On the blackboard in my dining room there’s an index card which reads as follows: “Mom and Dad are NOT stupid. Signed, Hayley Scheir. 8/2/08.”
When my then 7-year-old daughter pronounced her recognition of her parents’ intellectual savvy, I urged her to write it down, knowing full well that in a couple of years her opinion might have a tendency to change. What I didn’t realize is that it would take less than a year for my children’s common sense to trump my own.
Just today, in fact, the kids and I took a bike ride to the local library (which, darn it, has almost none of the books on my personal summer reading list, but never mind about that). By some miracle, I remembered to bring my overdue book, my card catalog cheat list, all three of our library cards, and the key for the bike lock. What I didn’t remember was a bike trailer for the 30 books and 8 DVDs that, for the next three weeks, are now ours.
The way I look at it, books are like fruit, and if a kid wants a banana there’s no way I’m saying “no.” For our family, the library represents the home of the ultimate on-the-cheap shopping spree, where there’s no money spent and no buyers’ remorse.
Problem is, books can also be like that big screen TV that you bought that’ll only fit into your Honda Accord sedan by some miracle of modern particle physics.
Needless to say, on the flip side of our visit, we found ourselves seriously cramming our library booty into the one and only messenger bag I’d worn on my back. “Keep cramming,” I said, “The books will fit, I tell you!!” But the children said, “No, Mom, get a plastic back from the librarian!” And I said, “No, there’s space for at least 3 more books in this hidden flap pocket!! And we can put these 8 books in my handlebar pouch! And you can put these 5 movies in your handlebar pouch! We can do it!!” And finally the kids grabbed my shoulders, shook me, and said, “Mom…stop!! We’re getting a plastic bag!!!”
Luckily we didn’t have to stop too many times on the way home, because with that bag across my shoulder I nearly tipped over every time I put my weight on one of the pedals. Yup, halfway home Hayley said it, “See, Mom, someday you’ll say, ‘My children were right.'” And I said, “Kiddo, today’s the day.” And as I wove back and forth down the road, the load shifting wildly around my center of gravity and the messenger bag strap becoming more and more a permanent part of my upper body anatomy, all I could add was, “I was wrong! I was horribly wrong!!!”