Yesterday, I dug out a paper from the bottom of my son’s backpack. A big paper. A pretty paper. One decorated with snowflakes and stickers. One intricately made and labored over for hours. The kind you see hanging in elementary school hallways during major holidays—this one obviously from Christmastime. I’ve seen lots of this type, as I and other parents often stop to read them as we stroll aimlessly down the corridor waiting for the bell to ring. These are the kinds of papers that make parents feel like their children are accomplishing wonderful things at school. Which makes the time apart well worth it.

But I never saw this one when it was hanging in the hallway. I have a feeling lots of other people did, though, and just aren’t saying anything.

To me.

Because toward the end of my child’s poetic awesomeness that surely was deserving of a Pulitzer, or at the very least, a mention on the front page our local newspaper, I came across this line:

“I love my Mom (aww!!) and she has to take special pills and my family coughs a lot—”




Like…Zyrtec? Like…Amoxicillian? Like…Midol? Like…?

And I continued on in this pattern for the next half-hour, wracking my brain and trying to come up with anything hard-core that I might’ve taken in the past EVER, and came up with nothing worse than the occasional Tylenol PM. Which I’m not proud of. But, you know, lack of sleep happens sometimes and I don’t like wine at all and it’s really the only thing I ever take and sometimes it’s just necessary to get a good night’s sleep and…

Special Pills? Really??

And now I’m sure the whole school thinks I’m a drug addict. Or psycho. Or moody. Which I will occasionally claim. But whatever.

But I AM NOT standing on a street corner with a wad of twenties waiting for my pusher to swing by or doctor-hopping to see just how many special pills I can add to my stash. I AM NOT.

But my kid clearly thinks otherwise. Or just didn’t see the implications of his words.

I’m going for the latter. So next time I arrive at school, I plan to walk in with my head held high.

With a bag over my face.

Anyway, if this was the first time something like this had happened to me, I just might want to kill myself. But sadly, it’s sorta common in my little world.

Like the time several years ago when my older daughter said this to MY younger sister: “How come you don’t let your kids watch SpongeBob? ‘Cause my mom thinks it’s really weird. Especially because you let them watch Lord of the Rings and SpongeBob isn’t nearly as bad as that and my mom thinks the whole thing is just dumb.”

It was super-fun explaining that one.

Or the time my same daughter said in the middle of the grocery store: “Mommy, don’t spank me again! I didn’t do anything to deserve a spanking!” I was standing ten feet away grabbing some green beans. Minding my own business. Probably I was even humming a little. But at that point it was so tempting to walk away and pretend that the loudly yelling child grinning at me from her seat in the shopping cart didn’t belong to me. Except I didn’t feel like going to jail. Unless I could hang out in solitary confinement for a couple of days. Give me a stack of books and a pillow, and I would’ve taken that sweet deal in a heartbeat.

But thankfully, this horrifying mother/child phenomenon doesn’t only happen to me.

Like the time my three-year-old (at the time) niece was riding through the mall in her stroller and a lady with super-short hair leaned toward her to say hello. “Well, aren’t you just the sweetest thing?” the lady said. To which my precious niece responded, “Get away from me, you MAN!” Pretty sure that lady wanted to slap her. Or at least slap my older sister for raising such an impolite child. If that poor woman only knew the Millsap (maiden name) girl success rate.

Then there’s the time a dear friend of mine took her son to the doctor for an eye-twitching problem that just wouldn’t go away. And when the doctor asked her little boy, “What do your parents say you should do when your eye starts doing this?” he said, “Oh, sometimes they just hit me.” And my friend—who is NOT a child abuser—just sat there mortified and blabbering something about never hitting anything and loving the color pink and being kind to puppies and “here wanna see my PETA card?”

Kids. Where is the built-in filter they were supposed to come with? Because mine all got lost somewhere in the transition from hospital to home, and I haven’t found any replacements since.

But special pills….

Seriously, what’s next? I shudder to even consider the possibilities, because I know they’re coming. Because it happens often.

But I do know one thing. Next time, I’ll probably have to pour myself a special drink to get over it.


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