This morning, Julia spent 20 minutes before breakfast writing me “notes” on star-shaped Post-its. “What do these say, Julia?” (I can still ask questions like that without her getting upset that I can’t read her writing. She’s almost 4. It’s coming.)
“Well, I want you to eat healthy, so it says, ‘You should eat healthy things like vegetables that are good for your tummy.’ ”
“What about this one?” I hold up another star. The writing is blue, and I can see a J, some circles.
“That one says, “Eat fruit because it’s healthy. And candy.” She’s smiling huge now.
We’ve been talking a lot about eating healthy this month. Julia wonders why I don’t have a sandwich at lunch or why I won’t share a cookie with her. And last night when we had family pizza night, she clearly noticed my salad-filled plate. She’s stepped into the role mommy lately. She grabs Max’s hand to help him through the parking lot at school, and her baby dolls are tucked in each night. Her teachers tell me she uses the toy doctor’s kit to give her friends checkups. She loves taking care, but I never thought that Julia would be the one to hold me accountable.
I am though, totally accountable for healthy eating. She gently puts her hand on my forearm or asks me what I’m doing when I try to sneak a spoon full of peanut butter. And she is even catching on to my wheat-less ways. It’s that’s a good thing.
As her mother, I’m her teacher and role model. I get it. And I see it all the time in the way she stands, the words she says. And I see it in moments like these. I’m happily held accountable and happily healthy as a result. Thanks, Julia.
Do you have someone or something to hold you accountable? Tell me about it.
Here’s what you really need to know about me: I’m a mother.
And I’m not the kind of mother who sits still while babies crawl between her feet. I’m not the mom who watches from the sidelines and hopes she doesn’t break a nail. I’m the kind of mother who gets dirty, who picks playing trains over doing the dishes. Who stops everything to watch a ballet twirl and then tries to twirl too. I’m the kid of mom who builds sand castles at the beach, who picks toddlers up and over waves to make what could be scary fun. I do impromptu photo shoots. I’m the kind of mom who pulls pack hair while little ones vomit, who has been puked on, who gives baths in the middle of the night, who wipes noses and faces and tears. I’m the mom who buys kids clothes and toys second hand, who isn’t afraid of a road trip with full car seats, who knows all the words to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song. I do time outs and hug-to-make up, please and thank you, and yes ma’am. I’m the kind of mom who looks forward to nights off but cries when she goes away without them. I sing songs, play games, dance, laugh, and then laugh again. I’m that kind of mom.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The other day I read this line on Dare 2 Dream Dare 2 Do: “In those moments between not-mom and mom, two new individuals were born.” It’s the perfect way to say it. My children created me as a mother and as a woman, and I wouldn’t change that either.
After each of my children was born, there was a stretch of time that I didn’t sleep soundly enough to dream. With a wake-up call every 3 hours or so, my subconscious never had the chance to go crazy. But I welcomed that dreaming sleep with open arms when it did come. I love to dream, as long as it’s pleasant. And my dreams are vivid and amazingly wild things that make for good conversation over coffee the next morning as I try to figure out just what it all means. But lately my dreams have been even more over the top than usual. And they’ve been dark, long, haunting, stick-with-you kinds of tales. Not nightmares exactly, but unsettling enough to disrupt my sleep, wake me up, and leave me wondering what happened.
Last week, I dreamed I lived in a huge and sprawling castle. It was dark and wet and cold. And one night while I was sleeping (yes, I dream about sleep a lot lately) in a narrow, straw bed, I was kidnapped by some kind of spirit who lead me through the tangle of castle hallways until I was somewhere I didn’t recognize that was filled with giant-sized alligators. I had to swing above the snapping jaws on ropes that hung from the ceiling while I tried to find my way back. It felt like days, but by the time I did make my way back to the straw bed and the familiar part of the castle, years had passed, and that’s when I woke up.
In another dream, I worked in a fried seafood restaurant at the aquarium. (This sounds totally strange to me too.) The aquarium was always busy, to the point that they’d set up barriers so you had to stay in line through each exhibit and move like cattle around the fish tanks. People from my distant past kept coming to visit, but because of the lines, they couldn’t stop to give hugs for say hello, so I was always waving good bye and wishing I could stop the tours. I lost my waitress job because my boss said there was no more work at the end of the season. And that’s when I started dating a fellow server who doubled as a drummer in a rock band. The rest of the dream was spent laying and sleeping (again) in grassy fields around the aquarium, and as time passed my boyfriend gradually became less attractive. His dark, spiked hair grew long, stringy, and uneven; he got pimples and gained a lot of weight while he complained about losing his job. And that was enough to wake me up.
I know you can’t control what you dream. But wouldn’t it be amazing if you could? And do dreams really have hidden meanings? What do these dreams mean? I’m going to look into it, and I’ll let you know what I come up with.
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