Now I can hear you all going, “What the _____,” and thinking that I have really gone and lost it, but I swear to you that I am more sane today than I was yesterday just for admitting this fact. You see, I work with “the big kids” as my daughter often puts it, in that pubescent dominion otherwise known as high school, and when you work with this age bracket all day, you tend to look at your kids differently, to expect more. Believe me, it’s not consciously done-there is this voice inside you that says things like, “The students at school may not be listening to me, but my own kids better think twice before they ignore my request,” any time there’s a confrontation at home. And even though there is a giant age gap, this age comparison never comes to mind at the time.
Then there is the fact that I wear so many different hats during the day: wife, mother, teacher, adviser, leader, employee, and co-worker that I forget which role I am playing. My husband will occasionally take me aside and say, “Remember teach, you’re at home now.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t always stop me from lecturing on and on about topics ranging from the ins-and-outs of time management, to my favorite, you need to show respect in order to get respect.
But I’m getting off topic-I haven’t told you about the life changing event that helped remind me about my children's tender age. It was a small incident today when my daughter called me on my cell phone. (She now knows her daddy's and my cell phone numbers because we had an incident not too long ago when her school let the kids out early and the automated call did not get through to my husband’s cell phone-I’ll spare you the details, but she was at home alone and at 10 ½ she thought it was wonderful since she has never been left alone before, but I was a basket case!) And for a girl who shies away from phone conversations with her relatives, she certainly doesn’t feel the same when it involves calling my cell. Today she actually called me while I was sitting in our car, in our driveway, waiting for her and her brother to come out of the house so we could go pick up our movie rental. My phone started ringing so I answered and the conversation went like this:
“How are you?”
“I would be better if you were in the car. What’s taking you so long-I thought you were on your way out?”
“The boy “ (my son) “couldn’t find his shoes and now he's going to the bathroom.”
“Just hurry him up and come out.”
“Ok...MOM SAYS TO GET OUT NOW!” Click. Why do I ever think that if I get in the car first, my children will follow?
I quickly get out of the car, enter the house, get my daughter to stop bossing her brother and actually leave the house, and help hurry my son out the door, but it wasn’t until we were actually in transit that I started to think about my daughter’s phone conversation-it wasn’t what she said that had me lost in thought, it was more like how she sounded on the phone. I listen to her every day excitedly tell me about something at school, or whining for me to change the radio station because she doesn’t like the song, or being miss “know-it-all” with her brother, but even though I am listening to the content of our many conversations, I am not really hearing her. She tries to act all grown up with her insistence about how she wears her hair to the new wild style of her clothes, but on that phone reality sinks in and there is no mistaking the fact that she is still a little girl, my little girl, and I’m loving that fact right now.
She’s already in bed because we have a busy day tomorrow: practice in the morning, I have to fill the vending machine, and then team and individual pictures after practice, but thank goodness she’s opted out of the ballet training on Saturdays following practices... I went in to rub her back, something I have done since she was a baby and something she still has no objection to me doing, and I told her she was the subject of tonight’s post-I think she uttered, “Oh, great,” but I quickly reassured her that it was all good as I closed her closet door (you know, the boogie man's hideout), left her room door open a crack, and walked away smiling...