I just mastered parenting. That’s right. Mastered. There were no books to help me out. No friend I could go to for advice. It was just me and my gut and a happy ending.
I was making supper when Tommy, my 5-year-old, sat at the table and informed me, “When I grow up, I’m gonna have a skin beard.”
I don’t even know what that is, but knowing this particular child, it’s probably something gross. I took a deep breath and asked, “Okay, what’s a skin beard?”
With a glimmer in his eye and a rotten little smile stretching from one chubby cheek to the other, he says, “You know when old people are, like, really really old? And when they turn their heads you can see all that skin hanging under their chin? That’s a skin beard. I love that! I just wanna go up and smack it!”
Immediately a vision of Officer Palmer delivering my son to the door on a nice spring day comes to mind.
“Ma’am, we found your son downtown smacking around old people. Said something about achieving his goals. I dunno. This is his first offense so we’ll let it be for now as long as I have your word you’ll take care of it at home.”
Tommy then interrupted my daydream…nightmare…daymare, “And when I have a grandson, I’m going to sit him on my lap and let him wobble my skin beard.”
Another horrifying vision pops in my head. This time it’s of my yet-to-be-born grand kids, chasing me around the house, trying to pop ol’ granny in the skin beard. I don’t know what’s worse. The violent children or the fact that I’ve grown a skin beard!
“Look,” I tell Tommy, “I want you to achieve every dream you come up with in that eccentric little head of yours, but no trying to wobble people’s skin beards. Don’t even mention skin beards, especially to women. Okay?”
He shrugged his little shoulders and pouted. This time my vision was of a book cover.
How My Mom Crushed My Soul, it read. I had to turn this around.
“Alright, how about this. You stay away from skin beards right now. You can still talk about them as long as you’re not asking people about theirs or if you can touch it. And on your 40th birthday I’ll have my skin beard sucked out and injected into you. You will then have the mother of all skin beards.”
Tears actually sprang to the boy’s eyes, and he threw his arms around me. “You’re the best mom ever! I love you!”
And that’s how it’s done, folks. Parenting Mastered.