not perfect, just right

Last night my Thing 2 asked me, “Who chose you for me?”

After making him repeat that a couple of times so I could understand, I told him, “Different people would answer that differently. But with a question as big as that? I would say God.”

He said, “Oh. Good. It was a perfect decision. I can’t imagine a different Mom. You’re the best one.”

Now, this was after not-my-finest-showing-at-patience for the evening, so I assumed he was playing the Christmas-is-coming-better-stay-on-the-nice-list angle. I asked, “The best one for you, you mean? Why do you think that?”

He answered, “Sometimes I just look at other moms and I think, uhhhh… That mom thinks even her lips need to look all shiny. My mom wears sweatpants and she doesn’t even care. She’s awesome.”

Now, sweatpants do feature heavily in my wardrobe rotation (and discussions about it, and possibly my approach to life), but I have never worn them to school or even one of his ball games. I think maybe he’s just comfortable at home and wonders how those other moms make the switch from fancy to relaxed. Or maybe if they do at all.

But I do pause. In two sentences he’s neatly articulated that he sees a different person in me than I do. Mostly, he thinks I don’t care about appearances, which is something I tell my kids not to do but unfortunately can’t honestly claim I am able to do myself. I do care more than I’d like to. I’m generally a jeans and chucks kind of girl, but I always feel inadequate when other moms show up in nice boots or cute heels. I regularly wonder why I’m the only one I know who doesn’t look like a grown up with my shit together, but when I try branching out I always end up back where I started. My kid, however, sees a better version of that mom: accessible to kids, okay getting messy, just as comfortable on the floor as in a chair, willing to agree to “twin” with him for the day to match his team colors, or wear matching shoes.

And man, lipstick? How does he nail these things? I hate lipstick. I look ridiculous in lipstick. My mouth already takes up my whole face, why draw more attention to it? But he sees it as a plus: when I reminded him that I do wear heels sometimes (it’s not like I never clean up), and I do put on a little makeup to go to work (where you can be sure my hair accessory always matches), he responded, “Sure, but not so much that you look like a different person.”

Huh. While I’m busy wondering why I’m not like the other moms, this kid likes me for the mom I am, and for not trying to be someone I’m not. And then tells me I’m likeable, for reasons I don’t necessarily see as assets.

Boy, am I ever lucky to have this kid to set me straight on these things. I could learn a lot from him.

I bet there are some other lucky kids out there who think I’m weird, and their mom is super beautiful with her perfect hair and nails, or that perfect shade of lipstick that makes her seem so put together. And they’re well matched. But not mine. Mine doesn’t want highlights or heels. So he’s right, we are perfectly suited for each other.

I don’t know if we raise them to appreciate the things we are, or if they are born to give us that gift. And oh boy, to hear these kinds of rave reviews straight from them? Rare if ever, and so hard to hear between whining and bickering and the endless soul-sucking need for snacks. There are maybe some times, though, in the draining depletion of resources, energy, time, and sense of self that parenting is, that it dawns on me that however needy these people are, I might need them just as much. Thank goodness a better decision maker than I am chose these people for me, and me for this.

 

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