We had a perfect winter Sunday. Sure there were the usual battles, and we may have locked the kids out of the house for a while to force them to play on their own, but it was about as perfect as a winter Sunday at home with two little kids can get.
As a family, we got all bundled up to go sledding. By “go” I mean we walked up the hill between our neighbor’s house and ours. It’s the perfect sledding hill for little kids. Sally can go down on her own; she skids out further than anyone because she doesn’t break through the crust layer of snow. Luke takes huge, fearless running leaps. We slid (sledded? slode?) down the hill in all sorts of piling configurations with all four of us laying on our bellies, stacked up together. The kids took turns sitting in my lap on the little round sled while Tim gave us huge pushes and we flew down the hill at lightening speeds, spinning ourselves dizzy. It was fun.
Later in the day the kids wanted more. Tim had some work to do so I took them out myself. That’s right. I put on my snow gear to go sledding twice! I set the kids up on two tracks and pushed them off for races. I raced them back up the hill or dragged them on sleds. We made snow angles and tried valiantly to build a snowman with the wrong kind of snow. Sally went inside cold and wet after a while but Luke and I stayed out there. We must have raced down that hill 100 times.
He was all rosy-cheeked and glowing with joy, Sally too. So much so that I forgave the battle and tears when it was time to go in; I accepted that more snow was dragged in than left out; I acquiesced to the sweaty work of bundling and unbundling two kids twice before being able to bundle or unbundle myself. All this is to be expected. Sledding as a mom is, at it’s best, 40% play and 60% work. But it was all worth it that night when Luke said as I tucked him in, “I had the best day sledding with you, Mom.” A huge mom-ego boost.
That ego boost didn’t last long. Every Monday in school each kid reports, and draws, their weekend “news.” On Monday afternoon Luke came home with this:
WTF, Luke? Where’s Mommy?
This is typical. I’ve said before how much Luke prefers his dad over me. I could spend the weekend with him flying on magical unicorn dragons; if he came home from that adventure and watched an episode Peppa Pig with his dad, you’d better believe that his weekend news would read, “I watched TV with my dad.”
I figure that for him I’m like air. It’s life supporting and he’d certainly notice if it were suddenly gone or unavailable, but it’s invisible and taken entirely for granted. No one reports how many liters of air they breathed over the weekend. I wonder if air feels sad about it? Does it wonder if it’s all worth it? Is air thinking of all it does for everyone and how it gets all the shitty jobs and none of the glory that, say,
Dad helium gets?
This is what people mean when they say that motherhood is a thankless job.