“Mommy time!” I am jolted awake as a 47 lb. missile hurls at our bed, all legs and arms. I smile and roll over, closing my eyes, because, although I am a parent with a pair of X chromosomes and identify with pretty much all things female, I am not the one my son wants this morning. I am Mama. I am also typically the killjoy in the morning, the one who is all business on weekdays, making sure shoes are on, tooth brushing done, snacks made, violin practiced, breakfast eaten, school forms signed and backpack is ready. Our son doesn’t want to take any chances this Sunday, so it’s all about Mommy. Wrestling and giggling ensues for a minute or so next to me on the bed, but then he is on the move, dragging my groggy spouse from under the warm covers.
“Mama, go back to bed,” he orders solemnly with all the authority a 5½ year old can muster. I could feel excluded, but instead, his bond with the adult I love most in all of the world, the one I have pledged to be with and care for all the days of my life, makes me happy beyond words – and not just because it means I get to sleep in this morning. I have seen too many instances of lopsided families where allegiances and preferences form (and then the inevitable resentments and jealousies) to not feel deeply, deeply grateful for what we have. Last night, while my wife was at a function (an “LGBT parents mixer” she helped organize), he and I had had our turn, snuggling on the couch watching a kids movie from my 80’s youth. Now, understandably to me, he wants her.
We each have our roles; I am the boo-boo and bike fixer, she is the ball-thrower and laundry-washer. I am also the one that packs the backpack for outings, so I ignore my son’s direction and throw on a robe to go downstairs. My wife is certainly capable of putting some snacks and spare, size-5 underwear in a bag. She does this and much more when I am out of town (teasing from friends about her helplessness in the kitchen not withstanding), but I am happy to do whatever I can to support their agenda this morning.
The two of them are going to ride to a nearby café for breakfast and then off on “an [undefined] adventure.” Like many Coloradan kindergartners, our son is already quite adept on his two-wheel bike. He is quite proud of it- a blue 20” mountain bike with hand breaks and gear shifters. It is his first major purchase with his own funds, a combination of the consignment profit from selling his outgrown ski gear and wooden train set. Or maybe I’m the proud one, hoping that this exercise I orchestrated has taught him a bit about commerce and the value of money. My wife is mostly just glad we got our money’s worth on the train set we sold on Craigslist while wistful about the Groupon I forgot to use when we bought the bike. We each have our strengths.
I fill their water bottle, make sure the Epi-pen (emergency medication for his peanut allergy) is packed, and take out the trash as I walk them to the gate. “Love you!!” I wave to their retreating backs as I wonder how to productively procrastinate the work that is waiting me at the house.