It all started in church about 17 years ago.
My 5-year old daughter Kimmy tugged on my sleeve and asked, “Is there a Santa Claus?” I leaned down and whispered, “We’ll talk about it later.” She insisted, “Mom, tell me! Is there a Santa Claus or not?!” I didn't know how to answer. I was in church. You’re not supposed to lie in church. The minute I said ‘No’, I knew I’d made a mistake.
When we got in the car she said, “I suppose you’re going to tell me that there’s no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, either.” Technically, I wasn’t in church anymore so I told her that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were both, in fact, very real. “And I was just kidding about Santa. Wasn’t that funny?!!”
But even at 5 years of age Kimmy saw through me. She squinted her eyes at me and said, “Thanks a lot, Mom.”
I felt terrible and I made up my mind to do a better job of lying to my kids. Kids grow up fast enough. There’s no reason to rush things!
That, of course, came back to bite me.
First there was the tony nail thing. I thought it was so cute that Kimmy called toe nails ‘tony nails’ that I never corrected her. (And in my defense, she never asked me in church.) When she was about 10 years old she told me she had gotten into a fight with her best friend. “Brittany told me that my tony nails are called toe nails, not tony nails. Can you believe that? I told her she was a liar. She’s stupid, isn’t she?”
Let’s just say Kimmy was not happy with me when she found that Brittany was right. Again I heard, “Thanks a lot, Mom.”
Then there was the whole “punctuation” thing. I decided that I’d wait as long as I could to tell Kimmy about periods.
I dreaded that conversation. I mean, how do you tell your daughter that in a couple years she would spend one week a month bleeding? (Oh, and by the way, for the first day or so you will probably have cramps. Did I mention PMS… and bloating? But don’t worry, this will only last for 40 years or so.)
I planned it out perfectly. My husband dropped Kimmy off at my office one day and we went to lunch together. I tried. Oh how I tried. But I could not find a way to drop the p-bomb. Every time I tried to bring it up I chickened out. I felt like a complete failure when at the end of lunch I had not even broached the subject.
But God was looking out for me. We went to the ladies’ room after lunch and while Kimmy was washing her hands she glanced at the tampon machine and said, “I don’t get it, Mom. Why would anyone pay 25 cents for a napkin when paper towels are free?”
Talk about a segue!
“Now that you mention it, there’s a very good reason for doing that! Let me explain.”
And I did. Kimmy’s response? “That’s nasty.”
And she was quick to add, “Thanks a lot, Mom.”