There are few things that give me the “oogies” more than cutting cardboard. And by “oogies,” I mean that nails-on-chalkboard shiver that shoots up your spine and causes your head and shoulders to shudder with disgust. (The sound of someone hocking a loogie and/or vomiting are equally offensive to me. In fact, I nearly couldn’t type that without becoming ill. Excuse me…I’ll be right back.)
When my daughter approached me with an empty oversized cereal box the other day, and asked me to “cut a hole in it so she could pretend she was on television,” I immediately grabbed a knife and started hacking away. After all, it was an awesome idea, and the fact that she said “television” instead of “TV” melted my heart a little. I pierced the thin chipboard with the tip of the knife….and the sensation hit me. Oogies!!! My body shook, I made a gagging sound, and my sweet daughter asked, “What’s wrong mommy?” I looked down at her expectant face, knowing that there was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I was going to let my cardboard-cutting phobia stand in the way of her cereal box television dreams.
“Suck it up!,” I told myself. I quickly made the first cut, and rounded the corner to make the second. “Nothing honey,” I assured her, as I completed the square. There. I’d done it. I’d cut a gosh-darn (insert stronger word) hole in cardboard! I glanced around the kitchen, searching for someone to share my accomplishment with. Nobody. (If there had been someone there, I’d have been really freaked out.)
“Here you go honey.” I handed her the box, and she shimmied it down onto her adorable head. “Look at me mommy! I’m on television!,” she squealed.
And isn’t that what parenting is all about? Sacrificing your own comfort and desires for a tiny, helpless creature who you’ll love and nurture into an awesome adult? I mean, who actually wants to forcefully squeeze a watermelon out of their nether-regions for fun? (That is my birth analogy, by the way.)
Someday, when she questions my love for her (which she will, as most children do), I’ll tell her:
– When you project vomited all over the truck (many, many times) at 2 a.m. driving through Waco, Texas, I still loved you.
– When you gave me (and the entire extended family) your super bug and I projectile vomited (many, many times), I still loved you.
– When you found that tiny piece of your bedroom wallpaper that was peeling, and continued ripping a giant swath off the wall, I still loved you.
– When you wanted to play “hair salon,” and accidentally ripped out a chunk of my follicles (ouch!), I still loved you.
– And when you asked me to do the one thing that I have an idiosyncratic aversion to, I still loved you.
There is nothing, NOTHING, that could make me stop loving you. Puke on me, destroy our home, and ask me to cut cardboard, and I’ll still love you.