How old are you again, Mommy?
Thirty-five I answer. I have to think about it for a minute to be sure.
He’s in the next room, so I don’t see what he’s doing. But then, so you were 17 when you got Torri?
I close my eyes and picture him there, his sheet of paper and a pencil–practicing subtracting the tens from the tens place and the ones from the ones place.
I was sixteen, I correct.
But she turned seventeen a month later, Torri clarifies.
He is too young yet to really know my story. And I wonder if it will be different for him, knowing those things about his mom.
Torri knows. She knows the truths that gave life to her. The what-I-would-do-differentlys, the learn-from-my-mistakes, the one-thing-I-don’t-regret-is-you. She knows these front and back. Inside and out.
I can look at each one of them and see pieces of who I was when they came to be. Like dot-to-dots, the lines between them connect to form pictures. Something complete. Something I never knew I was missing.
The two littles had a dentist appointment this morning and as I drove there I practiced in my head what I’d say to the you-really-need-to-floss chastising. In my head, it sounded something like: We eat organic to ward off cancer. Whole grains! No high fructose corn syrup! Only thirty minutes of screen time each day. Story time and devotionals. They make their beds and take out the trash and put away their clean clothes. They have chores–responsibility! We memorize Bible verses and we eat dinner around the table and we’re up to date on immunizations. Seat belts and bicycle helmets and BPA free and at least eight hours of sleep each and every single night. No unnecessary medications and plenty of fluids. Paraben free lotions. I sacrificed the flossing, okay? Forgive me the flossing!
But when it came right down to it–when they cornered me on the flossing–I caved. Three times a week? I sheepishly compromised. And I’m going to try. Really I am.
You do what you can do. You give to this and take from there. You prioritize and let things go. But perfect is a place far from here. A place I’ve never been in spite of so many plans laid.
I can look at each one of them and see pieces of who I was when they came to be.