One of the funniest things about my so-called maturation process has been my recent notice to the fact that I'm really beginning to sound like a real mother. You'd think that I would not be surprised by this as I've been a mother for nearly twenty-one years, but parts of the past twenty-one years have been a bit of a fog. Call it sleep deprivation or being overwhelmed...but I look at my two and wonder how in the world they got so grown while also realizing that I can't remember much about the time before they were here. It is like the focus has been on getting these two from birth to maturity...and now that I have one in college and the other one headed that way next year, I'm beginning to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train.
Except for the tuition bills.
For years, I had difficulty processing the fact that I was called "ma'am" believing that whoever it was must be speaking to someone older than me. Later, when people called me Mrs. Mixon...I thought that they were referring to my mother-in-law. I've grown accustomed to the fact that anyone under the age of thirty is going to call me one or the other. Seems like yesterday that I was under thirty.
Somewhere in the blur that has represented the last twenty years of my life...which has not surprisingly coincided with my entire stint of motherhood...I went from that...
Not that THIS is the end of the world, mind you.
I do have a little matronly thing going on...and I say things that crack me up when I read them on my phone where I've text messaged them at some later point in time. Yes, I text because I have children who communicate with me more readily that way than any other. Plus, it is difficult to hear "attitude" in a text message, so it is a win-win for both of us. They get to send it with it, and I receive it without it. Yay us.
One of the changes in "mom-speak" that I have noticed is my continuously evolving use of the word "business."
Age 20: "I'm majoring in business with a concentration in finance."
Age 30: "I need to take the kids to the potty to do their business."
Age 40: "I've been calling on that business for several years."
Today: "What is this 'taking a nap' business I'm reading about on Facebook?"
Yes, I actually texted that last one today.
To me, at this point in time, anything that I'm not real excited about will be considered "business" with a descriptor before it. Like..."What is this not doing well on that test business I'm hearing about?" or "What is this eating out business I'm seeing reflected on your checking account that is making your balance $1.04?"
I also say things like "Be careful!" as my kids leave the driveway like it is a magic incantation to keep them from doing stuff like changing the radio station, texting, or zoning out while they are out there. One day, my son just rolled down the window and said, "Really? Like I'm going to drive any other way intentionally?"
I have found myself stopping short of using certain sayings, but I do tend to repeat myself or ask the same question four different ways to be sure that they have answered me accurately like they don't know what I'm doing. Jill's tolerance level for this is pretty low, by the way. She has countered by giving me the entire truth - unvarnished - the first time around. Not that I'm complaining at ALL...but sometimes the truth needs a little varnish. Just saying.
I've found that my friend's "Golden Truth of Motherhood" is spot on, and some days I have to actually sit back and reflect on it when I'm feeling a little bit anxious or cranky for no discernable reason. The "Golden Truth of Motherhood" is..."A mother is only as happy as her most unhappy child." Truer words were never spoken.
When my children are happy...or reasonably so, I find that I can focus on whatever it is that I need to do. On days when they are unhappy, I cannot. It isn't as though I think I need to be involved in everything...but all of those years of sitting in the stands, natigating the waters of "girl drama" or dealing with disappointments wear on you over time. This tendency is also the reason why teachers are having so much trouble today in disciplining kids in the classroom or coaches have so much trouble doing what they do. Because some overzealous Mama or Daddy will come up and chew them a new one because their precious is not getting special treatment.
Yeah, I've had to fight that tendency myself.
Although I sound like a "Mom"...there are a few things that are not uniquely mine...they come from my mother, and her mother before that, and so on. Little gems of information that spill out every so often that make me appear really wise to my children. I'm grateful for those, and for the realization that raising children is a big job, but nobody has really perfected it yet. It legally ends at adulthood, but never really ends. That it puts your heart in a vise, but blesses you beyond your wildest dreams.
And costs more than you can possibly imagine in every possible way.
Yes, I am not only "ma'am" and Mrs. Mixon, I am "Mom." That Mom that wants to know what is going on with her children. The one who "adopts" some of their friends as if they are her own. The person who asks annoying questions to the point that they throw their hands up and give me the truth. The one who wants the best for them even if they don't have a clue what that is. The woman who loves them beyond measure but also enough to make them stand on their own two feet. And for this...I am thankful.