I remember this day, eight years ago, like it was yesterday. Except I was on copious amounts of morphine and I was recovering from a major abdominal surgery. I had my little boy eight years ago today and that was hands down one of the best days of my life. It was also the most monumental. I remember looking down at that tiny little face and it just took my breath away. I felt myself transform in that moment into a mother. I felt like I was having this grand metamorphosis. It was the start of me raising and shaping a tiny human so that one day he may be fit for society. I remember looking around me after having this revelation and wondering how in the hell the world still looks the same when my entire life had just changed so much.
Boy let me tell you, laying in that bed, I never for a second thought raising my son was going to be easy, but nothing could have prepared me for what it was really going to be like. There are no books, articles, or ancient scripts that can put into words just how much your babies can rock your world. I was not prepared for the first time he smiled, I swear angels were singing. The first time he walked, you could have knocked me over with a feather because I was just so stunned. When he started speaking I never thought I had heard a sound quite as sweet. There are so many joyous times for me to look back on and it still makes my heart so happy. But there are truly hard times too. The first time he was sick just broke my heart, there was nothing I could do for him and I just had to watch him suffer. I never realized how much I could miss him until he went on a trip with his grandparents for the first time. And I never thought my heart could break into so many pieces when he told me he hated me once. There is nothing I would change about him or any of the things we have experienced together. They have shaped him into this little person with such a large personality.
Every year when his birthday rolls around it startles me a little bit more. I thought five was hard because he was leaving me to go to school, but eight just kind of took my breath away. I feel like it’s just going to hit me harder every year because he is growing up so fast and my little baby is turning into this wonderful young man right before my eyes. I am so proud of him everyday. I love you so much, Brody Bretton.
The PTO program at my 7y/o’s school is not quite as aggressive as the ones that are portrayed on television, but they have their moments. I remember walking into his school for the first time for the “Meet the Teacher” event before he started Kindergarten. We came in through the front door and we’re immediately accosted by a bright, smiling, as-stepford-as-she-could-get-in-north carolina-mom. She asked my husband and myself if we wanted to join the PTO. Her smile pierced my soul and I vaguely remember shaking my head yes, as if I were in some sort of trance. She asked us for five dollars and then cheerfully says, “Here! Have a Smencil!” The fuck is a Smencil? It’s a scented pencil. I distinctly remember ours smelling like root beer and myself being pregnant at the time, wanted to vomit. I walked around feeling dazed as we visited all the booths for kiddie sports leagues and clubs and then we went to meet our son’s teacher. After it was all over, we went to leave and had to pass the PTO booth again and were accosted once more and urged to join. After reminding the far-too-pleasant PTO seductress that we had already signed our lives away, we left with our Smencil, and without my soul.
After we got home, I called my mom and was telling her about the teacher and all the sports my son wanted to do and then I casually mentioned that I joined the PTO. Radio silence. And then my mom started laughing and asked me in between her hysterics why I would do such a thing. Let me explain something about myself, I am not the group activities kind of person. I am not introverted, I just don’t give a shit to sit in a circle jerk making bright colored posters that nobody pays attention to. It’s not that I don’t support their efforts, and I have no problem donating to the cause, but I don’t want to be involved like that. I quickly realized my grave mistake and I was horrified. When the time came for the first meeting, it turned out that only one of us would be able to attend, so my husband went. What a guy, right? I felt a little sorry he had to go. I’ve seen enough pornos to know what happens when you get a group of sexually frustrated moms together with apple juice and ginger snaps. It’s nothing anybody wants to see, so I didn’t feel THAT bad. He came home an hour later and reported that they just announced upcoming fundraisers and then were sent on their merry way. We paid five bucks for them to read off a piece of paper they sent home with my son for free? Needless to say, neither of us went back again.
Good on those parents that are willing to sit through those meetings and to come up with the different ways to raise money for the school, but I will not be one of them. I will, however, buy your doughnuts and your wrapping paper. You can keep your fucking Smencils though.