Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sometimes You Just Have a Squeaky Eyeball.

Moms are amazing multi-taskers! Evidently, we’re also worth about $508,526.32 per year according to one source who decided to translate ‘the typical mom’s’ daily task list in a monetary remuneration just for fun. Ouch…Salt in open wound hurts! But since we are not paid, we’re often labeled, simply… ‘miracle workers.’

If you inventoried a typical house full of items, I’d venture to say there are well over a million trinkets and treasures of various shapes and sizes. Why does everyone assume that moms can keep track of each and every one of those million things with her one, overly tired, nearly menopausal mind? Probably because we can, and we do and when we don’t, we blame it on dog or the maid making it absolutely essential for the average mom to have both.

Today, I agreed to make Pac-man sugar cookies with my son who loves the kitchen. Tears welled up in his big brown eyes upon his discovering that the round cookie cutter was missing. I patiently dug through the garbage, retrieved the smelly dog food can, washed off the crusted gook, cut off the bottom with a can opener and voila—one round cookie cutter. Big smile. Pack man sugar cookies materialized. “Mom, you are really creative in the kitchen,” he commented. “Years of practice son. Years of practice.” I chuckled thinking to myself, I should be paid for this level of resourcefulness. But I am a mom. I am a miracle worker.

I asked my daughter to put out the salad for dinner tonight, you know, as a small gesture of cooperation and gratitude for driving her to dance camp for three weeks straight. After all, I was simultaneously baking sugar cookies, preparing scallops that would impress Chef Ramsay, thickening Alfredo sauce, and tossing salad and arranging her social calendar. It wasn’t too much to ask.

“But where is it, mom?” my daughter whined while staring blankly and helplessly into the open fridge. I kept stirring, tossing and talking. “Raise your chin about an inch, look slightly to the right, tilt your head a little, squint one eye, and it should come into focus for you. Now, look for the green bowl, behind the cottage cheese and the ham shank. Take them out carefully, now. Got it?” Yes, she got it, because it was exactly where I said it would be. We are mothers. We are miracle workers. And off she ran to the hammock…my additional request to set the table trailing in her dust.

Two minutes later I heard a muffled scream from outside. All stirring stopped instantly so I could determine if they were screams of pain or pleasure—decidedly pain. Two seconds later, burners were off, pans removed and I was sprinting to the hammock. How did I know that pain had been caused by one dad swinging two children wildly on a hammock strung precariously between two trees by an undersized rope? I am a mother. I am a miracle worker. Two kisses and a reassuring word later I was back to the burners, scallops saved, dinner preparations resumed.

Later that evening I sat down to check email and make plans for our 17 year wedding anniversary. An actual evening alone required an elaborate strategy of pawning my darling children off to two different families, trading favors that I’d have to keep track of in another part of my over crowded mind and then obligingly return at some undetermined future date. My daughter, interrupting my email negotiations, said with genuine concern and elevating panic, “Mom, how come my eyeball is squeaking?” She had me on this one. I thought about it and gave it my best answer. “Well dear, sometimes you just have a squeaky eyeball.” I tiredly replied. She was quiet. Problem solved. I am a mother. I am a miracle worker.

Not so fast…

Later that evening as I was tiptoeing quietly out of her room, thinking she was asleep, and she said… “Mom, I just pushed my eyeball back into my head. I fixed it.” They were words of wisdom, uttered sleepily from a next generation miracle worker. Life is good, even when we don’t get paid.