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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Annals of Successful Parenting, Vol. ?

Pardon me while I let out a big sigh of exhaustion - or relief. Last week was spring break, and my girls and I went away. No, we didn't hit Ft. Lauderdale in our bikinis and Miraclesuits. We hit the road. Colleges were visited. Colleges were enjoyed. Only minor tension eruptions occurred. For example, when at the information session for Columbia, the admissions representative talked about how Columbia loves applicants strong in the arts, Someone made the mistake of looking at Someone Else and nudging her (very, very gently in the arm. Very gently). The result was a hissed, “Stop looking at me! I can hear.”

But whatevs, as we mothers say, thus proving how evolved and relaxed we are.

Not relaxed enough to sleep well, I must add. Just so you can hear the tiny strains of the mini pity violin tuning up. That high school class trip that descended on our second night at the very chic Best Western Plus hotel did nothing to help me sleep better. And they mobbed the breakfast room, too. Sheesh.

Furthermore, I spent more time at King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, PA, than is good or healthy. I couldn’t refuse it, though, as the mall was visible from our hotel room – and I must admit a weakness for Nordstrom. My discovery of the existence of this mall was what convinced the 13-year-old to join her sister and me on this college jaunt. I wasn't sure which I liked less, having to appease the 13-year-old for enduring hours in the car and traipsing around small liberal arts colleges, or leaving her at home alone for three days (the husband would be home in the evenings) with the TV and computer. So we did the mall. Although, to her dismay, I refused to pay $59 for a dry clean only shirt for her.

Um, no way.

Readers, I learned a few things:

1. Both my daughters now find me vaguely disgusting. How do I know? Because we had two beds for three bodies, and neither wanted to sleep with me, even though the elder daughter cannot sleep in a bed with anyone, and the younger one used to want to sleep with me. I know this is normal, it’s a sign of them growing up. But suddenly, there I was, awash in the realization that I will always be vaguely disgusting to them from now on. Never again will I be the perfect Mommy.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever been that. After all, the younger daughter was still in preschool when she used to greet my morning kiss - er, breath - with, “What’s dat ‘mell?”

2. King of Prussia Mall is the largest mall in the United States, “in terms of leasable space,” according to Wikipedia. This is a nod to Mall of America, which is somewhere in the Heartland, and is supposed to be the largest mall, in terms of overall space.

3. My children are going to leave me. Possibly for a bucolic campus with a dorm that encourages nudity and sexual expression (Swarthmore). Possibly for a bucolic campus where students throw their backpacks in a heap just inside the door to the dining hall without worry of theft (Haverford). Possibly for a grittier, urban campus where no one would dream of leaving a backpack unattended (If you see something, say something). But they are going to leave me.

4. I am not wacko. Here is wacko: the mom who chatted with me about bringing her 7th grader on the tours. That part wasn’t wacko. There were a reassuring number of bored-looking younger siblings on these tours. What was wacko was that her older child was in 9th grade. I felt like pulling her down by the flap on her trench coat and saying, “Okay, then, lady, step to the back of the tour so that 11th graders can hear the tour guide.” I am sure I looked a bit shocked when she told me this. She mentioned something about needing to look early if your child does something athletic, and maybe that’s true. But I think not. Wacko.

Lest you are thinking how judgemental I am, let me offer this anecdote, which happened yesterday. I wore to the gym my t-shirt that says, “I am silently correcting your grammar.” One of the regulars in my NIA class commented on the shirt and I said that it had been a gift.* She said, “Oh. That makes sense, because you don’t seem like a judgy person. Some people really would be silently correcting your grammar, but you don’t seem that way at all.” Which I ain’t.

Isn’t that sweet?

*Which it was. I won it at a random give-away on a funnyblog by Wendi Aarons.

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