Between my mother, her friends, her church members, her place of business, two companies owned by friends, a social worker, walking down Franklin Street on a Friday night to cash in on hungry college kids, and many, many, MANY cookie booths in multiple locations, in the midst of January bundled, and bundled more with pocket warmer packets shoved in our mitts, my daughter obtained the highest cookie sales in her troop. I even had the DMV in on it. Over 600 boxes. And this came 4 months after gathering around a table on the first troop meeting night, mandatory for parents, and raising my hand to ask,”What if I don’t want to participate?” Parent perspective of me that night was probably irritation, but mine was fully aware of my competitive nature. I’d stop at nothing until she won. Although this was no competition. It was a troop.
By March, my cookie pimps had done their pushing and the tallies were in. The more boxes sold, the more prizes she won. A water bottle, a t-shirt, a porcupine shaped lip gloss. Some earrings, which about 500 boxes had to be sold to obtain. That’s $1500. There were no diamonds. And then this: tickets to a list of free places, which only I knew about. My chance for a reward after counting all those cookie boxes. The entire list was mine for the choosing. But I felt obligated. Obligated to choose something my daughter would like. Call it guilt. Call it motherhood. But whatever you call it, I knew what the choice would be once I saw it on the paper- a water park.
As much as she loves the water, I hate it. Being wet, sticky from sun screen, barefoot among 100’s of other barefoot people, communal pools, and my 11 year old bathing suit with its skirt stretched to my knees. But I thought about perspective. My daughter knew of nothing that made me uncomfortable about a water park. She wouldn’t remember my white, really white legs, prickly with spiked black hair, and my un-pedicured feet. She wouldn’t remember how much I’d sweat from standing in line and how my skin would feel like it was on fire. She wouldn’t remember my make-up washing off my face after the first slide we encountered and I smacked into the pool to inhale overly (thank goodness) chlorinated water. She wouldn’t know that I prayed for the scientific purposes of said chlorine to do its chlorine thing. What she’d know is how her and I anticipated the wild rides. She’d remember us racing each other to the end of a steep incline to be succumbed by refreshing 8ft of water. She’d think of how we shared a double inner tube and rode into the blackness of a barrel and screamed with nervousness. This would be her perspective. And for being #1, even though she did very little to achieve it, that’s what I picked cause that’s what she’d love.