Mom’s have a way of knowing what their kids need to hear, even when they don’t really want to hear it. I remember when I was dating a girl in college and we were in the car together with my mom and grandma. This young lady made the statement, ‘Men are tactical and women are strategic’. As soon as we dropped her off, mom turned and said, ‘did you hear what she said’? I had heard it and understood it to be a mantra that our lives would be filled with intrigue and deceit as she worked to manipulate things to meet her objectives. That is one relationship that I don’t look back on fondly. I look back and am thankful that sometimes mom is there to save us from ourselves.
Fast forward fifteen years to a time when I was dating the love of my life and mother to my children, who is wonderful and beautiful…and never reads my blog, thus my vain attempts at flattery won’t ever be read by their intended recipient…and my mother’s words once again rang true. I had broken up with her the week before Valentine’s, yes I’m a jerk. A few months later, we met again at a Royals game and I realized what I had lost. She helped plan activities for my nieces and nephews when they visited and endeared herself to my family. When I told my mom I was going to ask her out again she told me with the boldness of a mother scolding a two year old that I was not going to stick my toe in the pond and then get back out again…I’d better be committed to living in the pond before I took that leap. In the end she was right and we are going on ten years of wedded bliss (cue birds, flowers and choirs of angels here).
In her best performance so far, she has learned when not to provide every opinion she has. Raising my own children comes with its own built in issues, but she is letting me learn those with only a few comments here and there helps me continue to grow and to come to respect my moms advice more even as it becomes more sparing through the years.
As in so many things, a little goes a long way. I only hope that I’ll be there with words of wisdom in my children’s lives as they move through their own decisions. As I look up from my writing to the vision of my daughter turning my son in circles in a non-circular swing I realize that just now might be a good time to dispense some fatherly advice, but then again the fall is short and the lesson learned may be far more valuable than any word I could give.