upon every chubby cheek. Each child stood happily on a chair, enabling them to reach all of the needed parts of their own pizza extraordinaire. It was surely a moment they would never forget. It was beautiful. I pitied the poor parental fools who weren't like me, who didn't understand the secret of these moments. I was sorrowful for their boring souls - those regular parents, the ones who didn't come up with these unforgettable afternoons.
Some of the memories have left me now, but I am certain that some cheerful children's music played at just the right volume in the background; learning songs created just for the moment, I am sure. Other children in other places must have been thrown idly in front of their televisions, sad and bored, but oh no - not at my house. I was in the middle of parenting bliss and victory. I was good. I was managing many. They were happy. They were engaged. They were creating.
And there I was, thinking about how darn easy it all was, how sad I was for those around me who just couldn't figure it all out. Poor things.
(Here is where I would make the loud car-brake sound if I knew how to spell it.)
Here are but a few of the things that happened in the next milli-second, the one following my thinking I was such a divine instrument of parenting perfectness . . .
- one child slipped off of the chair and began crying
- someone's shaving cream from their shirt got a little bit mixed up in the pizza sauce
- there were not enough pepperonis to go around
- a couple of the children did not realize that the same hand motions used in manipulating shaving cream were not the same motions needed in pizza assembling
- one child tired of the pizzas and grabbed the can of shaving cream
- two children began to argue, thus sending a few of the toppings into the air
- another child slipped off of a chair
- there wasn't really a great way to mark each child's creation to be identified after the baking
- a couple of the little darlings weren't really hungry
- and then - worst of all - one of my darlings looked up at me, with big beautiful brown eyes and asked the unthinkable - "Mama, what are we doing next?"
WHAT? Next? Next, everyone under the age of forty will be air-lifted from the kitchen through a hole I will now blow myself and flown to another continent! And we will never ever use shaving cream again or make pizza again or maybe never eat again - that's what's happening next! Got it?
Hmmmm. Maybe that wasn't one of those moments of parenting utopia I had thought two and a half minutes before.
But, even though I know better, they still happen . . . had one the other day.
And, I believe tomorrow I'll tell you all about it.