Saturday, September 09, 2006
Oprah, Bon Bons, and the Pool Man
It seems that much has been written about the children going back to school, so I thought I too, should jump on the bandwagon.
From the time my children were in pre-school, everytime they'd start a new school, (elementary, middle, and high school) I would cry like a little baby.
I wonder why my oldest wouldn't let me take him to his first day of college?
My kids would look at me like I just lost my mind...and in the midst of my sobbing I would explain ..."one day when you become a mom, you'll understand"...
(For some reason, my two boys never really appreciated that statement).
But for a mom (since I'm a mom, I can't speak for dads), the ritual of sending your baby out into the world is heartwrenching.
At least in pre-school, I knew they would still be nurtured for the couple of hours they were there...learning songs, reading books, and fingerpainting. So I suppose that sending them to kindergarten was the hardest. No longer would they be so coddled and cuddled.
What if my baby needs a hug? What if he has to go to the bathroom? What if falls and splits his head open?
With each passing year, this task of dropping them off to the "wolves" became a little easier. In elementary school, I became involved in PTA and volunteered in the classroom, so I would see what both the teachers and my kids were up to.
You can imagine how much my children loved having me around (stifling their independence and freedom to cause havoc and mayhem).
But I was a stay-a-home mom and therefore my duties were to make sure I sufficiently embarrassed my children all through their growing up years.
Now, what most women won't tell you, is that they're secretly thrilled when the children go off to school...THAT'S RIGHT...you heard me!
And why, you ask? Well, duh, why do you think?
That's when we get right down to the business of crackin' open the champagne, eating bon-bons, "engaging" with the pool man, taking bubble baths, watching Oprah and Dr. Phil, and let's not forget, All My Children.
Without Oprah, afterall, how would I know which books to read, or makeup to wear, or how to make my man... you know..."satisfied".
When my youngest entered high school, I knew that my school volunteering days were coming to an end.
Because, here's the deal folks...and listen carefully...
No matter how cool you think you are?
This seems to be a tough one for us baby boomers to swallow. Afterall, we were the generation who invented cool.
We had Dylan, the Beatles, and Springsteen. We knew how to dress and keep our bodies looking young. I made sure I watched MTV, knew the latest bands, and all about pop culture.
But, to no avail. Because every generation, just like the one before, must be different from their parents.
They must work their way toward independence and self-actualization.
They must not conform to the ways of the adults around them (although they all conform to eachother...ever notice that every generation of teenagers all look alike?).
So, what's a volunteering mom to do when those days are over? Well, I can only speak for myself, of course.
I wave goodbye to my children as they drive off to school. I lay around in p.j.'s, watching Rosie on the View...waiting for the pool man to arrive.
Okay, not really, but it sure makes for a better story than the real one.
I still get a little pang when my kid's drive off. But now I drive off too. I've gone back to work in a field I'm passionate about.
And, although I don't eat bon bons, I do admit to eating icecream every night. I've figured out what make-up to wear, and even how to satisfy my man without watching Oprah.
Life meanders and changes, slowly and quickly, all at the same time.
Sometimes, I long for the days of holding my children's hands as I gently passed them over to big world.
But the day comes when you must let go.
And there's nothing Oprah, or even the pool man can do,
to mend the little hole in your heart that's created
when that time arrives.