It happened to me again the other day. Although I can admit that I’m
getting better and better in control, I’m still not perfect and I’m still not as
good as I should be, and that’s why there are a few slip-ups. I solemnly
promise improvement. It happened again. I stood in the kitchen and cooked. This
is extremely convenient to do in this room. For once my son stood next to me
and we talked. And then it happened. I know, I should not. I did it anyway, I
was having fun. Immediately I froze. Once again, I had betrayed my noble
education, abused, not to say embezzled. As always in this situation, I
remembered my legendary slip-up, which was probably years ago.
At that time the children were still quite
small and I worked half-days. One day I could not avoid having appointments in
the afternoon, so I did not get home until four. And because we were used to
it, we went to play. At eight o’clock my husband came home. He still found us
playing. Completely horrified – and rightly so – he asked me if I did not know
what time it was. To my shame I must confess, I did not know it. When he
pointed that out to me, I completely collapsed. It was already so late and we
just played like there was no tomorrow. What kind of role model was I? What
mother? Eight o’clock, and the children had not eaten yet, neither washed nor
combed, nor in bed. Total chaos. Total neglect. Immediately I would have to
return my degree as a mother. Just in time I remembered, I had none.
The incident burned, and reminded me now every time, education must not mean fun, certainly not joie de vivre. Because I have the damn duty to prepare my children for life, and that’s no honey licking. It must be serious, disciplined and moralized. I had forgotten all that again, so I let myself be carried away to this fun. And my son, he responded immediately, acknowledging my joke with an expression that he had understood by saying „Lol“. I looked at him suspiciously. In fact, he said, „Laughing out loud,“ but he made no move. At that moment, I knew I had done everything right, for he had accepted my joke in almost Victorian equanimity. At that moment, every Englishwoman of that epoch would symbolically have brought her handkerchief to her eye to indicate that she would have to wipe away a small tear, a tear of emotion over so much composure and self-restraint. We are even ahead of them.
While in Victorian England a smile still had to be hinted at, so that the serenity was understood, we only have to mumble three letters, and everything is clear. I was touched, even without a handkerchief. Children are really much more robust than we often trust them to be. Even those shameful things about my faulty upbringing could not hurt them. Desperately, I searched for the appropriate Abbreviation, but quickly found only „OMG“, which is not quite as easy as „Lol“, due to the two voices in a row, but despite bumpiness, my son nodded slowly, as a sign that he had understood me well and granted me to be so well versed in youth idiom. Total harmony prevailed, and in time at two o’clock the food was on the table. And that’s what it’s all about.