I'm serious, y'all. I saw myself this weekend and it really made me laugh.
Allow me to explain.
When I was trying to get pregnant with my very first child, my precious, my baby, my sweet - I was so super, super, uber careful. I didn't even take a tylenol. I avoided even the concept of alcohol. I made sure to get enough sleep, wore the correct shoes and clothes and read everything I could get my hands on that even remotely discussed babies and childbirth.
And I attended La Leche League meetings for three months before my child was born.
I don't regret those things - they shaped my role as a mother in ways that I still hold dear. I made some great friends, learned a lot about parenting, and met Cyndy. Oh, Cyndy. She was an older mother - her youngest had just recently weaned but she still attended meetings for friendship. She had kids in middle and high school, and one who was in college - that wasn't the one who had recently weaned - she had a four year old too. Watching Cyndy taught me many things - I realized lots of how I wanted to parent.
But watching her with her oldest kids scared me spitless.
She was so flip! So mouthy! So casual and yet ruled with an iron fist. She joked with her kids, was borderline rude and said things that made me cringe. She joked them, pushed them, and bantered at levels that were beyond my imagination.
Didn't she love her kids? I thought to myself. I will never do that when I have kids. I will always treat them with love and respect and we will talk to each other politely and calmly.
Oh, hahahahahaaaa - young, stars in her eyes me was so funny, wasn't she?
We had friends over this weekend, and while the guys played pool, the women chatted - yes, we split on gender lines and ya, whatever. My oldest daughter sat with us and as we talked back and forth, sarcasm and insults flying, I noticed my friend kind of giving me a look. At one point, I'm pretty sure I told my daughter to shut her pie hole, and she smart mouthed back at me. But it wasn't until I told my daughter that the presence of my friend saved her from getting flipped off for her sarcastic remark - yes, I have flipped off my older kids, it's a joke and they know it and everyone is cool with it - that I realized -
I have become Cyndy. And I am A-ok with that, for I really feel as if I've come into my own in my parenting, as if I'm truly and authentically me. I have a good relationship with my kids, sarcasm, insults, jokes and flippin' the bird included.
And there is respect. As least, there'd better be. Or the bird might appear.