Published on KSL.com (click HERE for the link)
While I was growing up, my mom sometimes said things that made me question her good sense. At particularly trying moments, for instance, she would throw her hands up in the air and declare, "I'm not an octopus!"
She had eight children, so technically the metaphor worked. I would merely roll my eyes and chalk her up to being melodramatic and just a little bit crazy.
The strange thing to me was that she never seemed to mind much if we thought she was crazy.
Starting at 3 p.m. on a recent school day, all I heard was a constant barrage of questions and demands and requests from my five kids. Here is the teeniest, tiniest sampling of the dozens — nay, hundreds — of them:
My 16-year-old daughter sighed dramatically and asked, “Mom, I counted and I have 45 ‘be’ verbs in my research paper. I have to take them all out and replace them with other verbs. I need your help. Oh, and could you help me edit the whole thing? It's due tomorrow.”
My 6-year-old-son yelled across the house while writing a letter to his kindergarten teacher, “Mom, how do you spell ‘Mrs. Edwards’?”
My 14-year-old son ambled up to me, leaned nonchalantly against the couch and said, “Mom, I need you to take me to a bookstore. I know exactly which book I want.”
He’s always low on cash, so I asked if he happened to have any.
“No, but it's beneficial for me. Come on, you should at least buy me stuff that's beneficial. Reading boosts brain power.”
The letter-writer yelled another request, “Mom, how do you spell ‘January’?”
My ultra-organized 9-year-old daughter walked up to me with markers, magazines, scissors and a notebook in hand. “Mom,” she demanded, “I want to make a catalog and put all my combined birthday and Christmas lists in it so you'll have to look in just one place when you're deciding what to get me. Can you help me? Oh, and when are we going to go shopping for the birthday treats I get to take to school on Friday and the rest of the things for my birthday party?
Request No. 3 from my letter-writer was, “Mom, how do you spell ‘Friday’?”
My 10-year-old son, after spending the first 30 full minutes of his homework time teasing two of his brothers and one of his sisters to the point of screams, a pounding and tears, “Mom, I just can't figure out this homework. It's too hard. What's a compound word again? Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom, what's a compound word?”
My kindergartner had just lost a tooth, so I was not at all surprised to hear his next question, “Mom, how do you spell ‘tooth fairy’?”
Most of the requests (as a reminder, this is just a small sampling) happened to be made simultaneously, the kids competing to be heard by turning up their volume as much as they felt necessary.
I thought it was over for the day until my oldest daughter ran out of her room right before going to bed and pleaded, “Mom, I forgot to wash my basketball uniform and I need it for my game tomorrow. If I throw in a load of laundry, could you put it in the dryer for me when it's done?”
Since she’s usually pretty responsible about such things, I agreed on the condition that she set the washing machine on the fast wash cycle.
So instead of sleeping, I stayed awake until her basketball uniform was properly de-stinkified.
Any day now, I'll catch myself throwing my hands in the air, emphatically declaring to my kids that I’m no octopus. Or pentapus, in my case.
Since they often question my good sense, I am quite certain that my kids will roll their eyes and chalk me up to being melodramatic and just a little bit crazy.
But I won’t mind much.
Because, aside from the occasional mommy breaks I give myself to prevent me from becoming completely (as opposed to just a little bit) crazy, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And that's the honest truth.