This post is not about a spaghetti recipe. Magic Spaghetti involves a recipe for problem solving. The key ingredients are:
- Creativity (think outside the box)
Let me tell you what happened. On Sunday I experienced one of those “worst mom of the world” moments. Truth is I didn’t abandon, abuse or neglect my child. So to say I was the worst mom in the world at that moment was a complete over-dramatization on my part…but a legitimate feeling that we moms feel when we make a mistake that we feel really hurt our kid’s feelings. Sunday was the night before my eldest son started first grade. During the school orientation the week before, we parents received a little note that said “first graders don’t open until the night before first grade.” I thought I had packed it in the folder with all the other papers I was given but on Sunday evening right before Orly was about to tuck in, I opened the folder to grab the note and realized it was not in there. I checked the folder again to make sure. Nothing. I checked my purse. Nothing. I ransacked my car. Nothing. My heartbeat was racing and guilt was starting to set in, but I was trying to stay positive. “No big deal” I thought…”I’ll just text one of my school mommy friends to text me a picture of the note, read it to Orly and I’ve redeemed myself!” So I texted three separate moms and a few minutes later I received the picture of the note. The clock was ticking and my son had to get to sleep so I didn’t even bother reading the note before I ran happily into orlys room, climbed up his bunk bed and said “Orly, don’t forget to read your teacher’s note before you fall asleep!” I handed the phone to Orly, snuggled up beside him and he began to read the note aloud. As my eyes skimmed the note faster than Orly can read, I realized the note was about the night before school jitters and this “magic confetti” that the teacher had sent home to help the child sleep through the night without jitters. The confetti was attached to the original note and the note instructed the parent and child to sprinkle it under the child’s pillow. OMG!!!!!!!!! Secretly I began praying Orly had poor reading comprehension skills and would not notice he is missing the confetti. But no such luck. Orly looked at me with his big blue eyes and asked “mommy, where is my confetti?” Dagger to a mother’s heart. I then had to explain to my 6 year old that I did not have the confetti, because I must have left it at the school accidentally.
My six year old shoved his head into his pillow and started crying. “Orly I’m so sorry,” I said. Without raising his head, in a muffled little voice Orly responded “mom I know you didn’t do it on purpose.” My very logical next thoughts were “I’m the worst mother in the world;” “this will inevitably cause long lasting trauma;” “he’ll be in therapy for sure.” I gave him a big kiss, apologized a few more hundred times and climbed off the bunk bed to go cry to my husband. As I confessed to Orlando every last detail, he quickly jumped up from the couch and said “I have an idea”. Trailing behind him like a lost puppy, we ended up in front of my kitchen pantry. Orlando opened the pantry cabinets, rolled out the pantry drawer, and stared at the array of items. Then he spotted a container of the noodles we put in our chicken soups and said “ah-hah!” Still confused, I followed my crazy scientist-like husband straight to my sons’ room and watched him create his own magic. Orly propped up his head over the bunk bed rail and his father proclaimed “who needs magic confetti when you have magic spaghetti!!!” throwing noodles up over orly’s head like… well, like confetti.
Orly burst into laughter. Just like that the tears were gone. Orlando told him the magic spaghetti worked just like magic confetti only it was better because it was edible!!! My little boy whispered in a sweet voice “thank you daddy”. Then my husband said to him “you’re not really crying over the confetti are you buddy? You’re just a little nervous because tomorrow is your first day back to school” he nodded and his dad reassured him he was going to have a great day with his new teacher and friends. Now despite the fact that “I” really didn’t redeem myself from my failing mother syndrome, I did learn something. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. However, all I was doing was focusing on the mistake. My husband focused on the solution. Sometimes I am the one finding the solution when my husband’s head is too crowded with the problem…but that is the key to the first ingredient in this recipe…teamwork. Pulling together and allowing the person who has clear vision to guide the way when you’re blind…and then vice versa. Then he deployed the most important ingredient in my recipe, his magic bullet.. Creativity. He used creativity and humor to make light of a situation that for a six year old (and his vulnerable mom) was a big deal. By thinking outside the box, he made the night before first grade even more magical. And finally, my husband mixed in some perspective (and gave me some which I was missing at that moment)! My son’s crying wasn’t only about the confetti…and the confetti wasn’t the end all be all of making his night special. It wasn’t about the confetti at all. At that moment, as Orly saw his parents standing next to his bunk bed throwing spaghetti noodles in the air like lunatics, he knew he was deeply loved and his feelings mattered. We as parents have a lot of pressure on us to be perfect. Our generation is known for over-parenting or helicopter parenting. But despite our attempts to make our kids worlds’ perfect, that is not reality. Life is not perfect. It’s probably a good thing our kids learn to deal with disappointment from a young age and that we’re going to mess up from time to time!!! We don’t have to be perfect or create the perfect world for our kids. What really matters is letting them know that regardless of the circumstances, we love them. The rest is just details. We may lose our magic confetti from time to time…but there’s no reason we can’t invent magic spaghetti.