Once, when I was young, maybe 20 or so–just old enough to be really really stupid– I told my mother that I didn’t think she had been a very good mother. I don’t even remember the context of the conversation, but I remember that I wasn’t trying to hurt her feelings. I was actually trying to make her feel better. Like, hey– you weren’t the greatest, but LOOK! I’m not a complete disaster as a human being!
Like I said, just old enough to be really really stupid.
I don’t remember a lot of the many many stupid things I have said in almost thirty-three years, but I remember that. It has been in the forefront of my thoughts most of the last two and half years, since I became a mother.
I dread the day that one of my children thinks back on childhood and pronounces my best efforts less than stellar. And I’m sure that day will come, because let’s face it: some days, my best efforts are just no match for a two year old who is determined to wash her hands in the toilet. And I realize that this is minor compared with the drama of middle school, drivers ed, and teenage rebellion.
But I hope that when that day comes, I respond the way my mother did. Do you know what she said? She said Oh! You think so? Hm!
And then she let me figure out how very wrong I was all by myself.