- The Big Grin. Your kid has just made you laugh from pure joy at something they did/said/expressed creatively. You just shared a moment. He/she is so awesome! A chip off the ol’ block!
- The Sitcom Blank Stare. Your sweet child has been talking for 10 minutes and just asked you for your opinion. You know that the subject was very important to him/her, but you zoned out anyway, thinking about the laundry/dinner/tires for the car. In a vain attempt to prevent emotional injury to your baby, you put on…
- The Thinker. You stare at the ceiling for a moment and purse your lips as if weighing the options. Then you give him/her a knowing look, as if this is a “teachable” moment, and say, “What do you think you should do?” If your sweet one takes the bait and talks long enough for you to catch up with the topic, you win!
If your sweet one nails you with a withering glare, saying “You weren’t listening at all, were you, mom?” You lose. And – it’s possible that you and I are the same person.
- The Bittersweet Face. Tears often flow gently over this face, followed by heavy sighs. It happens when you realize that your kiddos are growing up and will leave home eventually. You work hard to make that possible, but also wish it would never happen.
- The Sad Sorry frown. You realize that you have said or done something wrong and hurt your kiddo’s feelings. You knew better, and you’re really sorry, but the damage is done. All you can do is try harder next time.
- The Oh, Dear! Face. Your child with a physical disability was just invited to a church youth group pool party. Your child cannot swim without an adult. You realize that participation means that you have to wear a swimsuit while you attempt to socialize with fifteen strange teenagers while also stumbling around an inaccessible private residence and pretending this is all normal and fun. Which leads you to your…
- ‘Let Me Check My Calendar’ Look. You ask for the party date again, and then feign remembering a Very Important Event that is occurring at that same time which will prevent you attending the church youth group pool party. You feel bad on many levels. But you have to draw the line somewhere. As you walk away you wish the world, and the people in it, were easily accessible to your sweet one – literally and figuratively.
- The Contented Smile. The soft look you get when you remember that marching to a different drummer is way more fun than following someone else’s beat. Inclusion is a mixed blessing; it’s nice to be invited but sometimes more work than you’d bargained for.
Just like parenthood.