Finn loves himself some Daddy. They hang out together and watch sports together and wear matching jerseys and generally behave in a manner that leaves me with the uncomfortable sensation that I gave birth to my husband’s best friend.
It’s been this way for years, but enough is enough. The day before Valentine’s, Finn ran into my arms at pickup, waving a doily heart. “I made a valentine, Mama!” We ran to the car and I eagerly spread it out on my steering wheel to read it. Finn’s learning how to write phonetically, but I was up to the challenge.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Daddy I love you I hope you have a good Valentine’s Finn.” Daddy? What was this sappy drivel? I flipped it over to see if I’d missed the part addressed to me. Nothing. My c-section scar started to itch, like it does whenever I experience a difficult parenting moment.
I peered at Finn through the rearview mirror. He beamed up at me. Where’s Mommy’s valentine, my eyes must have said, accusingly. His smile faltered, and he looked away.
That’s right. Look away, little man. I felt a blackened charcoal briquet in my stomach, slowly burning through the lining. Jealousy. I was jealous of Tom! How beneath me. That settled it. This daddy business had gone on long enough. It was time to remind Finn how awesome his mother could be.
I had the perfect opportunity, because we were leaving for a three day ski trip with my friends Whitney and Pete. Tom was slammed at work and was staying behind with Tate, so Finn would have no option but to pay attention to me, for three whole days. I would be his sun, his moon, his stars.
I started the weekend with a bang by buying him Sierra Mist at dinner on the way down to Bend. Finn loves Sierra Mist. It is scary the things Finn will do for a can of Sierra Mist. He once ate a saucer of green beans for Sierra Mist. But this time, he didn’t have to earn his soda. I sat across from him at the diner in Madras, and watched his eyes roll back into his head when he took his first sip. That’s right Finn, I felt like saying. Mommy is the architect of your happiness.
At Whitney and Pete’s, there was more spoiling. I didn’t press him to eat veggies at dinner. He got to watch Spy Kids and play Nerf guns with his friend Travis. “Are you having fun, Finn?,” I asked. “So much fun, Mommy,” he said. I gave myself a silent high five.
But at some point, I stopped trying to buy him, and just observed him. This creature, this precious thing, with his big feet and his crooked glasses. On our way up to the mountain, I watched him in my rearview mirror as he talked to Travis. When Trav pointed to a picture of the Mona Lisa in his book, Finn’s eyes got big and he motioned to me. “Mommy, turn down the music.” He turned to his friend and took a serious tone. “Travis. Do you know what’s weird about the Mona Lisa?” Travis shook his head. Finn: “She has NO EYEBROWS.” Travis looked suitably impressed.
I skied behind Finn on the slopes, and tried not to let my terror overpower his delight as he zoomed down the runs. At night, I held him close and felt his breath on my face, and tried not to think that in a year, he wouldn’t want to sleep in the same bed with me, or let me hold him tight.
So, the weekend. I don’t think I reminded him of anything he doesn’t already know. But our trip together reminded me how awesome my son is, even if he does love me second best.