Today is Mothers’ Day, and I got a fat lip.
I was being all Mary Poppins in the kiddie book aisle at Sam’s Club, when I leaned in to kiss my youngest on her head at the exact moment that she decided to excitedly bounce up on her toes.
I got a fat, bleeding lip right in the middle of Sam’s Club.
After an embarrassing, bloody shuffle across the sprawling galaxy that is the big-box store, I reached the restroom and staunched the blood flow. Everything was superficial and fine, as long as I didn’t try to talk.
Mothers’ Day sans mom talking.
My husband comforted the kids, and I mimed my way through the rest of the shopping trip.
That’s when the phenomenon reared its ugly head. I’ve noticed the phenomenon before, but my fat-lip-induced silence really emphasized it today.
My kids talk to me 250,000 times more than they talk to my husband.
I am standing there, literally holding a bloody napkin against my firmly closed mouth, and my kids are saying:
“Can we go to the playground?”
“Do you like this color, mommy?”
“Mama, can I have orange juice?”
“Guess what kind of alien I am.”
“Please call me Queen Sona from now on, okay?”
And they asked their father…
Yeah. I got nothing.
Oh, wait. The youngest asked him to put her in the cart seat, so she could ride around.
He didn’t hear her, though. Husband’s probably so unaccustomed to hearing the kids address him that he thought she was asking me.
So our youngest asked me to ask him.
I hope you never lost the visual of the bloody napkin through all of that.
My husband is a stay-at-home father who regularly meets the needs of the kiddos. Conversation, though, is apparently my job. We are both quiet by nature, but the kids are chatterboxes, always looking to talk.
They zero in on me like heat-seeking missiles, leaving their father to shop in peace, watch TV in peace, and drink his coffee while looking out the window in peace.
He leads a charmed life- except that he’s missing out on so much.
Husband is missing so many of their stories, confessions, questions, and jokes. The kids are missing out on strengthening their communication with their wonderful father.
I know it isn’t easy. The kids talk to me all the time, and that is both precious and difficult for a quiet person like me. There are a lot of articles about the struggles of being an introvert parent. I’m not sure if we’ve covered the struggles of the just naturally quiet parent. Even with my being the main listener for my kids’ chatting, I often, for the life of me, can’t think of anything to say in response.
I do a lot of nodding.
I “uh huh” and “hmmm.”
So I am grateful that my kids hound me to talk, chasing me around the house and Sam’s Club with a barrage of questions and stories. They haven’t given up on me.
And, for some soul-uplifting reasons and some petty if-I-have-to-then-you-have-to reasons, I am determined to get my kids to chat up their father more often.
The chatter is a blessing, and they’re both missing out by my continuing to be the main conversation partner.
Plus, I am literally still bleeding, so, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO ASK YOUR FATHER.