At times I am 100% confident that I am as smart as I ever was. My Master’s Degree-earning brain is as sharp. My problem solving skills lightning-quick. My ability to multitask Olympic gold medal worthy.
And then there are the other times… Those that remind me my brain is dying a slow and painful death. I can’t remember what I went upstairs for. I can’t seem to find the word I’m trying to say during a discussion. And I might have forgotten where I’ve parked my car a little more often than I used to.
“Mom, today I stood up to a kid on the playground who was teasing the new boy. I told him that it’s not cool to be a bully.”
“That’s great honey! I’m so proud of you for doing what you know is right. That isn’t easy to do. You showed your true character.”
Aaaaand then he farts and proceeds to tell me that he saw his friend pick his nose and wipe it on the table during lunch. Mature bonding moment over. These are things that are slowly but surely draining me of working brain cells.
However, I do not believe I am down for the count! There are moments in parenting that require great thought and careful wording and I think I’ve still got a few good years left in me. For example, last week Luke asked me what the economy was. My first instinct was to say, “Call Grandpa.” But I knew this was my chance to give my atrophied brain a chance to bulk-up. “The economy is the cycle of spending and investing money. Companies need money and people to make products or provide services. People need the products or services the company provides. People take on jobs to make money to buy these things, allowing companies to have the money to continue to provide them.” It’s a simple explanation, I know, but the picture I drew on a yellow piece of construction paper with my Transformer pencil was bad ass. There was this circle with arrows showing how everything was connected and relied upon each other. I should have saved it. Or at least Instagram’ed it.
I’m no Economics professor, but I’m pretty sure I got the point across. Confirmation came when Luke responded with, “It’s kind of like that song ‘Cirlce of Life’ from The Lion King except it’s the ‘Circle of Money!'” BOOM! #nailedit
There are also other moments when, as a mom, I must invest great thought, careful wording, and the decision whether or not to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… or throw Grandma under the bus.
“Hey Mom? What’s car insurance?”
“Well, car insurance is something that drivers purchase to protect themselves. Everyone who buys it pays a certain amount of money each month. If you are ever in an accident and need medical help or your car repaired or you total your car, your insurance company will give you money to help you pay for those things.”
Again with the economic genius, right? I’m eave prepared for the next questions I know will follow: How much we pay for car insurance? How much does it cost to repair a car repairs? What does ‘total your car’ mean? I got this. I am the best explaining’est mom ever, remember?
Imagine my surprise when, instead, I got this:
“Mom? Have you ever had to call the insurance company because you got in an accident or totaled the car?”
The memories came rushing back…
I was 17 and a senior in high school. I thought it was a smart idea to lie to my parents and say I was sleeping at my BFF’s house, when in actuality I was about an hour east in the middle of nowhere at my boyfriend’s house. Just so we’re all clear, my father referred to said boyfriend as “the slimy little lizard.” There was clearly no Bromance going on here. Needless to say, this story is not going to end well. The Boyfriend and I headed out to a party after I arrived at his house- the house with no parents, of course. Upon returning somewhere around midnight, something just didn’t seem right. I had my purse. I had my jacket. I had my virtue and my guilt. But something was missing… Oh, I know. It was my freaking car! Yes, my car was not in his driveway. After an hour of searching, countless tears and a few bouts of vomiting in the driveway, it was clear I had to call Mom and Dad and come clean. Oh, and find the car. Obviously the fates were on my side, however, because during the gut-wrenching hour that I waited for my parents to drive out to BFE, I found my car. Silly me, it wasn’t stolen. In my haste to get going to the party and my obvious nerves about lying to my parents, I forgot to take the car out of Drive when I arrived and as soon as we left, the car rolled backwards down a 30 foot embankment, lodging itself into the neighbor’s fence. Silver linings and all that, right?
So after an incredibly awkward lecture from my mother (and an unspoken yet mutually understood break up) my parents took me home. And at 6:30 the next morning we returned with a tow truck and spent 3 hours trying to dislodge the car from the fence and drag it back up the hill. In the end, the entire driver’s side had to be rebuilt. Did I mention it was my mom’s birthday the previous night and my brother’s birthday that morning? Yes, I’m that awesome.
The second time I had to call the insurance company was much less dramatic. Less than a year after The Night That Shall Not Be Mentioned, I rolled up to a friend’s apartment to watch movies. Being the responsible driver that I am, I used her assigned covered space to park my newly refurbished car, and made sure I took the car out of Drive. (Learned that lesson the hard way.) To this day I’m not quite sure how this happened, but when it was time to go home, I was pulled out of the space when the steering wheel suddenly jerked to the left, causing the entire passenger side to swing wide and draaaaaaag along the concrete support in the carport. Sadly, the passenger side had to be rebuilt. Silver lining: At least it wasn’t the driver’s side again, right?
The third and final time I had to call AAA for assistance was several years later and with a different car- thank God. Upon returning to the townhouse I was renting with two sorority sisters, I attempted to pull into the garage. Somehow, only half my car made it into the garage. The other half unfortunately hit the side of the garage/house. Luckily there was no structural damage to the house, my car had minimal damage, and my parents were 120 miles away. It was suddenly abundantly clear why they insisted I buy my own car when I was a freshman and stopped using their car.
So when my sweet son innocently asked me if I had ever called my insurance company because I had been in an accident or totaled my car, I had two choices:
1. Tell him the truth or
2. Tell him what we always told the insurance company
…I went with option 2.
“Of course not!” I exclaimed. “I’ve never had to call the insurance company because I damaged a car. But Grandma has. Three times!”
Did you know teenage drivers who damage their cars have a much bigger impact insurance premiums than a mom of two kids who damages the car? Thanks Mom.
I’m an excellent driver, but my mom is kind of accident prone.
That’s just my normal.