Corin spends a lot of time playing with matchbox cars, trains, custom-designed Lego airplanes, Little People buses, bulldozers and monster trucks. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll tell you, “A monster truck driver.” He’s a transportation kind of kid. But lately, he’s also taken to climbing atop the ottoman in the living room and proclaiming loudly, “The God of heaven loves you because he is God. Amen?” He will continue repeating, “Amen?” until he gets a response. Then he’ll move on to a new, similar proclamation, with a new demand for an amen from the congregation. It cracks me up. Lina thinks it’s magnificent.
Jon and I were trying last night to teach Corin about jokes. We were not terribly successful, mostly because neither of us knows many jokes or is very good at telling the two we do know.
Me: Here, Corin, let’s learn a knock-knock joke. Knock, knock. Now you say, “Who’s there?”
Corin: Who’s there? Knock, knock.
Me: No, I say knock, knock. Just say, “Who’s there?”
Corin: Who’s there?
Me: Banana. Knock, knock.
Jon: *Shaking his head* You forgot, “Banana who?”
Me: Oh, right. Let’s try again.
I will spare you the rest of our tortured path to “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” By that point, Corin was understandably lost. He attempted the joke a couple times today and managed to get surprisingly close, considering the mangled teaching process. We tried looking up some jokes online, but the humor clearly flew over his head. When we came to the one about the skunk in the courtroom (“Odor in the court”), Corin just wanted to know whether it was a real skunk. Apparently, jokes are a bit advanced for 3 1/2. Or 34, in my case.
One of the challenges to being a full-time parent is that I don’t get regular performance reviews. No one sits me down and says, “You did a great job this quarter meeting the goals we’d laid out. You went above and beyond on these major projects. Here are your strengths, and here are some areas to work on. You’re a great asset, and we couldn’t do this without you. Oh, and here’s a raise to show you how much we appreciate your hard work.”
To be fair, my husband tells me often what a great wife and mother I am and how much he appreciates what I do for our family. But there are definitely times when it feels like a rather lonely and exhausting slog, with no real goal posts to measure my accomplishments. The laundry is never really finished; no matter how many meals I make, those kids always get hungry again; and nothing ever stays clean for more than a couple hours.
Which makes moments like this one yesterday truly priceless. Corin and I took a trip to Home Depot for some DIY and fall landscaping supplies while daddy stayed home with Lina. As we walked past fragrant stacks of lumber and homeless front doors, he suddenly burst out with, “Mommy? I’m glad you’re my mommy.”
And there it was. The best performance review I’ve ever gotten, in one sentence. No raise necessary.
I smiled and said, “And I’m so, so glad you’re my little boy.” He squeezed my leg hard, and I headed for the pansies and mums, absolutely certain this is the best job there is.