Yesterday, during an entirely-too-long road trip to Florence, MS, when Taylor Swift came on the radio and I started belting out the lyrics to “Blank Space,” I realized two things.
1. That song is not about Starbucks.
2. My children know me better than anyone else.
I’m not a shy person, but I’m admittedly prim and proper. It’s not on purpose, it’s just how I was raised — Southern and conservative. Minus the monogramming, because my mom wasn’t into it. I grew up in a church that frowns upon dancing, which means that as a 30-something adult I look like a complete idiot in my Zumba classes. I still haven’t learned how to shake my upper body, but don’t you worry, I’ll keep plugging away at it.
The side of me that my kids see is the side that belts out “YOU KNOW I LOVE THE PLAYERS, AND YOU LOVE THE GAME!” Yeah, I’m off-key, but who cares?
This is the side that makes ridiculous noises, chases them wildly around the house, hops on one foot through the kitchen and slides in socks down the hallway. Their mother is a non-makeuped, disheveled woman in mismatched lounge wear who is always teetering on the edge of insanity, but in a fun way. Unless she’s mad … which is no fun for anyone, because then she is non-makeuped woman in mismatched lounge wear who is parking asses in time out.
I have always worried that my kids get the worst of me because I seem to bumble through life in perpetual exhaustion. Tiredness is the basic truth of motherhood, right after unconditional love. It sucks the wind and the life right out of me and turns me into an impatient, rough-looking “momster” who sighs a lot.
In my non-mom life, I don’t belt out songs in front of other people unless I’ve been drinking, and I don’t dance unless I’m in Zumba. This realization disappoints me, because the side of me that doesn’t give a rat’s ass — that’s the side of me that comes out in my writing — is my best, most interesting side. That girl is a good time, and even my husband rarely sees her.
So maybe the side of me that the kids see really is my best side, even when I have been in pajamas all day, carrying a mug of cold coffee and yelling “FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR PENIS!”
Maybe the truth is, they don’t always get the worst of me.
Maybe they get the best of me, too.