Dear Travis and Casey,
I am an old mom now. My facebook walls are loaded with pictures of babies, sometimes ad nauseum, yet I understand. I remember back when you were tiny, how I wanted to share you with the whole world. How your blank, milk-drunk stare was different; cuter, better than the other babies. How I used to stare at you and wonder what in the world could be going through your mind? What were you trying to accomplish? What hurt? What made you happy? What the hell was I going to do with you?
I like now. Now is better for me. Now, I just look at your face and I know. I know when you are happy, when you hurt, and what you are trying to accomplish, although I still sometimes question what the hell I am going to do with you. I know you. And I like you, which is all I ever really wished for. Every mom loves their children, but not every mom can say she likes them.
There are different types of moms all around us. There are Pusher Moms. They push for achievement. They push for the best grades, the best coaches, the best teams and they put themselves front and center to earn their kids a coveted place in the world they believe their child is entitled to. There are the Whirly Moms, hovering constantly over their kids. They don't allow them to ride on the scary bus and are involved with every school function, reminding us that they're always there and so in touch with their child. Let's not forget the Martyr Moms, who complain about the endless driving and fundraising and practices and money that they pour into their kid's activity. (While their kid confides to friends that they hate the activity but aren't allowed to quit). There are the Couch Moms, who light another smoke and flip to another channel while their kids wander the neighborhood, eating homemade cookies in the Whirly Mom's spotless kitchen, wondering how they drew the short straw.
So many types of Moms. Yet you ended up with me.
You tell me I am not like the other moms, and I suppose I take that as a compliment. I didn't sign up for this to be your pal, or to put us in the poor house attempting to make you the next big thing. I am willing to take the hit and be the Mean Mom, especially if my actions will ultimately make you a better person. I have bit my tongue to not swear at the coach who disregarded you in favor of a showboat. I have sat on my hands to refrain from punching those who made you feel scared instead of welcome. I already suffered through primary school, so I temper the amount of time I spend there. It's your school, not mine, and I wonder how will you ever learn to take pride in it while parents are busy posturing there. I burn stuff. I oversleep. I make mistakes. I watch you fall. Sometimes I help you up, and sometimes I hold back while you find your own way back to your feet.
I do this because you are my world. You are my world in a world that I am not sure I like very much, so I look to you to help change it.
I watch you both growing up and walking a path that your dad and I tried to prepare you for. I beam with pride when you look my friends in the eye and carry on a conversation with them, instead of skulking down the stairs without saying hello. I marvel at your grades and your commitment to school, something that I never had until I was an adult and my hand was forced. Yes, you make me proud while at the same time I go ballistic over the ridiculous amounts of snack food I vacuum from the couch cushions. If Dad had a dollar for every time he endured a rant about The Pig People We Made I would be writing this from my palatial estate in Belize.
So, Travis and Casey, here we are. One of you in the middle of college, one of you just starting Middle School. You like each other. You like us. You like life. This is more than I ever could have prayed for. You are what keeps me going when I am exhausted and beaten down by the things around me. You are what I think of when I put restraints on an angry teenager hammered out of his mind. You are what I think of when I care for the suicidal 14 year old with cutter lines road mapping her arm. I don't know how they got to the place they're in, and I am not blind to the fact that it could happen to me, which is why I never stop trying my best for you. You are my refuge from the sorrow in this world. If every kid out there were shown the feelings we have for you, the world might be less despondent. To that end I challenge you to be a friend to someone who may not be a part of your circle. Show kindness to someone who doesn't normally get to experience it. You are smart enough to know what works, and we like to think we are smart enough to back your choices. We made you, and that made the world a better place. Now it's your turn to pass it on. Go now, and be amazing.
Love and Snack Food Crumbs,
Disclaimer: This post does not give you permission to make new people. New people are costly, stressful and not an option at this juncture. Also, if either one of you ever show up for an audition of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, I shall cut you.