Since they could reach the box, my children have been possessed with the need to get the mail before each other and definitely before me. This was especially painful during those seemingly endless days when I felt like the lone adult life form on Planet Mommy. But as desperate for fun as I became, I was no fool. I let my children get to the mailbox first. Peace was precious and I’d do just about anything to keep it. Some day I’ll be waiting for my Wine of The Month shipment to arrive and knock them down to get to the box first. Won’t they be surprised. But for now, I still opt for peace. I just wish losing all my fun wasn’t part of the bargain.
I’m a girl. A new sweater could alter my outlook on life for the entire fall season. No more. They get new clothes first. Those pesky children insist on growing non-stop. I tried not feeding them but Social Services frowned upon that. With a limited “Entertainment” budget, under which clothes shopping for teens falls (since my husband doesn’t have a Microsoft Money category named, “Just Shoot Me Now”), priority’s given to family members whose toes are popping out of their shoes and pant hems are touching their calves. And no, despite the article in last week’s Fashion Section, my son will not buy the argument that ¾ length pants are now “in” for American men. Maybe if I dress incredibly embarrassing and show up for Family Day at my daughter’s school, she’ll sacrifice her “Matching Socks” budget and let me go shopping. For me.
My kids get first dibs on the TV too. Mostly because they’re the only ones who can read the channel guide without glasses and understand how to operate the DVR without swearing and throwing the remote at it. I dread the day they move out and I’ll actually have to read an instruction manual. Or worse — ask my husband for help.
Slouched on the comfy couch watching a Mythbusters marathon, my kids stuff themselves with all the fun food. They can each eat half a package of Double Stuff Oreos and come morning, still fit into their favorite jeans. They can down an entire bag of sour cream and onion potato chips and an hour later not swell with five pounds of water weight.
My kids can stay up for the late night movie with oversized bowls of buttery, salty popcorn without worrying about hulls lodging under their crown and inflaming their gums severely enough to warrant an emergency trip to the dentist. Plus, they can stay awake during movies clear through to the credits.
I haven’t seen the end of a movie — at least one I can remember — in three years. Occasionally, I’ll ask the kids to queue up the movie we watched the previous night to catch the ending. “Mom, we already finished it, remember? You said it was lazy writing and you can’t believe you wasted two good hours of potential sleep time on it.”
“I did? Are you sure?”
“Yes!” They roll their eyes and yell in unison.
“Well, can you put it on anyhow so I can refresh my memory?”
“Sorry, we already deleted it. Besides, the Sonny With A Chance marathon is on.”
As they hauled Oreos out of the pantry, I debated pulling rank and commandeering the remote. Then I heard them giggle and comment on the show — the two of them on the same couch. Getting along. Having fun. Yep, for now, I still opt for peace.