I'm not always the "cool mom," but sometimes I hear I am. Cool...like when I TRY to be cool but don't quite get it. Like that morning when Chloe told me her friend complimented her hair, so when I saw her by her locker at school, I tried to do the same, in that same teenage lingo: "Chloe...your hair is 'point on' today." Bwahahahaha! Okay, so I had a little transposition problem. The lingo, I now know, is "on point." Still, that little mama blooper has been repeated over and over to her friends, and they laugh and laugh (I'm told). And it's okay...I'm cool with that. I laugh too.
Cool...like when I'm asked to read Physics definitions to help Chloe study for a test. I find this so utterly boring, that I have to act a little weird just to get myself through it. Next thing I know I am being videotaped and my weirdness is being Snapchatted to all their friends. And the girls are cracking up, and then I'm cracking up. But the best part: Chloe says "I love you mom!" in between cackles. I'm definitely cool with that.
And I'm not always the serious mom. But often I can't help myself.
Serious...like when I take Leah to her quarterly endocrinologist appointment. We learn more about Type 1, and agree to get a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to help Leah better manage her diabetes and protect her from undetected "lows"...a little peace of mind for when she goes off to college in the fall. And I realize as I sit in the Pediatric clinic, looking out the big corner window four stories over the parking lot, that we only have one more visit here. She will turn 18 in June, and my little girl will become an adult, and move on to adult doctors. This realization catches me by surprise, and suddenly I am all nostalgic about a doctor visit.
Serious...like when I drive Leah a total of 14 hours over two weekends, prepping her for music auditions and interviews, discussing future plans and college dreams. I advise. She listens. I drive. She sleeps. But the best part: Upon returning home, Leah says "I love you" in her own quiet way, i.e. shoving the Valentine's Day balloon which says "I ♥ U" gently into my face with a little sideways smile.
I'm not always the care-giving mom, but usually, that's my job.
Care-giving...like when I wake them up, and get them out the door, and orchestrate their daily drop-offs and pick-ups on our drive to school; and after work I make supper, and clean the dishes, and go through mail, and pay some bills, and declutter, and hang up coats and put away shoes...and finally have time to sit down at nine o'clock at night, at which time I'm so exhausted, I just want to go to bed.
I could complain about the lack of help, the chores undone, and excessive cell phone use (and yes, I often DO complain), but sometimes it's just easier to be the caregiver. After all, I did sign up for this job nearly 24 years ago. And I think about what it will be like when they're all grown up and far away...no longer here to care for, to advise, to talk to and laugh with. And I just want to take in every moment. Every precious moment.
As they head to bed, this sometimes cool, often serious, forever caring mom sends a good-night text: "I love you." Not just to my girls upstairs, but also to my faraway, grown-up boys. And I am reminded that none of us will ever be too cool or too serious or too far away or too grown-up to say "I love you." And that's the best part.