They say that children (tweens and teens in particular) act up at home because, regardless of how very egregious their behavior is (and it can be very very very egregious), they know you still have to love them.
This is good, right? This means that we are raising emotionally healthy, stable, confident kids.
It also means that those of us who are mothers are rarely appreciated and quite often discounted if not downright disrespected. I've come to terms with it. For the most part. I no longer expect a "Thank you" when clothes are clean, beds are made, lunches are packed.
But what about miracles? Honest to goodness miracles? What about the times when disaster is thwarted because — and only because — mother knew best, mother was prepared, or mother moved heaven and Earth to give her cherished offspring the outcome they desire?
We are moms. We work in mysterious ways, our wonders to perform. And still ... we're taken for granted.
Example. Yesterday morning, at 7:22 am, my daughter was leaving the house precisely on time (rather a miracle in itself, but I digress). Suddenly, she stopped. "Oh no," she said, panicking. "I forgot. I need a poster board for science!"
Her mother of miracles sprang into action. "Hang on!" I told her, as I raced up the back stairs, knelt next to her bed and pulled out ... a poster board. Pristine, still in its shrink wrap from Staples. I went down to the kitchen, triumphantly holding my prize. Did she say "Gee, thanks?" Did she say, "Wow, how did you know I'd need one?" Did she say, "What a relief?" Nope.
She said, "Oh no, it's the kind with the grid on it."
Huh? Sure enough, the poster board in question, had a faint, palest of blue, checkerboard grid, designed to help make any middle school writing or drawing or pasting straighter. I probably paid extra for it. And, truly, you had to hold the board up to the light, just so, to even see it.
Hello?!? Did I miss something? It was 7:22 in the morning and I found her a poster board. Science project beggars can't be choosers! As Miss Patty would have said back at Sundance Preschool ... "You get what you get, and you don't get upset." Sheesh!
Back to my story. Disaster averted, miracle performed, my daughter reluctantly decided that the grid-free back side of the board would do. She muttered, "Bye," and rushed out to meet her BFFs and walk to school.
Maybe she's so nonchalant about these motherly miracles because they're nothing new. Been there, done that. Let's see ... there have been elaborate costumes created overnight, complex scheduling conflicts untangled, emotional middle school mine fields negotiated safely.
I tell her, "Trust me, it will all work out." I tell her, "Don't worry, we'll get it done." She tells me, "Thank you so much." Um ... NOT. Well, rarely anyway.
Recently, I found a notebook of poems that my daughter wrote in fourth or fifth grade. There were a wide variety of styles: haiku, limericks, rhymes, shapes. And, she had written acrostics for all of her family members. In honor of my recent poster board miracle, I decided to write my own ...
M is for the MIRACLES, performed on a regular basis
O is for OTHERWISE you, dearest daughter, would be up the proverbial creek
T is for all the TIMES I bailed you out
H is for the HYSTERICS we've averted, barely
E is for EXTRASENSORY perception, which you clearly expect me to have
R is for REALLY, it's my pleasure. No thank you required.