My days are numbered. I see the writing on the wall.
Right now I am THE most important person in my kids’ lives, the center of their whole universe. I am the person they ask for help for every seemingly minor problem that pops up in their day, I grant permissions and denials, I create and keep the family schedule, I calm fears, I am the finder of lost objects, the fixer of all hurts, emotional and physical, the backpack packer, and the teacher of life’s most important lessons. But I won’t be the most influential person in their lives for a whole lot longer.
Yesterday, I volunteered for Brady’s Halloween party at school. I was glad to be able to meet some of his new classmates and put names to faces, specifically two girls that he has come home talking about. The one he talks the most about is a very sweet girl who was dressed as Superman. I was relieved to see that he has good taste in friends.
When it was time for the parade, I took a seat in the cafeteria. Some of the older classes were the first to come through. In one class, there had to be eight of the girls dressed as cats. I simultaneously felt sorry for and had great respect for the couple of girls that either did not get the memo, were not invited, or dared to dress as something different. Another class came through and six or seven of the boys were all dressed as bananas.
And then I got teary eyed (what is it about sitting in that dang school cafeteria?) as it hit me that in just a few short years, the friends he makes will have this much influence over him. He is so innocent now, soaking up every word I tell him. Just last week, as we walked home from school, we had a long talk about how some of our friends may act mean sometimes. I told him that he did not have to play with everyone, that there would be some people that he did not like to play with, and that is fine as long as he is always kind and respectful. He said, “Oh yeah, my teacher told us about that. It is called the Golden Rule!” He hung on every word I said and I know that, for now at least, he will practice what I preach.
As he gets older, though, the friends he has will likely play a bigger role in how he treats other people. What if he is the kid who did not get the banana memo? Or worse, what if he is the kid that sent out the memos, deciding who was worthy and who was not? All the lessons I am teaching him will be somewhere in his head, but will they be the loudest? One can hope.
Being reminded of how little time I have left as THE person has made this very exhausting job seem more desirable. And though, I am sure I will still feel overwhelmed when I hear, “Mom, Mommy, Mom, Mom , Mommerton,” it will sound ever so slightly sweeter. But I still prefer to be called Esmerelda. It takes longer to come out of their mouths and they cannot repeat it with such enthusiastic frequency.