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Monday, March 07, 2011

I want a new mommy!

When Jack was about two-years-old he told me, "Mommy, I want to throw you in the garbage and get a new mommy." I don't remember if I was more hurt or more amused, but it didn't take me long to figure out why he said it. Jack had recently witnessed a couple of instances of some demised item being thrown out and replaced with a new one (dead batteries, and a Cheerio that had the misfortune of rolling into a pile of dust in some forgotten corner of my house). He was learning that things wear out or become in some way obsolete, and we replace them with something shiny and new. I sat with that realization for a while.

We do live in a disposable society. Jack's comment caused me to pause and reflect on whether I throw things away to soon, and whether I consume too much that is new. I'm sure it helped me to remember to reuse and recycle more often. And it definitely made me think about what I want to teach him about 'stuff'. I think it was around this time that I watched a short film called "The Story of Stuff" for the first time. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. The film is about 20 minutes long, so you'll want to block off some time for it.

And then I thought, Hey! Wait a minute! Did my son just say he wants a new mommy? Truthfully, I still found this hysterically funny, and had a hard time being offended. Yet, I wondered how I'd managed to outlive my usefulness already. I expected it to happen sometime in Jack's life - even as early as his tweens or teens - but by the age of two? Shake it off. Sticks and stones....

I asked Jack why he wanted a new mommy, and I don't recall him having much of an answer. He was two. I don't think he quite understood what he was saying. He was very interested in my reaction though. I do remember telling him that it wasn't a very nice thing to say, that I loved him, and, "Besides, kid, I'm the only one you've got." Two years old and already being told, "That's life, kid."

Maybe this was a way of preparing me for the inevitable day that my position will be retired, or at least downgraded to part-time. As the mother of a boy, I may someday be... 'the mother-in-law'. Ugh. Then again, maybe my kid was just trying to be funny.

What is true is that, if I do my job right, my son will need my help less and less as he grows into a man. That's as it should be. For now, I'm soaking up every "I love you", and hug that comes my way. And if Jack turns out to be anything like his dad, he'll always have a hug and "I love you" for me, no matter how independent he becomes.


  1. Anja wished I was dead a few weeks ago so that I could never comb her hair again. We talked about what that means as well as the fact that dad would just take over the hair combing anyway. She was mildy remorseful. The whole thing felt like I was dealing with a teenager.

  2. Oh, I remember the hair combing. Fewer things hurt more than that in all my childhood.

    Guess our kids are just helping us to practice our responses when the stakes are low!