Periodically, a mother's words can come back in the funniest ways. One evening over dinner, my son piped up with a complaint about how I had used one of his paper airplanes to write a note. In desperation that morning, I had unfolded his hand-crafted jet, smoothed out the creases, and wrote a note of permission for my daughter to give her teacher. He had objected to my doing this at the time, and hours later, still was a little peeved.
"I'm sorry," I said. "Next time, I will go into my office for paper and use that instead."
"It's okay, Mommy. I still love you," he answered.
I'm glad he does. I am also glad that of all the things I tell my children, this was the one thing I clearly heard reflected before my children left for holidays with their father. And they will come back saying or doing all manner of things they have learned from time with their other family. Of course not everything they learn is so charming.
A few weeks ago, my son came home with a note from school. "Had a good morning," it began, "but kicked, hit, punched, and gave Ryan a wedgie at snack time." My ex-husband was appalled and sent a text asking me who Tiny had learned the wedgie from. I texted back an answer, "You."