Tag Archives: kids

I love April Fools day.

April Fools is my jam. As far as I am concerned, it is one of the best days of the year. It is a day when you can screw with people and there are few repercussions.
I have always loved it.  As a child, I screwed up a lot and I realized, after having my mom in tears, that jokes about people dying are not cool. I have come a long way.
As many of my friends can attest, I can be relentless. Now…imagine the torment I inflict on my own children and incredibly gullible priest.  My priest has fallen or been the victim of terror over the years.  One year, I was very pregnant and I pretended to fall in the shower.  I banged the shower walls and then calmly sat on the ground waiting for him to arrive.  He did.  Screaming, “Why? No!”  Tears streaming down his face.  He had forgotten what day it was.  It was cruel.  Maybe too cruel, so I started doing trickier things.  Like the year I put multiple signs on his car that said,  “Honk and wave at me.  It is April Fools day and I have no idea this sign is on the car.”  He was so distracted that so many people were waving at him.  He was distressed by his new found popularity.

This year was hard.  April Fools day also happened to be Easter Day.  I was rushing preparing for both and I had to pull an all nighter to prepare.   Freezing food, plastic wrapping toilets, filling Easter eggs with grapes and croutons, trashing my kids rooms….it was a lot.  The pranks were good.  Green water poured out of the taps, food was tainted, people were mad.  My job was done.

This year something magical happened.  My kids actually pulled off pranking me.  At the end of the day, I was wiped out and headed to brush my teeth.  As the pressed on the toothpaste tube, this gross milky substance shot out.  They replaced all of my toothpaste.  Impressed?  I was.  I thought that was it.  I started to swig my mouthwash when I began to gag.  They replaced it with vinegar dyed blue.  It was nasty.  I was so proud.

If my kids learn nothing from me, at least they have understood the joy of comedy.  The students became the master.  I went to bed happy.

Do what makes you happy.

I love the expression, “do what makes you happy,” but somehow that seems hard to do. I was asked recently by my youngest daughter what makes me happy. I quickly responded that she and her sister make me happy. It’s true. I never wanted children originally. I had a career as a television news producer. I liked pursuing stories and hanging out with my colleagues. I liked that my priest and I went on cool vacations to exotic locations.  I liked having no one to worry about except me, my priest and our dogs.  Yet one day something changed.

I was visiting my grandmother and parents at our summer home in Canada and recently one of our elderly neighbors had died.  The husband, now a widower, was sitting on his porch alone.  He looked sad and lonely.  I said to my grandmother that I felt sorry for him and she said, “he  never had chick nor child, hide nor hare.  You will be sitting alone one day on the porch with just your husband and no one will visit you either.”

It hit me then.  One day when my job is over and I am old, it will just be me and my priest alone.  Maybe we still have good friends, maybe we don’t, but the idea of just being old and alone crushed me.  I told my priest immediately that I was making a trip to my gynecologist and seeing if I could crank out a kid.  I was 29 years old.  I got pregnant two months later and Maggie was born two months after I turned 30.

My grandmother never got to meet her.  She died when I was 6 weeks pregnant.  I hadn’t told anyone I was pregnant, but my grandmother knew.  I was home for Christmas and she touched my nonexistent belly.  She said, “you’re pregnant.”  I was stunned.  How could she possibly know?  She said she could tell and she was happy.  My grandmother’s name was Margaret.  The little girl in my belly would grow up with the same name and she still hears marvelous stories of my awesome grandma.

Pippa was a result of Maggie desperately wanting a sister.  I could hear her in her room at night praying for a sister.  I was happy with just having Maggie, but she wanted more and it had to be a girl.   I tried to tell her that I couldn’t guarantee her a sister (as a side note, I also really didn’t want to grow a penis, so I wanted a girl too).  The idea of creating a little boy and all of his parts, freaked me out.  God answered Maggie’s prayers.  Even the one where she prayed her baby didn’t have red hair because she didn’t want to be jealous of her.  Maggie loves my red hair and she used to think only mermaids and really lucky people got to have red hair.  She did wear an Ariel wig a lot as a little girl.

To get back to my main point, I think my quick answer to Pippa that being a mom makes me happy, is true.  I didn’t know that when I was consciously avoiding getting pregnant.  My priest always said he would like to have kids, but he also said it was up to me.  He claims he knew I would change my mind.  He said that he watched me with kids and knew I loved them.  He saw me working at summer camp and running  kids games at our cottage.  He knew, but he didn’t push me or even really tell me.   It all came down to one lonely man sitting on his porch.

I understand that being a parent is not for everyone.  People live full and happy lives alone.  They surround themselves with friends and they make themselves invaluable.  They find happiness in a million different things.  I still find happiness in a long run or a hike in the forest, but if I was being honest, I am most happy when I am with my girls and my priest.  Hearing them laugh or even fight, makes my heart sing.  When they tell me they love me for no other reason than they just felt like it, I feel warm and content.  Being a mom is the last job I thought I wanted.  Sometimes wise people and God know what you want more than you do.