“My friend wanted to be my other friend’s best friend and she was like, “Be my best friend,” but she just stared at her. So she was like “Oh My God, why are you just staring at me?” So then she was like “Wait I do want to be your best friend!” But then she was like, “No I don’t want to be your best friend anymore because you were just like staring at me!” So then she started crying. So my teacher said she can’t come to the magic show today if she doesn’t be a good girl. But she was like Oh My God and kept crying. So she probably can’t come to the magic show. I was a good listener though so I can go. I wasn’t a good listener the other day. But I was yesterday. Oh hey guess what???….I Love You! You’re my best friend.”
Getting all the preK-3 gossip from my daughter is one of the highlights of my morning commute, and not just because watching a 3-year old flip her hands around and shake her head for effect is the cutest thing ever.
The animation that exudes from her while she’s filling me in on her latest saga reminds me of something- what I have, what we have, is enough.
Ok buckle up and sit tight, I’m going somewhere.
I’m often attacked by the passive-aggressive “oh that’s all?” people.
“You married your high school sweetheart? That’s so nice! They say those marriages don’t usually work out though. Hope it’s different for you guys….”
After 2 decades I think we’re good, random salesperson, but thanks!
“You’re going back to work? Yeah my wife left her career because we realized that it was too damaging to let someone else raise our child.”
No worries, Optimum Online installer, I’m already saving up for their eventual therapy sessions.
“You rent? Wouldn’t you rather have something to call your own?”
Sure, I’d love to have something of my own, person whose parents paid for college and gave you the down payment for your house…but I hear you need to pay for one of those bad boys and I don’t have anyone handing me any spare money at the moment.
“You bought a house where your bedroom is upstairs and the kids’ are downstairs?! Ohhhh. I guess that’s ok. I’d definitely NEVER do that, but I guess it’s fine. I mean, I guess they’ll be fine.”
I actually adopted another dog after having that one drilled into my brain by SO many concerned citizens.
“You went to Portland! Oregon?….Ohhh, Maine. Well, I hear Maine is very nice too.”
I think it’s lovely.
“You commute over an hour?! That can’t be good for your daughter, in the car with you all that time. I would never do that.”
Yeah, she seems traumatized while we’re singing along with the radio and passing snacks back and forth to each other.
And my absolute FAVORITE, and most recent, “helpful” tidbit:
“You took the kids to Disneyland?”
“Yes! It was amazing- I mean, I never thought I could afford Disney, and I actually cried watching them walk through the gate with their tickets….it really was magical, you know?”
“Disney World is better. A lot better. You should have gone there instead.”
So, let’s review.
I married too young; I rented for too long and then bought the wrong kind of house; New England is not an acceptable vacation destination; I have ruined both of my children by 1. working and 2. enduring a long commute; and, finally, I took them to the wrong Disney. Yes, you heard me- the wrong Disney.
I am the WORST.
And as much as I’m rolling my eyes and smirking as I type this, I fully admit that when these people try to school me, I do feel like the worst. Like nothing I do is quite right, or quite….enough.
I’m sure you’ve all been attacked by the “oh that’s all?” monster. It’s how our society works, unfortunately.
Another perfect example of the “oh that’s all?” is the big B.
If you have none you should have one! If you have one you should have two! If you have two…well, you get my point.
Let’s say we have a mom of two, just hanging out at a crisp autumn barbecue, perusing the appetizers, when someone innocently asks “Going for three?”
The quick answer -“No.”
That should be it. End of conversation. Finito! Next topic.
But more often than not, it becomes “Why not? Babies are great! Little A & B could really use another sibling! One more is nothing!”
Now poor Mom of 2 is stuck there, awkwardly holding her plate of chips and guac, being reminded that she wants another baby but can’t afford to expand her family; or that she can’t safely carry another child; or feeling guilty for not wanting another one.
Or reliving the Wednesday morning in August when, during a meeting with her boss, she sat in her chair plastering a smile on her face so that no one would sense her pain as Baby #3 silently and swiftly left her body.
Does the “oh that’s all?” set think about any of this?
So I’m here to tell you that when you’re accosted by these people, it’s ok to smile, flip them the mental bird and walk away.
Because they’re wrong.
You rent? That’s great! You have someone to call when something breaks!
You own? That’s great! It’s all yours! (in 15-30 years)
Your bedroom is upstairs/downstairs/in the basement/on the roof? Awesome!
You fly to Europe 4 times a year? That’s amazing! Nothing like exploring other cultures, I always say.
You get one week of vacation and use it to drive to the Jersey Shore? Fantastic! Nothing like the sand between your toes and a good book, I always say.
You work? Good for you, balancing a career with all the mom-ing!
You stay home? You’re a warrior, raising the little ones and maintaining a house and your sanity!
How many kids do you have? Want any more? Yes? No? Good answer! Hey, someone pass the chips please- so, how about those ::insert team name here::, am I right?
So how does my daughter’s toddler version of Melrose Place bring me to all of this?
Because- she has friends. She’s happy. She’s fulfilled. She’s excited about life.
When my son snuggles up closer and asks, “Can we read one more chapter? I love this part” of the adventures of Mona the Mouse at the Heartwood Hotel, and I see the joy on his face, I know.
When I come home from work and my husband has lit both Christmas trees and a few candles because he knows they calm me and make me happy, I know.
If you feel like it’s enough- well, then it probably is.
I wouldn’t change a second of my life or redo a single decision- I made wonderful memories in all 6 apartments; I’ve enjoyed every day of every vacation we’ve taken, whether it was 2 weeks in Ireland or 5 days in Florida or an overnight in Pennsylvania.
My point is- you do you, and love every minute of it. Because it’s YOUR story- you’re writing a novel that’s all your own. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
So screw the “oh that’s all” set. They don’t get to tell you what’s enough.
Your heart tells you that.