Parenting genius strikes again

           My poor mother endured day after day of a tiny version of myself pretending to be an adult. I, like many others, reorganized the family room into a full-scale grocery store and forced my mother to push around a minitature plastic cart and re-buy her own food items so that I could type a bunch of random numbers into a plastic cash register with three buttons.
            “That’ll be $4,000, please.”
            She always had plenty of money because along the railing of the front staircase was the Karrie Bank, where people (my mother) and stuffed animals (also my mother) could deposit and withdraw their zillions of dollars. In the days before e-banking and the ease of credit cards, the Karrie Bank was always busy which meant my mom had to stay up until 1:00 AM every day just so that she could serve us breakfast or walk up to her own bedroom.
            Having three kids of my own, somehow the first two have bypassed the will to convert our home into local businesses. But our third kid has more than made up for it. There isn’t a room that hasn’t been one thing or another, often multiple stores at the same time. Need to get your hair done or have a doctor’s exam? Head to the front room.
            It didn’t take long for me to feel the universe paying me back for the “pretend” punishment I put my mom through. “Moooom! Come to the hotel/store/salon/doctor/vet/school/etc!!!” Slowly I trudged myself from other daily duties and walked across the floor to find my furniture rearranged and blankets from every corner of the house consumed.
            But then one day, one amazing wonderful day, I heard, “Moooom! Come to my spa!”
            A spa? Any woman in her right mind would put down the dishrag for that sort of thing.
            I found kitchen chairs covered in sheets, and after filling out a quick entry form and getting a nametag, I was admitted. “Full treatment, mam?” Yes. Yes, please.
            She rubbed lotion on my feet. She scratched my back. She brushed my hair. She massaged my hands. I probably would have given her real money if she hadn’t thrust a fake $20 in my pocket while I was resting, eyes closed on the couch.

            And this, my friends, has been the greatest parenting win of my entire life. I think deep down children just want the their parents time, want them to be a part of their little world by pretending to step into the adult life. (As if we actually enjoy grocery shopping or the bank.) But the spa, the spa is nothing to laugh at. I will play along happily any day of the week, especially after a stressful day of real adult life, where services cost more when rung up on cash registers without primary colors.

Originally written 7.19.15


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