Every year I look forward to those adorable questionnaires teachers make kids fill out for Mother’s Day. They are less funny than they used to be. (“How old is your mom? 10!”) But I still love seeing how my kids sum me up in just a few words.
This year, Eli’s was really fantastic. He drew a sophisticated (for a first grader) picture of me, tall and willowy in a long black dress that I hope he designs and sews for me one day. Among the “fun facts” about mom were: “She runs a company!” and “She works out a lot.”
I was really proud to see that exclamation point in the first fun fact. Somehow he knows already that this is impressive. And it really made me feel an extra surge of, “OK, I gotta make this Chairman Mom thing work, because Eli is proud of me!”
Evie’s drawing of me couldn’t have been more different than Eli’s. I was taking up huge amounts of space with a wild colorful rainbow dress, arms outstretched, and crazy hair. “Hugging” was the answer to a lot of questions. She said she loves running with me even though Evie and I have literally never run together in my entire life.
But one part of Evie’s questionnaire made me well up: “I love my mom because she goes with me on Thursday.”
OK, that sounds inscrutable to everyone but me. Here’s the backstory: Eli has gone to a therapist every Thursday after school for the last year. This has been a game changer for him, but is a total, total pain in the a** for me. It’s in Union Square, and we take BART peak-commute. It’s always windy and we miss most of the evening, are frequently running late, homework doesn’t get done, and it’s at the end of the week when I’m already exhausted.
I used to have to pull him out of school half an hour early to make it, which then left me with a weekly question of what to do with Evie. If Paul couldn’t pick her up, I’d rely on another parent to grab her for an hour or so.
This wasn’t really fair on Eli. Evie gets a weekly playdate, usually involving going to someone’s house, a park or ice cream, while he gets to go…to a doctor. But strangely enough, it was Evie who was jealous.
Each week, she’d ask if she could come too, which I chalked up to “she only thinks this is fun because she doesn’t go.” A later time slot opened up, which meant I wouldn’t have to get him early, and so a few months ago I started dragging them both on BART, through the wind tunnel of Union Square and now have to entertain Evie during the hour of wait room time.
This is more arduous for sure. Sometimes I feel like I do an hour of play-based therapy with Evie in the waiting room while Eli gets his in the office. And it takes forever to get to BART because there’s a daily game on the walk, like stepping only on the dark concrete or the light concrete or pretending to be Alice falling down the rabbit hole. I have to herd two kids and backpacks through throngs of commuters.
But she absolutely loves it. She even did a video about Union Square for her social studies project during one of Eli’s sessions, where she also lauded its cable cars, its LEGO store, its pretzels, and that is has “one of my favorite restaurants…Burger King.” (Said as if she were describing a hidden culinary gem she was cluing the world in on.) She loves those pretzels. So much so, that the pretzel woman now stays open 30 minutes later on Thursdays just for Evie.
I showed my mom this video and she said it was the most Evie thing she’d ever seen, adding, “You can tell she’s really happy and proud to be there with you.” I didn’t see that so much as her wanting to go buy something at the LEGO store.
But she’s said several times recently that this hour in the doctor’s waiting room is her favorite time of the week. And it was the number one thing she “loves about mom,” at least the day she filled out this questionnaire. I focus so much on how I can entertain my kids, what I can buy for them that’s special, how I can teach them to be better people, how I can make every single moment with them COUNT, that sometimes I forget that all they want is an hour of me and no one else once a week.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- How do I tell my company I’m pregnant?
- Is anyone going to call Shervin Pishevar out for his Uber PR?
- Are there any folks here that specialize in CPG products?