But I digress...
It was a typical Monday night (other than being the last day of my 38th year). One child playing with her legos, one sprawled across the couch, and one (middle) child who had a friend over. I ran down to the Office/Laundry Room/PS3 Room to let the boys know their dinner was ready. I grabbed the handle and turned...locked. "Jack?!" I called, "open this door."
The friend opened the door to my best stern mom face. "We have a rule in this house," I said to him as he slinked back to his chair in front of the tv, "No locked doors."
I let it go - I don't believe in scolding/lecturing/beating (ha) kids in front of their friends.
After his friend went home, I found Jack in front of the PS3. I sat down next to him. "Jack?" "I know mom," he said, "I'm sorry."
I was feeling very in control. Pleased with my ability to stay in charge and on top of the House Rules I had imposed. "What were you doing in here that you needed to lock the door?"
"Mom..." Jack sneaked a peak at me out of the corner of his eye before turning back to the TV to shoot another bad guy.
"Do I have to tell you?"
I was smug. "I'd like to know, yes."
He reached behind his chair and pulled out a stack of little square sheets of paper.
"It's your birthday present."
Each square was a coupon; for cutting the lawn, babysitting his sister, folding the laundry, washing the car. A free hug.
Ugh. My turn to apologize. For thinking...what? That they were building a weapon of mass destruction? Leafing through a magazine found on the sidewalk? Sometimes my imagination gets the best of me. Better to be on my toes, I guess. I'm not naive. Sure, I turned 39 last Tuesday, but I remember quite clearly the trouble I caused (and got away with) back in the day.
This year for my birthday, Jack gave me two gifts. One being the stack of coupons (how great is that!?), the other being a healthy dose of humility.