Every mom longs to hear her child say those three little words: that phrase that makes a mother’s heart flutter with delight as warm fuzzies snuggle in through her ears and down into her soul.
I dreamt of the moment, imagining every possible detail: the tilt of her head, her curls framing her face just so, the conviction of her heart revealed in the intensity of her gaze. I could almost hear her voice as she articulated the message I so yearned to hear. I envisioned my own reaction, practicing for the coming day.
Still, you can’t really prepare yourself for the magnitude of the experience.
You know it will happen. It will. Generations of mothers attest to it. Every child, regardless of limitations, finds a way to say it in time. You know your child is no different. So you tell yourself to be patient. Don’t rush it. The time will come. Wait.
Me, I heard those three prized words on a day that seemed normal, average really. Nothing in the hours leading up to the event foreshadowed the momentous occasion that would follow. As it happened, the children had just come in from school and were reporting on their day.
“Sorry we’re late.”
“Too much homework.”
“Band test today.”
“Loved my lunch.”
And then, stuck onto the end of a sentence, there it was.
“So I was talking to Haylea, and we decided that you were right.”
All my preparation forgotten I swung around to face her, squeals of joy struggling against my restraint. Had I heard correctly?
“I was what?” I asked, a trace of wistfulness tinting my tone.
Her back was to me, so I couldn’t see the intensity that surely resided in her gaze. “You were right,” she said casually as she reached for a snack.
I was right. Me. I. Her mother. I was right. Not wrong. RIGHT.
I danced a little jig before embracing her.
“I was right, you say?”
Her conviction-filled eyes rolled upward and beyond—perhaps in an effort to preserve the memory of the moment. “You were right.”
“About what? Tell me everything!”
“Mom. Stop.” She tilted her head as if to punctuate the command.
Flush with delight, I pleaded, “Let me just enjoy this moment. I’ve waited so long.”
It was glorious. Fantastic. Absolute. It was downright . . . well . . . stupendous.
But then a deeper voice cut in, assaulting the magic, yanking me back to reality: each word so distinct, the message unmistakable.
“Mom. You’re so stupid." My son, two years younger than his sister, had the last word.
Dadgumit! So close and yet so far.
Surely I am too stupid to be human; I do not have human understanding.
Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.
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