This Mother's Prayer for Her Son
I just finished reading Tina Fey’s first book, Bossypants. It is a smart, insightful and of course wickedly funny read that chronicles her rise from awkward child to kick-ass media darling. In it she explores everything from sexism in the workplace and Hollywood beauty ideals to marriage and motherhood, all with her signature witty intelligence.
Among all the hilarity is a chapter called A Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter, a Fey-style appeal to God that riffs on the sentimental hopes we all have for our children. The short chapter is packed full of tasty little morsels of wisdom, including;
"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.”
"When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half. And stick with Beer. “
And my personal favorite;
“And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.”
While it doesn’t come within spitting distance to Ms. Fey’s pearls of wisdom, I came up with my own list of things I hope for my son, JP. Please indulge me for a minute while I offer this:
This Mother’s Prayer for Her Son
Watch over my son JP and continue to bless him with health, happiness and bladder control. I have been mercifully spared the burden of late-night sheet changing and I’d like it to stay that way.
Subsequently, Lord, let him never ask for a plaything that either poops, pees, sheds, needs walking, runs on a wheel, sings in a cage, sits on a stick or swims in a tank or bowl. Not even a small bowl.
May he always enjoy the fundamental Freedoms that you bestowed upon us, o Lord: Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Lice.
Lord, please grant him the ability to fall asleep by himself, for it has been five years of rocking, swinging, singing, laying with and reading him into Dreamland. My back hurts.
Lord, give my child a taste for a fruit and a vegetable so his brain will continue to develop, his muscles will form to their potential and his eyesight will not deteriorate further. Notice I used the singular. One of each would be fine. And they can be fried.
Lord, may you bless my child with agility so he can successfully navigate a world that measures a boy’s worthiness by the number of goals scored, baskets made and whatever it is that a lacrosse ball does. And if he never masters these sports, Lord, may he be comforted with a full scholarship to MIT.
Lord, may he never be bullied, subjected to the merciless cruelty of another child’s criticism of his thick glasses, “awesome” Ninja moves or his tendency to reverse letters. For I will kicketh that child’s ass.
And finally, Lord, give me the wisdom, strength and foresight to raise my sweet and empathetic little boy to be a well-adjusted, compassionate and autonomous man so that the current-day little girl who will eventually become his wife, will not have to sweep his dirty socks from under their bed nor wipe his urine off their bathroom floor.
Ellen Askin Bailey is the mother of a 5-year old boy and is keenly aware that her future daughter-in-law and her entire family will judge her. She is a contributor to mamasagainstdrama.com.