Last week, Kip and I had to both fly out of town on business. This caused great anxiety for Jesse--not so much that we were boarding a plane together (after all--if a problem occurs mid flight, Superman will appear and rescue you as evidenced by the documentary SUPERMAN RETURNS)--but because it involved me making a statement involving our departure and return times, and Jesse has begun to suspect I am A BIG FAT LIAR.
I don't know when we started telling Jesse that we were going to "MEETINGS" when we would go out to socialize. In my usual lazy mom way, I must have had a EUREKA moment when I realized he did not cry, cling to my legs, or throw himself repetitively at the elevator doors as they were closing; if I simply told him that Mommy and Daddy had to go to work. And thus began the mythology of the nighttime meeting. If Mommy changes out of her black sweater and takes a shower, chances are, she is going to A MEETING. MEETINGS often occur on a weekend night. Mommy and Daddy are always in a great mood after a MEETING. One night Jesse turned to me and asked me why my breath always smelled so funny when I come home from my MEETINGS, but beyond that he rarely has complained--having made the association between WORK and HAVING MONEY TO BUY STUFF.
So for the most part, I am totally advocating this whole LIE TO YOUR CHILD thing. I'm thinking it might even be to my advantage when he grows up and talks about what an amazing work ethic his Mom had--if I can just remember to have a damn breath mint before I walk back in the door.
But back to our legitimate trip last week.
JESSE: I don't want you to go on this trip! ( Read this aloud with a realllllllly whiny voice)
ME: Oh honey, you know Mom and Dad will be back right at bedtime.
JESSE: But you LIE Mom--you LIE all the time.
ME: (lying) I DO NOT LIE. What do you mean?
JESSE: You always SAY you will be back at bedtime, but you never are. The movie is always over and I always have to watch tv and wait for you on the couch. You are ALWAYS late. You never come home when you say you are going to come home (read this and dissolve into dramatic tears.)
ME: (said with six years of accumulated guilt about working and occasionally going out for a glass of wine with friends) I am SO SORRY Honey! I will try to be on time.
(Go back and forth about ten more minutes with more tears and begging)
ME: Honey-I promise, this will ALL BE WORTH IT. Mommy and Daddy really have to work hard so that we can have all the things that make our life so great: so we can spend more time together and go do stuff together, and stuff like that. But I promise I will not be late. (Blappitty Blah Blah--eventually get out the door in time to make the flight.)
And of course, as luck would have it-our return flight is delayed an hour and a half--which meant that every reassurance I gave about what time we would be home was meaningless. Of course we would not be home in time for bedtime, and of course Jesse would still be up waiting for us....
Which he was. And like a 16 year old caught sneaking back into the house after curfew, I apologized for being late. Surprisingly, he was nonplused. And I soon discovered why.
"It's okay that you are late" he said, "I know what you were working for. We're getting a FARMHOUSE."