I find it important to get in my kid’s heads while I have the chance, so they’ll carry me with them always. And I’ll slip out of their mouths or echo in their brains at just the right moment. Subliminal messages like, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you” will ring in their ears when they head out to make an iffy Craig’s List transaction.
I concoct profound sayings and repeat them over and over to the point of ridiculousness. I’m aiming for historical significance, like memes and bumper stickers commercially. But I hope to at least earn a “shout out to my witty mom” from the Olympic podium, or a “thanks for the encouraging words” from the mic at the Grand Ole Opry, or maybe a dedication page in a NY Times bestseller on how “momma tried; maybe too hard.” I guess if my boys hear my voice in their head, roll their beautiful brown eyes and quote me to their own children, that will do.
I’m designing the shirt for the new saying I birthed this weekend. The D Boys had a coffee shop concert Saturday, and they had been excited for weeks. They practiced often and were ready to rock. However, perfectionism is crippling. And is also known to cause tantrums and refusals to warm up an hour before it’s time to take the stage. And the preconcert played out like this for one of the band members:
Refused to warm up. Told him to get with the program. He decided not to perform. I begged. He smarted off. I yelled. He cried. I soothed. He yelled. I ran and hid. He calmed down. I got madder. He ran and hid. I drug him out of his self pitying hole of insecurity and ranted about commitments and follow thru. He smarted off. I gave up, and rather unsuccessfully, pretended not to care.
This may come as a shock to my husband, but sometimes I don’t want to be right. I hoped that D would sail right through the performance as amazingly as he and I both knew he could, and prove me wrong with his smug little nose in the air. But I was not wrong. And as he forgot the words to a song and froze during his guitar solo, he found me in the audience and looked me straight in the eyes. And I willed my tiny mom-in-your-head self to speak to him and I know he heard one of my annoying quotes, because he grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
I probably said something like,
“If you’re going to suck, suck with gusto.”
“If it were as easy as beating Super Mario Bros., everyone would do it.”
But here’s the thing, he knew I tried to stop him from self inflicted failure. And he learned in that moment that only he could prevent forest fires, errr, music meltdowns. But he didn’t quit or cry. Because I’m pretty sure at some point I’ve said something to the affect of:
“There’s no crying unless you’re hurt or we’re out of chocolate.”
And his amazing guitar teacher stopped the show and refused to let the talented D Boys crash and burn. Because one day he probably overheard me say something like:
“Can’t never could.”
The redo was phenomenal. (see video below; no I’m not the one yelling) And they stole the show regardless of the little hiccup that felt like a stroke to those of us who knew the preamble. When we watched the video later, he actually said he should have listened to me and practiced a little before the concert. And then when it quit snowing in our kitchen, he said, “We still sounded awesome, huh?” And I said:
“You don’t have to be perfect to be awesome.”
(Let me know what color t-shirt you want this written on!)