Keep Smiling with Rosie Preston: The perfect mom does not exist

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By Rosie Preston

Many mothers, including myself, thought we could be the best moms of any we had ever known.  It did not take me long to make mistakes, however. The first was when I did not check count my children’s teeth. I thought women who did this were, let’s say, weird? I did add up the kids’ toes and fingers, if that counts.

Several years later I took my daughter to the dentist, who informed me that she was missing two top teeth. He said when she was around 12 years old that an orthodontist could move all her top teeth to the front to correct it. I was amazed and embarrassed. We had this procedure done when she was old enough, and since then she’s had nice teeth and a nice smile!

My children are now grown but I had an incident with my son Joseph ‘s teeth. I had taken his daughter to the dentist, and she didn’t have any cavities. Joseph, who is 43, gave me the biggest surprise ever – he told me that he didn’t have ANY cavities!

I nearly fainted! How could I not have known that? I look back on all those times when I would tell my children from a very young age, “Let me check your teeth.” I then would go upstairs and downstairs and sideways, and then the front of Joseph’s mouth. I had no idea it had helped so much! And most of the time we all brush our teeth twice! So, if you want to save your children’s teeth, check them and make time a couple of times a week to brush them twice!

There was a time when Joseph was around two years old and was riding one of those little plastic cars outside, and the phone rang. I ran to answer it but was watching him as I stood at the door. The next thing I knew, he was pedaling down the driveway as fast as he could, right into the street. I could not sleep for nights! I’m thankful to this day that a car was not coming.

I once made my daughter a special dress for a church choir. The pattern had 27 pieces and, oh my, it was quite elegant! The dress was a beautiful purple. The night my daughter came in to try it on (the night before the choir performance) she started crying and was upset because the dress was supposed to be another color. To this day, I can’t remember if she went to the event (By the way, the events I’m writing about are not in order, because I’m remembering them as I write).

When my daughter was two years old, we went to the Scottsboro City Pool nearly every day. We did not have air conditioning in our house except in our bedroom windows. It was over 100 degrees outside. My daughter always wore a little yellow swim vest that zipped up the front. It was so cute, and I could keep up with her. Well, I thought I could as I watched her run to the deepest end of the pool and jump in. Eight months pregnant with Joseph, I ran as fast as I could and arrived as soon as she came up. She wore the suit for protection but had not yet learned that she could hold her head above water!

When Joseph was around 10 years old, he begged me to let him ride his bicycle with some friends. Reluctantly, I gave my permission. When I went to his friend’s house to pick him up, the friend’s mother sat me down and told me Joseph was fine but that his bike was totaled, as he had ridden out in front of a car. The man who hit Joseph was so upset. He said he had seen the children and had immediately hit his brakes when Joseph came out in front of him. After that episode, it took Joseph a while to get back on a new bicycle. He did, eventually.

I remember a time I had to step in when one of my daughter’s friends had borrowed an outfit. No matter how many times the girl said she would bring it back to her, she did not return it. I realized it was not going to happen, so I went to the girl’s house and told her mother that I wanted my daughter’s outfit back. The mother was not aware of the situation but gladly returned the clothes. That was a lesson to my daughter –  do not loan your best clothes to a friend!

When Joseph was in gra-mmar school, he was riding home with one of my friends one day. She had told me she would not be able to pick him up on a certain day. Well, received a call from Joseph’s teacher, informing me that he had not been picked up. I was embarrassed and treated very badly by the teacher when I tried to explain what had happened. So much for fairness and understanding on that day, because the rest of the year I was treated with respect. I guess the teacher had found time to think about my apology.

A book could be written about all the flaws and mistakes I’ve made as a parent. But my children always knew they were loved, and I’ve never proclaimed that I was above approach as a parent or as a human being during my lifetime.

Keep smiling, Rosie

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