My mom came up from Cincy tonight with the hope that she could help me figure out what were weeds and what were flowers in my garden, and also see the grandkids on the side. She picked up Maria from school, a treat Maria absolutely loves. If she could have each of her grandparents pick her up everyday of the week, she would be in heaven. When they got home, Maria helped my mom in the garden a bit and then asked her if she could ride her bike to the park. This question floored my mom who expected Maria to ask to watch tv or play a game. They biked down to the park, and Maria gave my mom a mini-stroke when she climbed up her favorite tree to the near top. My mom made her stop way before she typically stops, which majorly irritated Maria. Mario and I arrived soon thereafter. We walked down from the house. I had given him the option to bike but he wanted to race. He set forth the typical prize for winning the race – a chocolate cake. We ran about a block and then he asked me to carry him. As I carried him the six blocks to the park, we talked about the green leaves and why they were green now and brown in the Fall time. He also asked me if he would die, and we talked about how everyone dies eventually. He asked if I would die, and then covered my mouth when I started to answer. He shook his head while holding my mouth and confirmed to me “mom, I know you will die, too, just like me.” Nothing like some light, uplifting conversation with your four-year old on the way to the park.
After the park, we headed to the police station to go to the bathroom, and to say hi to our former neighbor, Kim. Maria biked from the station to Panera. Mario ran most of the way. I love it when they enjoy being outdoors on their own. At Panera, they learned how to make “lemonade” from Grandma Lolo. They squeezed three lemons into their water and added one Splenda. Maria also wanted to add a Sweet-n-low, which made her water taste like something a hummingbird would love. We walked home from Panera with much pomp and circumstance. Maria crossed a street without looking, which prompted a major smack-down from my mom on me. She was completely right; I need to do a better job of making these kids look both ways or stop at the edge of the street. But I still felt irritated. After a few minutes, I realized it was not so much irritation as it was hurt. It’s funny how we, as adults, still look to our parents for moral support and adoration. We still want to impress them with our skills – only it’s parenting skills rather than algebra brilliance.
But I am 40 years old – really, Mar, let it go. In the end, a lot of the hurt has to deal with me realizing that I am letting myself down. I know I need to set more rules and work harder at imposing more boundaries and structure at certain times (like at an intersection!). I am pissed at myself for not working harder at doing just that. So, learn from it and do it better (you all just got a little glimpse of the dialogue raging through my head – lovely, heh?!).
After we worked in the garden a bit more, we decided to treat ourselves to Orange Leaf. A car trip later, we were eating yogurt with oreos and brownies and lucky charms on top. Maria sat slumped in her seat with her sunglasses resting on her head and Mario sat in his seat staring at Shrek and eating pineapple yogurt. My mom looked at me and said matter of factly “Your kids are mod.”
I am still trying to figure out whether she meant “mod” to mean dashing and smart or to mean offbeat. Either way, I will embrace the compliment, which I know she meant it to be. After all, what grandma gets to hang out with a pirate grandson and a granddaughter who engages in questions about past relatives and their spirits.