I have a pretty good idea what a Real Mom Does. She hides things – like scissors, post-its, and chocolate so they are out of harms way, and Real Moms cannot remember where they’ve hid them, and just when they think they’ve lost their minds, the missing items miraculously show up in the hands of their children, and wrappers are found behind the sofa. And Real Moms get their teeth cleaned at the Dentist, with one on her lap, one playing in the “spitter” and the other two fighting over the toys in the “treasure chest.”But here’s one, and I have a picture (I’m cheating a little, because I was behind the camera.) Real Moms spend the night at the ZOO. Now, that’s one heck of a field trip. Real Moms feel guilty because they are so busy nursing and caring for the little ones, and never get the chance to go to school functions and field trips with their older ones. So, when the once in a lifetime (actually 3 more times coming) chance comes to go on a field trip when Daddy’s home (because he will be SLEEPING!) Real Moms jump at the chance and say YES — I’ll go!! Where do I sign?
Even though the temperature is 28 degrees F, and she must answer questions at 10:30 at night about adaptation and habitat. (After her brain is melted by this time of day from answering Real Mom questions all day long, like “Why is red red?”) Even when she must sit in a closed classroom at 11 p.m. and watch armadillos and snakes and lizards and hawks parade past her.
And she stays, after she watches the guide put the snake into a cooler, and watches this guide immediately jump on the lid to sit on it while this guide locks the cooler, and explains, “we have to keep a weight on the cooler because the snake has figured out a way to get out.” And Real Moms stay even after they learn that this snake, in its cooler, will be sharing the building with us tonight.
And Real Moms sleep in this room, full of 10-year-old boys, some Dads, and more 10-year-old girls, and less Moms, on an air mattress. She suddenly realizes, she is not who she thought she was after all; she is really, the Princess from the Princess and the Pea. And the room is hot, the room is full of snoring Dads that are not “Daddy’s snores”, and lying there awake because every time she opens her eyes, she sees some pair of eyes on her from afar.
And Real Moms stay, and believe it was one of the greatest nights of their life. Because, you see the 10-year-old, who is busy hanging out with his peers, trying to be cool the whole night, catches her Mom’s eye every once in awhile, to make sure she’s watching him, and she is, and she knows it means the world to him that she’s here with him. Now, that’s a Real Mom.