I’ll be honest. I never gave much thought to my lap. Which is sad really, considering it is the most powerful part of my body.
Oh yes, that squishy fleshy chair I can make appear and disappear at will is literally the seat of my power. (Pun COMPLETELY intended).
I don’t mean this from a muscular standpoint. Or politically. Or even aesthetically. No. I mean from a supernatural perspective. The second I even attempt to sit and form this lap, it mystically summons, from far and wide, small children. Small, bony, wiggly children. With their weaponized elbows and butts and knees. Who then must sit on my lap immediately and are willing to fight each other to the death for the privilege. (A fight to the death that happens, you guessed it, right there on my lap).
It doesn’t matter what I’m doing while in possession of this lap. Eating? Clearly the appearance of my lap at the dining room table meant I wanted to eat this taco while maneuvering around a toddler’s head. Working on my laptop? Obviously by sitting I was inviting my kindergartener to hop on up and “help” by maniacally pushing buttons and erasing everything I’ve written. Disabling a bomb? Pffft. Whoever heard of someone doing that WITHOUT a pile of children on top of them?
Likewise, environmental factors matter little. A Fourth of July party in 101-degree temperatures with a humidity equivalent of one thousand swamps? Hey, Mom, seems like a perfect time to sit on you and sprawl out every inch of my 40-pound frame, unfolding like a sticky octopus.
There is one very important rule, however. Whatever you do while sitting on my lap, the one thing you absolutely MUST NOT DO is sit still. Because that would be ridiculous.
But it’s not just my lap. This is a latent superpower pretty much all moms discover they have, which is why you rarely see a mom sitting. We know that as soon as we do, our laps will be swarming with children. Most likely our own but it’s far from unusual to find someone else’s kid squatting there. Like a beacon, it calls to them.
Small child No. 1: “Do you feel that? A mom in the close vicinity is getting ready to sit and relax.”
Small child No. 2: “Oh no, that won’t do at all. We can’t allow her to enjoy herself. Let’s go!”
See, that’s the thing about laps. It’d be one thing if this was all based on love. If these children just wanted a good cuddle. Who doesn’t love a good cuddle? But that is not what the majority of lap sitting is. No. This is about ownership. Property rights. My kids sit on my lap to stake their claim. “This exhausted worn out husk that was formerly a person is my property!” their bony butt declares every time it plops down. And it’s always a plop. Never a gentle perch. Or even a moderate plonk. Although sometimes, when you least expect it, it’s a flying leap.
And once they’re on there, very little can pry them off. Property is, after all, nine-tenths of the law.
“GET OFF!” I’ll roar.
“Wiggle even harder!” they hear.
“I have to pee!” I’ll plead.
“Let’s move this party into the bathroom!” they assume.
“Can I just have five minutes to myself?” I’ll ask.
“Fine, fine, clearly what you need is for us to now migrate to your back and put you into a chokehold,” they reason.
Every once in awhile though, just when I’m reaching my threshold and wondering if woman can live by standing alone, these kids legitimately need a lap. A nightmare scared them. A friend hurt their feelings. A day at the beach exhausted them.
Or, the best reason: Their love suddenly grew too big for their little bodies to contain and they had to release it by getting as close to me as humanly possible.
Which is why we moms put up with all of it. Why we risk the bruises and the plops and the lack of any semblance of personal space. Why a mom’s lap is always open.
Because when words and band-aids and security blankets fail, a mom’s lap can tell them, instantly and in no uncertain terms, that they are loved. They always will be. It’s all going to be ok.
In the end, that’s a pretty great superpower to have.