Lies I’ve Told My Children
I’ve been a bad mom.
Let me start over: I’m not a BAD mom. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say I sit solidly at a 5.75, maybe a 6 – not perfect by a long shot, but fairly decent in the long haul. I cook them good food and compliment them often, and love them a lot.
But I’ve been a bad mom.
The story starts as thus: two years ago, my son bought a stuffed toy with some Christmas money. It was a husky or wolf or something – one of those stuffed toys with the enormous eyes that are popular right now. It was creepy. He loved it, though, and named it Snowy.
My son is the kind of kid who doesn’t attach to things easily. He’s a careful sort of friendly, and that he fell in love with this particular toy was surprising: he’d never had a “special” toy before. His sister, too, has always been far more mercenary – she tried to donate a stuffed Elmo that went through a cancer scare with her when she wasn’t quite two. Her father and I, weeping, snatched it away. YOU CAN’T GIVE UP ELMO.
M (as I tend to call my son online) loved Snowy. Snowy went just about everywhere with him.
So what did I do? One evening, in front of my cousin’s house, I knocked Snowy out of his backpack and, I assume, under the car. And I left him there.
To be fair, I had no idea this had happened until hours later, when we were at home, across town, at night. M lost it. I assured him that Snowy must have been left at Cousin’s, and I’d get him back post haste.
I was lying. I knew I was lying.
I got online and put a Snowy replica on hold at the store from which we’d bought him months before. I was in my pajamas, but I pulled on a sweater and got in the car, hiccuping sobbing with guilt. I drove in my pajamas, through the rain (yeah, it was raining. It really lent a dramatic tint to all of this) to the store, and snatched up the toy.
The trouble was, of course: he was too clean. The material the company constructs their toys from is as soft as fur. M’s love had matted it up quite a bit. In a panic, I spent the car ride, rubbing my sticky hands on the fur. It was not one of my finer moments.
At home, I snuggled him in under M’s arm. He didn’t awaken until the next morning, peering at the toy. “He must have had a shower,” he remarked.
THAT MUST BE IT, I trilled and ran from the room.
Snowy had a singular ability to be left places. He was left at a friend’s house necessitating the father to post a photo of him on Facebook to assure me the toy had not died in the gutter like the last one. He was left again at a different friend’s house, and then at my parents. The husky/wolf/creepy-eyed dog thing would not stay put.
This brings us to Sunday night. M comes into my room. “Mommy, I can’t find Snowy.”
I have never enjoyed this refrain. Still, I got up and looked with him: under the beds, in the closet, under dressers, under his sister’s bed, downstairs, in backpacks. No sign of Snowy.
My blood ran cold. A week before, I’d had the kids sort their toys into KEEP and DONATE piles. Could Snowy have rolled into the DONATE?
M was worked up to tears. I pulled him into my lap. I couldn’t lie to him, not the way I did before: there was no way I’d be able to age Snowy again, not a year and a half later. I told him Snowy probably got taken away. I reminded him of the Toy Story movies (his favorites when he was a toddler), and how Woody and his friends went on to make another kid very happy (oops, spoiler alert). This didn’t help.
Geekdom took hold. “Well, you know. What if Snowy will regenerate, like the Doctor?” My kids are obsessed with Doctor Who. I knew this could be my only chance.
“This version of Snowy will go on with another kid, like the cloned Ten with Rose, and we’ll find the regenerated Snowy, like Eleven.”
It worked. He calmed down enough to sleep, and, the next day, we went to the store, where he was to “feel” which was “Snowy.”
Apparently, Snowy regenerated into a lion. STILL NOT A GINGER.
My husband nominated me for Mom of the Year for this one. I pointed out Mom of the Year wouldn’t have donated her child’s beloved toy.
You know, the second one she sneaked into his bed to replace the one she left in the gutter in the rain?
Hand me that trophy.