They say the job of a mama bird is to teach her baby bird to fly so that one day it can leave the nest. And I guess that’s kind of the job of a human mama too. But here’s the problem. I don’t want my baby bird to leave the nest. I kinda want her to stay with me forever.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to have my free time back. Like I’m dying to travel again. And the thought of sleeping later in the mornings is heavenly. And I can’t wait to shut the bathroom door one day and know that some rugrat's not gonna barge in and say, “But why do you have to do that? Girls don’t have mustaches.” Yup, a little alone time sounds awesome. But not TOTAL alone time.
So I’ve been taking small measures to keep Zoey close to home as she grows older. I constantly remind her that she needs to work REALLY hard in school so she can get into the kickass college down the street because that’s the only one she’s allowed to apply to. And when a house on our block goes on the market, I say things like oooh, let’s buy it so you can live there one day. The nice thing is Zoey’s still at that young age that she thinks this all sounds like a GREAT idea.
But seriously, I DREAD the day my baby bird leaves my nest. I know it's inevitable.
And this past weekend felt like the first time she started to leave.
We were headed to the fireworks and Zoey was seeing them for the first time ever. Never has someone been more excited. And just so you know, I'm talking about me, not her.
Yeah, she was looking forward to it, but I was bouncing off the walls!!!! The view was going to be spectacular– her wide eyes, her cute little smile, her oohs and ahhs. She was going to watch the fireworks. And I was going to watch HER watching the fireworks. Or so I thought.
By the time we got to the field, Zoey was exhausted. I mean it was already an hour past her bedtime and I never let her stay up late. “Get to bed, GET TO BED!!!” I yell at her every night as her stalling tactics cut into those few precious moments a day that I get to sit on the sofa and be a total couch potato and decompress to stupid shit like the Bachelorette and other crap.
So by 9:00PM on July 4th, she was a walking zombie. But then she did what we all do so well when we’re young. She rallied. Yup, I don’t know whether she chugged a Red Bull or snorted something when I wasn’t looking, but somehow she got her second wind. And she started to run around and play with the older kids. Yayyy, she was going to make it!
And when the first pop happened, everyone stopped talking and looked up at the sky. I dropped down on the blanket and waited for Zoey to plop down too. And she did. Thirty yards away with the older kids.
Wait, what just happened? How the heck am I supposed to stare at your face, kiddo, if you’re sitting alllll the way over there in the dark? Come back and sit next to me, I wanted to yell, but of course I didn’t. I tried to focus on the beautiful show, but my mind was racing all over the place. I worried and wanted to be next to her but my conscience kept telling me to calm the hell down.
ME: I wonder if Zoey’s doing okay. Maybe she’s scared. They’re pretty loud.
CONSCIENCE: She’s fine. If she were scared, she’d come over here.
ME: I’m gonna go check.
CONSCIENCE: None of the other parents are checking.
ME: Their kids are older.
CONSCIENCE: Really? You’re gonna be THAT mom?
But I didn’t care. I tiptoed over there and sat down next to Zoey on the blanket.
ME: Hi sweetie.
ZOEY: Guys, this is my mom.
Awww, how cute. She introduced me to the older kids. She didn’t know that she was supposed to be mortified by me yet. So I sat there watching her watch the fireworks for a while. She loved them. And I loved watching her get excited as she compared them to pixie dust and glitter and rainbows.
CONSCIENCE: How long are you gonna stay with her?
ME: Not much longer.
CONSCIENCE: Your husband is sitting alone right now.
ME: No he’s not. He’s with the other grownups.
CONSCIENCE: Uhh yeahhh, where ALL the grownups are. Except you.
ME: Fine, fine, I’ll go back.
And I did. About ten minutes later. Okay, fifteen.
The scary thing is this is just the beginning. She’s five. And next year she’s going to be six. And the year after that she’s going to be twelve. Not literally, but the years are already flying, and from what I hear it’s just going to go faster and faster and faster. Today she’s watching fireworks alone, and tomorrow she’ll be going to kindergarten alone, and before I know it she’ll be going on her first date alone. Because I’m not going to be THAT mom, the one who sneaks into the back of the theater and spies on her kid. At least I hope I’m not.
If you want to hear a lot of other stories about me and my kiddos, check out my bestselling book, just picked as one of Amazon's best books of the year so far!! See, my mom's not the only one who likes it.
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