I was raised a little differently than most kids. The only orange drink I had when I was little was carrot juice. I had to stir my peanut butter before I made a sandwich because the natural stuff has an oil that rises to the top and it’s pretty terrible to get that on your perfect whole wheat 9 grain bread. Oh and slather that peanut butter on rice cakes? Heaven. We made weekly trips to Oma’s garden and raided her pickle cabinet. Tea was pretty much a daily thing once I mastered hot beverages. Fresh cut flowers must be in the home at all times, and yeah, I was that kid who brought the teacher huge bouquets for almost every occasion. Most of my books were about natural animals, and I always snuck my Dad”s insect indexes. TV, shmeevee, you better be outside getting filthy, or using your imagination. And try as my Mom did, you couldn’t keep a dress on me for very long because jeans made it WAY easier to conquer the playground in our yard. I could ride my horse Sam bareback, but Mom better be right there in case anything happens. And no bare feet in the arena, because Cherry likes to clip clop onto toes. And if you’re not taking at least 5 vitamins every morning, you’re doing something wrong.
Man I could go on and on. Most of my friends throughout life make hippie jokes at my expense, and even still my husband does every once in a while. But you know what? I love it. I love that I was raised that way. Somewhere along the lines I became an always broke 20 something and lost sight of the kid my parents raised. I got into alcohol and parties, cared more about meeting people than knowing myself. I’m not particularly proud of the person I was for a while there, but as the saying goes, it made me who I am today. So now, after a few days bout with some sort of snot monster, I’m pleasantly reminded of who I should be for my child. We don’t often catch flu bugs, we’re careful about not getting around sick people, we eat pretty well, exercise normally, and live a pretty good life. But try as you might, every once in a while, the germies sneak in anyway.
So the Mother who raised me, also made the Mother I am. I don’t have deep conversations with her the way I should, but that’s a kid’s way isn’t it? To just assume our parents know exactly how we feel, even if we never say it. I go back on my little girl days and try to apply them now. It may be a different world we live in, but I should still instill the same influence on my son. I want him to work with his hands, I want him to make healthy choices (even if he indulges every once in a while like Mommy & Daddy), I want him to care more about the outside world than about Mickey Mouse’s. So when we go through these little flu spells, I always make little mental notes on how to avoid it next time. Which really is silly, no one can truly avoid flu germs, but as a Mom, you sure as hell try your hardest. I make a lot of resolutions, most of which I never actually follow through with, but it makes me feel better. I make lists, I plan, I organize, because it puts me at ease. It also drives my husband crazy sometimes, because my To-Do list can be two pages long and I’ll do the first three things and give up. I’m working on that.
For now though, I like to remember life when I was my sons age, and look forward to doing the same things with him. I will slowly incorporate more green stuff into our eating habits until my husband realizes it and I have to make a meal consisting mostly of meat and cheese. I’ll let him play outside as much as he wants, well okay maybe not that much, the kid would be out there if it’s pouring rain or freezing cold in a t-shirt if I let him, but a lot. I may not buy natural PB anymore, but we’re slowly changing the labels that would normally appear in our pantry. I need to count to 10 before yelling. I need to let him get filthy. I need to encourage him to learn about the natural world he lives in, and to care about the creatures he loves. I need to remember that even when he’s sick, it’s not my fault, and I can fix it with something you can’t find at a drug store. He’s going to learn about our Dutch heritage, which yes, means he’ll drink tea, and garden with Mommy. I mean come on, the chicks are gonna dig a guy who makes a good cuppa Earl Grey and makes stew with home grown veggies. If I can convince a mountain man to love a hippie girl, I can convince a wild child to embrace his curiosity and grow into the man we hope he’ll be.
And you bet your sweet asses I’m going to interrogate any future girlfriends and make sure they’re taking their vitamins and he’s buying and/or growing flowers for her.