“Do I have to worry about blood or band-aids?” I asked.
“No.” Her reply was curt and forward.
Ahead of time she warned me they would be putting on music in the living room so that I wouldn’t be able to overhear their plan.
With that, I was officially banned to my bedroom.
“Can I at least have my computer?”
My son attempted to stop me. With intervention from my daughter, succeeded in getting my computer. I wallowed back to my bedroom.
Why Did I Allow my Teenagers to Banish Me to My Room?
It’s my birthday.
They’ve been plotting and scheming since yesterday on what to do to surprise me. They’re quite proud of themselves. The mom in me isn’t so much listening for their conversations (which I cannot hear due to the music), but instead I’m listening for anything that might indicate blood has been shed and or that band-aids are needed.
With the sweltering heat outside and the air conditioner working hard inside, it’s a few noticeable degrees cooler in my room.
From here, I can hear the music— an artist I’m not familiar with.
The beat and undertone of it is inviting. Like — go-grab-some-adult-beverages-with-your-friends-and-forget-about-all-your-worries-and-maybe-meet-someone-new inviting.
Footsteps approach down the hall. “Mom, I have a question.”
Her long dirty blond hair appears next to her framed glasses in my doorway. She holds up a plastic round spoon in the dark. “Is this the tablespoon? The label is worn off.”
“I think so.” I never use it and haven’t used it in quite some time.
She holds up another smaller one. “Then is this the teaspoon?”
My memory saves us both. “Wait, use the green slidy thingy. It has marks on it.”
She remembers and disappears with a smile on her face.
The music changes now to a slower, sadder ballad. I hear one tease the other about events earlier in the day. The other one tells the first one to “shut up.”
I think I heard a rolling pin hitting the countertop.
Now They’re Singing in Unison
They’ve agreed on something to listen to now they both like for music. They sing the lyrics together. I hear cupboards closing, the oven door closes and the faucet comes on. My dogs have joined me here in my room.
I cherish these memories.
We Make Memories
With my kids living in different states for the school year, I only really get to see them for six to eight weeks during the summer months.
While they’re here, we make things, do things — but mostly we are present and we make memories.
They’re bonding right now. I’m letting them.
We laugh. We sing. We discuss. We plan. We pray. We play. We grow.
We love each other, even when exhaustion, sunburns, or misunderstandings loom.
Nothing replaces or compares to the time I have with them.
Not all long-distance parents get what I get: that much time with them and the memories we get to make.
A Face Appears in the Mirror on my Closet
My son was on his hands and knees attempting to sneak around the corner to my room. He didn’t realize I could see him.
He comes barreling in and announces his sister has ordered him to come keep me company.
After some shenanigans that involve tickling one of my feet, farting at random, and squeezing a layer of my belly fat to make it talk by itself — I gently get him to understand that I’m in the middle of writing something.
“I wasn’t expecting to have company, so I started writing.” He could stay but he must stop the shenanigans. “If you want to stay, sit in my hammock.”
“Oooooo, Mom. You should write a story with dragons and assassins in it. People would love that.”
His eyes light up. I’m grateful my feet will go untouched for awhile longer.
“Yes.” His hands spread to both sides and then narrow again in front of him. “Send the Assassin to New Mexico to track down the criminals from the Mexican government.”
My eyes narrow. “You mean the Mexican Mob?”
His eyes widen. “YES.”
I agree to consider it. He retreats to my hammock and begins to tease me about my lack of love life.
The Moment of Surprise
Footsteps arrive down the hall. “Happy Birthday Mom!” My daughter appears with two spoons. “Try this. It’s the best dough I’ve ever made.”
I take the spoon covered in white thick goo. It’s sugar cookie dough.
“You’re making me cookies?”
“Well, I’m making all of us cookies and me cookie dough [without eggs].”
Protest erupts from the hammock. “Hey! What about me? I helped! What do I get out of all this?”
My daughter smiles. “Both.”
I thanked my kids for their efforts. My daughter said, “I couldn’t find the cake mix so I made cookies instead.”
Nearly done with my work here at the laptop, they both exit. The music is turned up. “Don’t come out yet mom!” I hear.
“Fine, I won’t.”
I have no idea what they’re doing now. It’s growing quieter out there now.
Nothing to indicate bloodshed or the need for band-aids. Instead, only precious memories for my birthday.
My kids are epic specimens of the human race and I’m so grateful for being part of their lives.
Time passes. A lot of time.
Like 30 whole minutes.
The music keeps changing and for the last 20 of it, they sing in unison again. I love getting to hear them experience life in the here and the now with joy, expectation, and hope.
“When can I come out of my room?”
The music is put on pause. “In a minute!”
Fine. The music is really goin’ now. The beat is strong, peppy, and definitely deserves to be danced to.
I find my foot tapping to the beat at the end of my hammock. A yawn bubbles up the surface. I’m also a little sleepy.
With that, music enters my room, my children following it and with them, a plate of piping hot sugar cookies. They sing happy birthday and I blow out an imaginary candle.
They are back in the living room dancing now. I’m no longer banished.
Before I join them, I wipe my tears away (the happy-proud kind). You can’t dance to Pitt Bull with tears.
This story was originally published by the author on Medium.com/@MistyWrites on July 6, 2018. The original link can be found here.