Some days, I wonder if I'm good at what I do. Typically, when employed, you evaluate your abilities by the quality of the goods you produce. When you work inside the home, you have to judge your abilities by the same standards but the only goods I produce are two small people who are decidedly works in progress (unless you'd like to count three square meals daily, two non-imaginative snacks, laundry which is inevitably stuck somewhere in the pipeline, and a house that stays clean for less than twelve hours and that's only if we're asleep for at least nine of those). But you get where I'm going with that. Many days it is daunting, depressing, invalidating, etc. and doesn't often leave me feeling like saying, wow! I am really awesome at this today!
Except on the rare days when I do. For there are moments when I see the kids do something that is good and right and I know that they learned it from me. Not from Noggin - it's like preschool, on tv! - or friends or even from their dad, but from me. And in that brief instant, I get that invisible pat on the back, the priceless paycheck that lets me know maybe I'm actually doing okay and they will turn out okay in spite of all the many ways I screw up each and every day. Today, my sweet Natalie granted me one of those moments.
Let me set the scene: we were pulling out of our local Wal-Mart's parking lot and I stopped at the cross walk to let a woman walk into the store. It was raining, she was carrying a baby, it was the right thing to do. As we sat there, wipers swishing back and forth, I watched her saunter across and realized she was wearing pajamas. I didn't say anything, but I was thinking it. And honestly, I was thinking about the blog post that could stem from that observation, which is why don't you ever see anyone at Target in their pajamas? Is there an unwritten rule that says it's okay at Wal-Mart but not at Target? But I didn't verbalize any of this, I just sat there silently, waiting for here to amble by. And then from the back seat, little miss I-don't-miss-a-darn-thing says,
"Mommy, she wearin' her 'jamas! Dass sih-wee!"
I couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, Nat, she's wearing her pajamas. You think that's silly?"
"Yeah, Mama. We no wear our 'jamas to Wah-wahp! We take our 'jamas off and we yeave dem at home! We wear cyose to Wah-wahp! Dat girl is sooo sih-wee."
And with that, we headed out. I was bursting with pride. You see, the Air Force might keep sending us to towns where there is no Target and I might be forced to raise my kids in places where we encounter even crazier things than people wearing their night clothes to public places but darn it, I'm doing something right if my two-year old knows that it's just plain silly to go shopping in your pajamas.