I’m always trying to get my children to take me seriously, but I’m seldom successful. Take the other morning for example. I have a son who takes roughly a quarter century to get his shoes and socks on. If I don’t remind him to dress his feet long before we need to go somewhere, the whole family winds up sitting in the van breathing exhaust fumes while he slowly and painstakingly ties his shoe laces in quadruple knots. So I walked into the kitchen, placed my hands strategically on my hips attempting to look like a person with authority and said, “John, you need to hurry up and get your feet on.”
For some reason I can never get my mouth to say what my mind is thinking. It’s embarrassing. It also doesn’t help that I can’t even get my own children’s names right when I address them. I know perfectly well who I’m speaking to but my mouth never cooperates. Say, for instance, I’m standing directly in front of my daughter Ashley. As I open my mouth to address her, it goes something like this . . . “Ap, Ab, An, Am . . . . A – s – h – l – e – y.
I don’t know what my husband and I were thinking when we named all our daughters with names that start in A and all our sons with names that start with J. It makes me sound like I have a serious stuttering problem every time I attempt to address one of my own children.
I also try to get my children to be truthful, but that attempt always back-fires. Take the other day for example. A very important person I was trying to impress with my professionalism called my home and asked to speak to me while I was occupied in the bathroom. When my young son answered the phone he was suppose to say what we’d practiced together . . . “Hello may I help you?” Instead he said. “Who you are? What you want?” After the caller asked for me I heard him reply, “She can’t talk cause she’s . . .” then I heard my son tell the caller exactly what his mother was doing in the bathroom. I never had the nerve to return that phone call.
The other day I was quietly sitting in church minding my own business. The closing song had just finished and I knew it was my turn to walk to the front of the chapel and say the closing prayer. When I stood up, my young daughter had a sudden attack of attachment anxiety and grabbed my skirt trying to hold me back. This was her usual behavior so I pulled away, reassured her and started walking up the aisle.
She was persistent and called after me, “Mom, Mom, Mom!”
I ignored her as I walked up the long aisle and approached the steps to the podium hoping everyone would think it was someone else’s little girl shouting.
Then my daughter stood up on the bench, cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “Your skirt’s falling off Mommy! Everybody can see your underwear!”
I glanced down. Sure enough; my skirt actually was falling off. I realized I had just been exposed to the whole congregation during my long walk up the aisle. I reached down and pulled up my skirt while embarrassed church elders covered their eyes.
“Thank you honey,” I said into the microphone just before I bowed my head and said the closing prayer. “You can sit down and be quiet now.”
Maybe mothers weren’t meant to be taken seriously. Maybe we actually plan to provide comic relief for our families . . . and church congregations. Of course we never do dumb things by accident. I mean telling our children to hurry up and get their feet on, stuttering a long list of grunts before we can say our children’s names or strutting down the aisle at church in our underwear is all carefully planned . . . right? It’s all part of our clever attempt to help others feel better about their own goofiness by comparison. Right? Yeah right.