There are rare moments when I think, "Why the heck did I think I could raise four kids? This is such a disaster." But for the most part, I really enjoy being Mom. Especially--and yes, I know this makes me weird--to teenagers. They are a challenge like nothing I've ever faced, but man, when there's a pay-off it is so, so sweet.
Take this week for instance. Will. He's doing so great down there in Mexico. Before he left, he was really struggling; sure that he wouldn't make any friends, that he'd be so homesick he'd end up coming home, and that he would never learn Spanish. But none of these things has happened. He loves what he's doing and the people he's with and the language is coming along nicely. I've never experienced satisfaction like sending my newly-minted high school graduate out into the world only to find out that he's kicking trash. I'm so proud my cheeks could burst.
Then there's Emma and Cole. Oh my word, these two. They decided they were going to run cross-country together, which is great. But Emma is not a runner. She hates running with all her heart. And yet she has shown up the past two days, red-faced and exhausted when she's through. And she plans to continue so that she and her brother can have this experience together.
Before you think I'm bragging about my 'perfect' children, let me keep it real. So, a few days ago we went back-to-school shopping. Addy, Cole and I ended up in Justice--the glitter and neon All THE TIME store--just because. Cole spotted the training bras and couldn't stop laughing at how many there were, how many colors and designs--one had mermaid fins!--and how tiny they were. He's been making jokes about these 'practice' bras ever since.
Well, I think running makes Emma extra-sassy because at dinner she was not having it. "Cole, girls don't wear pretty bras because they care what boys think." Her chin jutted up and her eyes were hard and cutting. "We wear them for ourselves!"
Cole not being able to comprehend a girls desire to feel pretty underneath her clothes said, "I mean, why would anyone want to wear a purple bra? What is the point of that?!"
Without a single pause, Emma jerks her shirt up and yells, "I'm wearing a purple bra!"
For a nanosecond, everything went stone cold quiet.
My teenage daughter had just flashed her brother.
I dared to look at her, shirt still above her shoulders.
It was indeed purple.
It was also a very modest sports bra.
I hadn't failed as a mother after all. A laugh bubbled out of my throat. And then another and another. Then we were all laughing. Because, EMMA?!
Once we were done, the conversation shifted to who had a higher pain threshold. "You think you know pain? You don't know pain until you've had a period, bro."
All I've got to say to Emma is," You think you know pain? You don't know pain until you've birthed and raised four kids. That is some serious pain right there."
Oh, I can't forget about Addy. Sweet, sweet Adelaide. Her dream has always been to be a pastry chef. She loves cooking and has ever since she was big enough to snitch the cookie dough. This week she helped me make lasagna. "Cooking is so satisfying." Her dimple says it all. I'm so glad she already has something she loves so much. I also wish I felt that way about cooking.
When I was younger, I hoped my kids would be awesome as I wanted them to be. But now, I hope I can be as awesome as they are. Purple bras and all.