One of the lessons I’ve tried my hardest to instill in my kids is the importance of learning to laugh at yourself. If I’ve said it once, I’m sure I’ve said it a thousand times: “If you can’t learn to laugh at yourself, then you’ll be the only one not laughing while the rest of the world laughs at you.” Probably because of this, my kids have spent their entire lives doing their level best to push the envelope with me on this philosophy. I’m sure they lay awake at night trying to come up with all manner of situations in which to give me a hard time. They absolutely love to poke fun at me, and I’m convinced it’s because they’re wondering whether I really live by my own words. And I do. I try very hard to find the humor in ever situation, even when the fun is poked directly at me.
Over the years, my kids have discovered one area that I have a hard time finding humor in: aging. I don’t care so much if I’m pretty and, while I’d love to lose weight, I can live with being “generously fluffy.” But please don’t’ tell me I’m old. I have a hard time finding humor in being told I’m old. As a result, the kids have chosen this particular chink in my armor to throw their darts. They’re trying their hardest to teach me to learn to laugh at the aging process.
A few weeks ago, we went to my favorite bar/restaurant for dinner. As we waited for our food, Braden began to draw pictures of each of his family members. Troy’s turned out pretty decent…reddish-brown hair, beard, nice looking. Amber’s was about the same…dark brown hair, straight. The child has some talent because – for the most part – the pictures resembled the people he was drawing. At least they resembled them enough that you could say “Oh…this must be your dad!” or “Wow…that’s a decent likeness of your sister.”
For the most part, Braden’s a pretty decent artist for a first grader. Here’s a sample of his work:
And then he drew me…with gray hair! I. DO. NOT. HAVE. GRAY. HAIR! And what’s with the googly eyes and the buck teeth?! He did it simply to rile me. I’m told the exclamation points are to indicate that I’m yelling about something. Ugghhh! The question begs: Can Mom really laugh at herself? It’s getting harder…
Last week, I was in the kitchen and tripped over something one of the kids had left on the floor. I went flying through the air, knocked over a heavy cherry wood dining chair, slammed into the wall, and then landed in a heap on the floor. As I lay there on the floor, writhing in pain, my daughter shouts down to her dad, “Daddy, come quick! Mom fell and she might’ve broken a hip!” (Because, of course, only the elderly break their hips). My husband comes racing upstairs, but – before coming to help me up – makes sure he has his iPhone handy so that he can record it all on video. “Whatcha doin’ down there, Cath? Did you break your hip?”
Apparently no day is sacred, not even Mother’s Day. On this sacred day set aside to worship all mothers, my irreverent little man presented me with a small booklet that his teacher had her students prepare as gifts to their mothers. I’d love to look through some of the other children’s work, as I have a feeling that my son’s work is unique. I can’t help but wonder what his teacher thought of his gift to me.
For starters, he spelled my name wrong. Seriously? Step one in the “Give Mom a Hard Time” Campaign. As a first-grader, he’s not the best speller in the world; but he’s heard me correct others countless times when they misspell my name.
“C-A-T-H-Y?” a person might ask.
“No, I-E.” I respond.
“Yes. I-E. C-A-T-H-I-E.”
“No. No Y.”
Quizzical look from the other person.
I repeat: “C-A-T-H-I-E.”
I have this same conversation at least once a day. So there’s no doubt in my mind that Braden knows exactly how to spell my name. Score 1 for Braden in the “Give Mom a Hard Time” campaign. I can live with that.
Then comes the next part: My mother’s eyes are Green and her hair is Gray.
Gray? GRAY? Did he say GRAY??? Are you FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME!!!! I DO NOT HAVE GRAY HAIR! I might have a few gray hairs, but I do not have “gray hair” as in a collective unit of all of the individual hairs on my head!
He got me. He knows aging – specifically wrinkles and gray hair – is a sensitive subject with me. I might could’ve (how’s that for great grammar?) lived with him saying my hair was gray, but then the picture of me below shows a woman with orange skin and gray hair. To be honest, I think he’s confused me for the Tanning Mom who’s currently facing charges for taking her daughter to a tanning bed. The similarities are rather striking.
Between you and me, I must admit that between the gray hair and the uncanny likeness to the Tanning Mom, I’m having just a tiny smidge of difficulty laughing at myself this time.