It wasn’t until I was In Public that I realized my kid wasn’t typical. It wasn’t until I saw him with other children that I realized he was different. As some of you may know, I fully planned on putting Tucker in daycare once he was four months old. It’s what the cool moms that I knew did. He was born. I was almost 41. I had a good job. Money. Identity. Pride.
None of which mattered any longer once I laid eyes on my new baby. I quit my job because I realized that there would never be anybody, or anything, that would come remotely close to making me feel like I was Important both in private, and in public, the way my son did. Has. Does. Every single day. He’s my Best Good Thing.
The thing is, if I were raising Tucker in a cave, as it possibly should be (or not because omg I need my iPhone), I would never know that he’s different. And maybe? Maybe that’s better. Because he’s totally perfect. Imperfect. Not typical. But perfect. So maybe, possibly, Public sucks. Maybe, Public and Comparisons are completely wrong and bad and do absolutely nothing for the development of ourselves and our children. While I type those words, I believe in them. Why we subject ourselves to books and emails talking about where our babies, who are the future of the planet, should be developmentally, influentially, in their leadership qualities, whatever-the-ly, maybe, possibly, mean that we’re all just full of shit.
That. Contradictorily, I also believe in the power of community and understanding and needing, wanting, and needing, needing, needing connection.
We need connection.
I suppose that it’s human nature to compare. We’d not be able to compare if we weren’t exposing ourselves to the masses. Should we? Yes. Should we? No.
When it comes to whatever it is that you’ve seen in public, let’s face it. You. Don’t. Know. You don’t know the past. You don’t know the future. You need to let go and let happy happen. You cannot control happy. It just is or is not.
But trust me that it happens much more often when you invite it to the party. Inviting happiness to the party means letting go of comparing our children to their peers.
So when it comes to shit that I’ve seen in public.
Once, in public, I saw my son try to interact with children who were younger than him, and fail. I cried harder than he did.
Once, in public, I heard a mother tell me that my son was too old for diapers. Trust me. I know. I wish he’d shit in the potty, too.
Another time, in public, I held his hand, with my head held high, when I simply wanted to fall on my knees, after a failed playdate. After greedy questions about him. After somebody asking me whether he’ll ever catch up. And then, telling me that he will.
At times, people overwhelm me with their kindness and their empathy. People can be amazingly generous, giving, understanding and supportive.
They can also be incredibly amusing, occasionally stupid, and, at times, downright gross. Some of the things I’ve seen people do in public are shocking.
Once, in public, at the grocery store, I saw a grown man eat his booger.
Years ago, in New Orleans, I saw two dumb drunk girls ask for vampires Lestat and Louis “Come to Them” while peeing. On the street. Because, you know, it’d be disrespectful to pee near the graves. Wait. Sorry, that was me and my friend Julie.
Lord knows that Tucker has embarrassed me in public.
He’s reached up, and grabbed my boob. In a mall. And said “WHONK!” Smart kid, I guess. At the time, I wanted to pretend that he was somebody else’s.
Once, I saw a guy reach down the front of his pants, adjust his balls, and then smell his finger. I guess ballstink is a valid enough concern but I prefer to remain blissfully unaware of it.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “Once, in public, I saw somebody…”
Your lovely hosts:
janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
kate: Can I get another bottle of whine?
stephanie: Mommy, for Real
me: finding ninee
Next week’s sentence: The best part of my day is…
If there’s a parent out there who hasn’t wondered whether her kid is normal, please email me.