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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guess What?

I don't know when it began or why I started saying it. I know I never planned on using it as a code. Sometimes things just happen and I'm glad it did. It is such a simple phrase, one that people use all the time. But over time two simple words have grown to become so much more. "Guess what?"

Those words are what I say to my children almost every day. They know the answer as soon as the words leave my mouth. When I say "Guess what?" I want them to know that I love them. It has become a playful game we play. I will ask the question and they act like they know the answer and that they don't want to hear it. But they smile and giggle. They sometimes say "I know, you love me." with a giggle. Sometimes they hug and kiss me. Then sometimes they get tickled.

It is the tickling that becomes the game. They giggle and laugh and pretend to get away. Then if I stop they beg me to tickle them more. Sometimes they will look at me with a glint in their eye and say "Guess what?" That is my favorite, that is when those words become so much more. They become ours in a world filled with chaos. For just that moment all that matters is our bond and the fun that we are having.

Now my children are getting older. I know it isn't like they are ready to move out quite yet but those days do draw closer. Already my son has asked me to not refer to myself as Mommy when he is around his friends. I have been Mommy for so long it is hard to become Mom. I know it is just a word, but it just isn't the same as Mommy. Do I dare say "I love you" when he is around his friends?

This year at his open house we as parents were invited to write a message of encouragement to our children on a leaf. My first impulse was to write "I love you" but I paused and thought better of it. Maybe it would be okay, they still are young. But then again they are growing up 9 and 10 year olds can think love is icky. Heck some grownups still do.

Then I thought of those two magic words, guess what. If I wrote them down he would know what I was saying and no one else would. It turns those words from a game to a code. I wrote them on the stem of the leaf along with a message reminding him that he was awesome. I went home that night knowing that he would know what I meant and it would make him happy.

He came home from school the next day and I asked him if he saw his leaf. He said that his teacher read all the leaves out loud to the class. As soon as I heard that I knew I made the right choice. Imagine if his teacher read "I love you" out loud to the whole class. Instead he heard "Guess what?" and knew right away that I was saying "I love you". He told me that it made him smile. That made me smile.

That leaf still hangs on the wall in the hallway at his school and I sometimes ask if he still remembers what I wrote. Let's face it he is in fourth grade and when they are in the hallways he isn't reading the walls. He still remember's even if he doesn't always read his leaf as he walks by it. It has become our code word so I can always tell him I that I love him without him getting embarrassed. So if you hear me say "Guess What?" to my children you know exactly what I mean.

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