For the next two plus weeks, I'm gonna say, "Yes." I'm gonna say "yes" to television and endlessly repeated dinner choices and treats and computer time. I'm saying, "Yes." I'm not going to fuss over vegetables or too much time in front of a screen or short and clean fingernails or having to repeat, "Put your shoes on" over and over (OK, that one may be hard). I'm saying, "Yes."
For in these next two weeks or so, if I say "yes," my sons will not suddenly become overindulged, impolite, nonreading, slug-like, or violent creatures. The truth of the matter is that for all the times I complained about my parents being "the strictest parents ever" (and they were honestly the strictest parents I've personally known), in the end, I, too, have become a strict mom. I say "No" often and most of the time, I am right to say "no." And my boys, for the most part, know limits and use polite words and treat others kindly. And all of this matters.
However, while their dad is away on his African adventures, I'm saying, "Yes." I've decided that I am sticking closely to the set bedtime, for their sakes and mine, but other than that, all the other stuff can slide. I will keep them safe and I will keep them fed and I will keep them from pummeling one another, but they will eat hotdogs for dinner more than once a week, and they'll likely hang in front of the t.v. for too many hours, and they'll jump on the couch, and they'll create spectacular messes, and we'll go out frequently for chocolate ice cream.
And you know what? It will all be OK. And we'll enjoy our time together while we miss P. And I'll say,"Yes," and they'll smile and laugh and delight in all these "Yeses."
Just remind me of this tomorrow....