The Adventures of Alpha Mom

Hey there! Just today I have come to the end of a wicked-busy spring. Ten weeks of teaching rolled into a week where I had to get ready for the goddamn garage sale, the Western New York Romance Writers open house and a Hope Chest breast cancer benefit where I cooked gluten-free food for a very hungry crowd. Now, in the middle of all that I also decided my alter ego needed to have a big release party for her second book, so I’m not *quite* done. Oh, and in two weeks I’m flying out to L.A. to celebrate 40th birthdays with my high school BFF. And a month later I’m going to the RWA conference in Anaheim – but for today I’m done. I’m going to lie on the couch and drool. Maybe I’ll go get a bubble tea.

This spring was nutty-busy. The kids have been busy too. Softball, T-ball. Several times I looked at my husband and said, “I’m supposed to take who WHERE? WHEN? HUH?” And all the while we’ve been flying back and forth, so has the mother robin who built a nest in the bushes in front of our house. It is a terrible place to build a nest. Chest high. Right where we park our cars. What was she thinking?

Every kid in the neighborhood (and there are about 75) wanted to get a look at those beautiful robin eggs. Especially my kids. Particularly the eldest girl, who not only loves animals but is obsessed with the camera. We made a deal. We’d check on the robin eggs once a day when the mother was off foraging. I would take the pics because I was taller and could peer down into the nest without prying the branches apart and endangering the nest. I was so afraid it would fall. I was afraid the mother would decide she’d made a mistake and abandon the nest – or try to move it. Splat.

And of course my eldest girl also asked me how babies are made. Did I ever mention I choked the last time she asked me that question? Hard. Why was it so easy to talk about homosexuality – “Actually, honey, I believe love is love. Why couldn’t a woman love a woman or a man love a man, hmmm?” – but I couldn’t explain sexual intercourse? I was so ashamed. And amused. And determined to get it right the next time it came up. So I did. I used the words penis, vagina, egg, sperm, squirt gun, condoms, sexually transmitted diseases (never too early to lay the groundwork for those last two, I figured), and then we talked about cupcakes. I’m sure we’ll cover more ground next time, when she comes up with more questions.

I love this picture.

And what does that have to do with baby birds? Well, my girls are growing up. Faster and faster now. And it’s time to ease up on the do as I say, every single time. I explained why it was important not to jostle the bushes. I don’t have to make sure she doesn’t do it. If I had, we wouldn’t have this picture.

Because when she says, “I’ll be careful!” Some of the time, she will be careful. And I have to let her. Because I want her to grow up believing in herself. She should be testing her wings right now. I don’t want her to stay in the nest. I want to teach her to fly. To hang on to her faith in herself that she CAN do it – but hopefully not be a stubborn idiot ALL of the time. Some of that will be inevitable. I was a hopeless idiot many times while growing up – ah, well.

The baby birds grew up in a week. A week.

From this:To this:

In a week.

It takes my breath away. When I look into my girls’ eyes, I see humor, intelligence and will. Not maturity – we’ve a ways to go for that – but they won’t become mature unless Alpha Mom eases up a little and lets them start making a few choices for themselves. Good God. I knew this was going to be hard.

I just hope it hurts me more than it hurts them.

Baby Bird Update: The baby birds, now dubbed Big Beak and Tiny Wings, flew out of the nest this morning. My daughter found Tiny Wings trapped in the empty garbage can. We rescued her by tipping the can…

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4 comments

  1. That is one thing that I am glad that I am not a parent for. I don’t think I could handle having to have “the talk” with a young person. With my nieces, after my sister had it, I just kept reminding them that condoms were necessary to prevent diseases.

    1. I just want to be the person they ask first – or at least second. I want to help them develop positive body images and healthy, honest attitudes toward the topic. Yup – hard!

  2. Loved this blog! The pictures of the birds were great, but the explanation of sex was classic – a squirt gun? Also, very sentimental. I remember when our girls were in preschool together.

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