When my son was in Kindergarten, a funny new friend of mine (the mom of his bestest bud in class) walked up to me one morning and slapped me in the arm.
A bit surprised at being hit before 9am, I asked: “Ummm….what was that for?”
She shook her head, pointed an accusatory finger and said: “You had to go and be That Mom, didn’t you?”
This made me grin and reply: “It was The Class Bear, wasn’t it?”
Now her brows were furrowed, arms crossed, and she muttered: “That damn bear…”
The kids in class got turns taking The Class Bear home, and were to write about his adventures. I took it beyond that, making a photojournalistic album of all he had done. Mr T was so excited to have earned the Class Bear, that I made it the most awesome two days that filthy Beanie Baby has ever experienced.
The reason I took her by surprise by doing so, is that my standards are usually pretty low.
I’m always behind on cleaning, we grab clean clothes from the piles in the dining room, most meals are microwaved, the TV is my most dependable babysitter and I am often found hiding from my children.
But I know how to have a good time. I know how to take something like Class Bear and make it memorable. I know how to play with kids, make them laugh, get them happy.
I know what it’s like to want to grasp onto joy and shake it til everyone around it can feel it all over.
I joke with my kids (and their friends), chase them, let them use me as a Jungle Gym, show them how to run dancy screamy laps in the basement, build kick-ass forts and celebrate Special Days with aplomb.
Today my baby girl is Five.
When it comes time for her Special Day, I’m gonna run out late at night to buy that crazy-big SpongeBob balloon she fell in love with. I’m gonna get up early to decorate the house with streamers and signs. I’m gonna find a way to pepper the day with little gifts wrapped in funny paper so she never knows when the next surprise will be. I’m gonna make tiny rainbow cupcakes to share with her class during snack time and send her to school in a fabulous “Birthday Girl” headband.
I may not be That Mom when it comes to
anything else many things, but I sure know how to celebrate my kids. I absolutely want them to remember their childhoods as fun, love celebrating their birthdays, and feel as special as I know they are.
So if that means I need to get randomly slapped by someone every once in a while for setting the Awesomely Fun Bar too high? I’ll take it.
Now, I gotta go. I have some celebrating to do.