Monday, June 25, 2007

I Swore I'd Never Do This

Growing up, my mom was always kind enough to make dinner for our family--a well rounded, mostly healthy meal that we could all sit and visit over and enjoy, until the food was gone, which always happened long before any of us was full because my mom cooked (and sometimes still does,) in baby-bird portions.

"Left-overs? Come again?"

That was a foreign concept in my childhood household. It wasn't so bad when it was just our family; there was always enough, and my dad and brothers would just fix themselves a few PB&J's after dinner. But it was really embarrassing when I started bringing male friends over for meals. I remember the first time we fed Mr. N we had Terriyaki Chicken and rice. In a private moment after dinner, he admitted that he could have eaten the meal's entire meat content for his personal portion. He did, (still does,) have an abnormally large stomach capacity, but let's be honest, most hearty-appetite-equipped males wouldn't have too much trouble putting away two "b-cup" sized chicken breasts. I always gave my mom a hard time about using meat "as a garnish," and wished that she'd at least make enough food for seconds when we were feeding guests. And, as you might have guessed, I swore I'd always err on the generous side in meal preparation when I had my own family.

How am I doing with that resolution, you ask? Well, (*sheepish shrug*) let's just say that on more than one occasion, Mr. N's come home from work, looked in the frying pan and, beholding the paltry poultry offering, asked, "who's the lucky one of us that gets to eat meat tonight?"

Guilty! Guilty, I plead!

That is just one of many ways in which I am transgressing my self-proclaimed, "As I Live and Breathe, I Will Never Do That!" declarations. A few others:

1. Washing and reusing Ziploc bags. I know, I know! Gross-face. Cheapskate. Loser. I KNOW! I call myself all those names in the act of washing and reusing. But I only do it with the gallon size freezer bags 'cause I have a hard time paying more for a box of disposable baggies than I did for my last pair of shoes. (Fine. I got them at the Goodwill, but still.) And I just can't bring myself to throw away a perfectly good bag that only had bread in it for two days. (Just so you won't refuse a dinner invitation at my home for sanitation reasons, rest assured that I wouldn't even think of reusing a bag that had meat or any other similarly raw, bacteria-infested substance in it--no matter how many cents per bag I have to part with!)

2. I never in a bajillion years would have entertained the idea of surgically alterring my body...until the week after I stopped nursing H and I watched the "Perky to Pendulous" transformation take place right before my disbelieving eyes. Now, especially as I consider nursing subsequent children, and the toll, or should I say the pull (as in downward, gravitational pull,) that will have on my chest, I am not entirely opposed to exploring my "restorative options."

3. (This would be the part where my mom gets to lean back in her chair, crack her knuckles satisfactorilly, and enjoy the last laugh.) I never would have thought I'd let my children out of the house without combed hair and a matching outfit. I was always so mortified at how my mom let us kids go out in public looking like street urchins. And what's worse, that she'd let us go to school with lumpy ponytails and dorky outfits on picture day. I usually do try to make sure we're publicly presentable before we leave the house, but the other day I took H to the grocery store in a very noticably stained T-shirt, with a crusty milk mustache over his top lip. And he was shoeless. The only time I ever comb his hair is before church. After a two-year taste of motherhood, I've forgiven my mom for a lot of her maternal "flaws," 'cause I'm pretty sure that by the time I have three, they'll not only be mis-matched and shoeless; I'll probably be leaving them at gas stations and forgetting their names.

And finally, I never understood why my parents didn't take more vacations without us kids. They had the means. They could have made the time. And with a little, errr... a considerable amount of shuffling around, they could have found sitters for all of us. But more often than not, they opted to take the whole herd of us on trips, or just stay home. I thought they were abnormally attached and thought that I'd have no problem toodling off to Europe for a two week tour, sans kids. But a few weeks ago, when Mr. N suggested that we leave H with some friends for twenty four hours while we flew to the west coast for a job-interview, I'm pretty sure I got my first taste of cardiac arrest. "Leave him? " (My heart: THUMP! THUMP!) "Overnight?" (Heart: THUMP!) "And fly to the other side of the country? (THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!) "Ummm, I don't think I can do that!"

Even when I want to get away, I don't want to go far...the Super Target, which requires hi-way travel, seems a little extreme. I'm just as freakishly attached as my "abnormal" parents were. How can you help but be attached to a little boy who says, upon waking up from a three hour nap, "Oh Mom! I'm so glad to see you!" Or asks, "shu-we dance, Mama? Shu-we?" whenever he hears music. Or says, "Oh, dat's looks cute, mama!" every time I wear a skirt? You can't! I can't.

So, I'm going back on all kinds of promises I made to my teenaged, and child-less selves.

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