I saw you roll your eyes today, young mamma. You probably didn’t know I was watching, how could you? I blend in, I’m sure of it, because I watch all the mammas now and I have to be sneaky about it. You see, young mamma, I’m crazy at this point in my life. You were sitting in a restaurant eating lunch with your own mamma and your little boy. She kept feeding him bites of her lunch and he was ignoring his own. You pointed this out, she responded, you rolled your eyes at her. And then I had to actively talk myself out of getting out of my chair and screaming at you in front of the entire restaurant.
You didn’t do anything wrong, not really. I used to roll my eyes at my own mamma all the time. She always had parenting advice and would offer it up whether I asked or not and it sometimes made me really angry, like she thought I wasn’t good enough. Now I try to remember exactly what she said and how she said it. I want to look at her face so badly and hear her words at the same time. I accosted a woman in a grocery store because she resembled my mother in profile; I stalked her and made a grab for her arm when she tried to leave. I told you I was crazy right now.
You roll your eyes at the parenting advice because you think you can do it better. You look back at your childhood and you remember the mistakes your own mamma made as a young mamma and you vow never to repeat them. I know because I did it too. But here is a deep secret; she doesn’t need you to take the advice, she needs you to know that she’s sorry. Your mamma knows she made mistakes. That all consuming love you feel for your son is the same love she feels for you. She wants you to do better. She wants you to cherish every second of the slobbery kisses and the Curious George stage. And she wants you to know that it does NOT matter if he eats her lunch instead of his own because it’s one lunch, one time, and he will never be as little as he is in this second. She wants to enjoy him and she wants you to enjoy him and see how fleeting this moment is.
I hate you a little bit, young mamma, even though I really try not to. You sit there across from your mom and you have the ability to roll your eyes over pasta. I do not. Because even though I’m still a young mamma myself, I lost my mamma to a sneaky disease that now looms over me. I imagine it taking a bite out of my mamma and liking the way she tasted and now it lays in wait for me, licking its chops. It makes me afraid for my own son and leaving him with this feeling while spying on mommas in restaurants.
See, I know my mamma made mistakes because she told me. I remember her looking at me with tears in her eyes during our own pasta lunch with a different little boy. She was wishing she could raise me all over, and all the things she would do differently. She gave me advice about my son because she desperately wanted to rectify the mistakes that kept her awake at night. So right now, young mamma, take a minute. Don’t roll your eyes. Put your hand over your mammas hand and tell her you love her. Tell her she did a great job. Tell her that you, just like her, are raising your little boy the best way you know how.
And ignore the crazy lady staring at you in the restaurant. She may hate you a little, but it’s only because she’s jealous. She wants to roll her eyes too.