The evidence was staring me right in the face.
Parenting has changed me.
It’s not just that I can’t respond to a question with “Everything is awesome” without getting that stupid song stuck in my head. Under “Things Mom Likes To Do For Fun” on his mother’s day questionnaire, my son wrote “My mom likes to go to Safeway and grocery shop by herself.”
Sadly, he’s not wrong.
There is nothing more delightful than buying produce and having nobody ask me for a gumball. The fervour with which he explains how his life would be exponentially improved by Oreo cookie snack packs for his lunch leaves me confident in his political future and his ability to self-advocate. For now, I tell him, “Ask not what the snack aisle can do for you!” and try to get out with just the things on my list. Going alone to the grocery store to buy grapes is actually almost as relaxing as having someone feed them to me.
Something else that has changed… Date night.
I pull out my lipstick and flat iron and spend time beautifying myself. I am transformed. I eschew my yoga pants in favour of a skirt or a dress that embodies femininity and an ability to colour match that doesn’t come naturally to me. I make an effort. We speed off to dinner in my Tiguan littered with juice boxes. I am without my child and he is without his. I feel like that lady on the Ikea commercial. START THE CAR!
We settle into a booth, review the menu and proceed to talk about the kids the entire time. They aren’t there, but they may as well be. We are enchanted by our collective little people and we really can’t avoid them in conversation. This is what passes for a hot night out. I remember when a long night where nobody got any sleep was something to savour. Now we call that “teething” or “flu season”. A heavy traffic night in my room now involves multiple intrusions to request water, soothing post nightmares or just one more story. In the end, I still wear my heavy eyelids with pride.
Parenting has changed me, but I think for the better. Grocery shopping alone sounds pretty heavenly some days, but I can’t imagine life without my angel. Everything is awesome and he does deserve a gumball.