I have always been what I like to call an “independent” person. What my parents would call it was “stubborn.” While I was growing up, my parents would tell me stories of my stubbornness.
There was this one time, at band camp – uh no, wait – when we were at Disney World. Our family had stayed at the Polynesian themed resort. My mom was trying to take a picture of my sister and I together. I must have been about five years old, so that would have made my sister about two. Instead of getting a shot of her two little daughters standing together smiling in their bathing suits, she got a photo of my sister smiling next to a Tiki totem pole, with me hiding behind it. The best part of the picture was that I wasn’t even doing a great job of hiding. My arms and legs were still visible behind the pole. But you couldn’t see my face. I was being stubborn. Actually, I’d like to think I was simply exercising my independence. It’s the Eye of the Tiger. One of many steps in molding into the person I am today.
There is another childhood memory that my mom has recorded on an old cassette tape. The scene was my mother and I talking on Christmas day after having opened all the presents. One of the presents was a toy tape recorder. (Odd, I know. We were recording a discussion about a recorder. Hey, what can I say, it was the 1970s and that must have been high tech.) Anyhow, the present I received was not working properly and my mom suggested we return it for a working one. A transcript of the conversation went something like this:
Mom: “Honey, that toy doesn’t work right.”
Me: “Yes, it does.”
Mom: “No it doesn’t. We’re taking it back.”
Me: “No we aren’t. It works.”
Mom: “Dear, we are returning it.”
Me: “Dear, no we aren’t.”
I was probably three years old on that tape and already a condescending know-it-all.
Those two episodes were pretty much a blueprint for the next 18 years of my life. It’s still hard to admit when I am wrong. I got it from my dad.
My Biz e-Babies are chips off the old block. My husband is the easy going one. Someone in the house has to be.
At the tender age of one and a half, my son already relishes in disobeying me just to see my reaction. In fact, the more I discourage him from doing something, the more he gets a charge out of it. The other day, I happened to catch the little bugger out of the corner of my eye as he was crawling up the side arm of the couch, hoisting his legs over, and free falling onto the cushions. I disapprovingly said his name in a low tone with two distinct syllables, like “JOHN-NYYYYY”. I added the stank eye for effect. In return, I got a high-pitched gleeful and defiant squeal. Then he scurried up and over the couch again, flopping on the cushions before I make my way over to him. What a little sh*t! (I thought.) I then stopped what I was doing in the kitchen and stormed over to the couch. That time, I removed him physically from the couch and planted him in a spot on the floor. Looking him in the eye I said, “Don’t jump. Danger.” To which he looked at me with a mocking grin and repeated, “dane-duh.” He even went so far as to vigorously and exaggeratingly shake his head back and forth so hard he got dizzy and lost balance.
I walked away. He repeated.
Recently, my daughter and were having our photo taken outside with the fall leaves. It was a chilly but beautiful sunny day filled with orange and red leaves on the ground. It made for a picture-perfect backdrop of mother and daughter frolicking in nature together. Or, shall I say, it WOULD have made…
My daughter isn’t one for scripted B.S. and decided that not only was she going to revolt against the staged picture taking, but wouldn’t be caught dead smiling at the camera. See for yourself. My personal favorite is the one with a giant leaf covering her face. My kid’s got moxy.
And, so there you have it. I am finally getting back all that I have dished out. I have met my match (es). Both my children have the fire and will of their mama. I have to say, in some way I respect it. And, I realize when they are teenagers I will detest it. But, I figure it’s all a part of growing up—myself included.
The battle of the wills may be a tough fight, but I wrote the play book on this one. Sooner or later my beloved angels will find that in the end, Biz e-Mom will prevail. It’s the Eye of the Tiger.
rising up to the challenge of our rival
and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
and he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger.