Tonight our boys did not want to sleep. They had an excuse every other minute about why they were unable to get any rest. It was like they were two again, hopping out of bed just because they finally understood the old stall tactic. They needed water. They needed to be tucked in. They were missing their favorite stuffed animals. They’d forgotten to brush their teeth. They were wearing me out. Their final excuse for why they could not fall asleep was that they needed to check on their stuffed animals in Webkinz World. Seriously? I don’t think they have been on Webkinz World once in the past month, but suddenly it was situation critical. What if their animals needed them? Desperate to get them to sleep, I assured them I would check on their stuffed animals to make sure they weren’t lonely, starving, or sick.
So, that’s exactly what I found myself doing at 9:30, forty-five minutes after the boys had gotten into bed. I was in my office on my laptop offering a virtual plush koala named Casey some chocolate milk and tucking virtual Googles (a plush platypus) named Grandpa into its bed, which happens to be shaped like a pancake with bacon shaped pillows. Only my Baconator son, Luke, would purchase that bed for a pet. At one point, I was trying to improve the health and attitude of Luke’s cocker spaniel, Rover, by playing a spirited game of online Battleship against someone else’s virtual pet cow. As I was getting my ass kicked by an imaginary cow, it occurred to me that despite how hard I am on myself I really am a fairly good mom.
I mean, how many moms would sit and play online Battleship in Webkinz World just so their son could go to sleep knowing his virtual animals were loved? I’m no June Cleaver, but I’m not exactly Mommy Dearest either. I do my best. Sometimes it feels like my best isn’t nearly enough, but it is. At the end of the day, I know my boys feel loved, cared for, and safe. If it’s playing online Battleship in a virtual world filled with stuffed animals that proves to them that I love them, I can live with it. And, just wait until I tell Luke that Rover lost one game of Battleship but killed his opponent in the other 2 out of 3 matches. Okay. Okay. Playing online Battleship for my kids’ virtual animals is not exactly parental torture for me. I’m not about to let them know that, though. As far as they’re concerned, my time in Webkinz World is a personal sacrifice because parenting is a tough, selfless gig. I’m willing to take on the unpleasant assignments because that’s just the kind of mom I am. In fact, I’m going to finish writing now and go back and teach that stinky cow not to mess with Rover again because that’s how I roll.