The other day I read a magazine article about some male professional athletes and how they adjusted to being the fathers of girls – and only girls. Or maybe it was about some female celebrities who were mothers of boys – and only boys.
Whichever it was, the point of the article was how wonderfully challenging and ultimately rewarding it was to be the parent of children who were not the same gender as you. Wasn't it amazing that this big, burly, studly-stud athlete could put aside all that testosterone, pull off the helmet and put on a tiarra to enjoy a tea party with his little girls? How marvelous that this petite, delicate-flower of an actress could stow her estrogen in a Dooney and Burke bag and risk nail breakage just to play race cars with her little boys!
Give me a break.
In our little family microcosm, it doesn't matter how many X or Y chromosomes match. It doesn't matter if they share more than 50% of your DNA. It doesn't matter if they're from Mars and you're from Venus.
Because in our family, I am from Earth and my children are from an entirely different galaxy. A galaxy that is far, far, far away and completely, totally, 180 degrees different from mine.
I used to dream about raising mini-me's – not just in looks but in interests and hobbies. I know it happens. I've seen the Christmas card pictures. The family who sings together. The family softball team. The family on stage together, on the race track together, in the orchestra together, on the hunt together, in the kitchen together, at the pageant together …. (Oh, wait a minute, that was Honey Boo Boo. Never mind.)
In short, I imagined my kids and I would share a multitude of interests. In fact, not so much.
In practice, not at all.
When the Royal Progeny were young I shared all the things I love with them. I took them to plays, musicals and concerts. We visited museums, libraries, and historical markers. I schlepped them through quilt shops, kitchen stores, garden centers and book stores. I hauled them (not exactly kicking and screaming, but certainly sighing and whining) to piano lessons, swimming lessons, dance classes (Princess) and tumbling (Prince). One summer all three of us took tennis lessons (and played a couple awkward games of two-on-one tennis).
None of it stuck.
And I was OK with that. Except for the swimming part, which I consider more of a safety thing than anything else. But what can you do?
I learned to see it from their perspective.
Instead of spending my Saturdays at speech contests, I spent them at volleyball and softball tournaments.
Instead of seeing Billy Joel live and in concert, I saw Iron Maiden.
Instead of the Chicago Museum of Art, we go to the Museum of Science and Industry.
Instead of a piano recital, we play disc golf.
Instead of Garrison Keiller, I get roller skating.
Instead of quilting, we lift weights.
Instead of the antique shop, we went paddle boarding.
Instead of sitting poolside at the aquatic center, I sit ramp-side at the skateboard park (and cringe).
Instead of Spamalot on stage. I get Iron Man on the big screen. Instead of Les Miserables on the big screen, I get Netflix on my laptop.
Instead of swooning at a Billy Joel concert, I will be reeling at a One Direction concert (I'm noticing a disturbing musical bias here).
Instead of raising mini-me's, we've raised mini-thems.
And I'm OK with that. (Well, except for the not seeing Billy Joel part.) But what can you do?
Because being a mom to these two alien life forms has been wonderfully challenging and ultimately rewarding.
And I've learned so much.
And had so much fun.
And they make me so very happy.
Here's to a Happy happy-mother Mother's Day.