Last time I told you about the World’s Worst PowerPoint Contest; this time let’s talk about the best mother in the world. Moms you will get a kick out of this.
Many years ago, a dear friend of mine was putting her son to bed one night, and he looked up at her with his gorgeous blue eyes, and angelic face, and asked her what she thought was a rhetorical question:
Mommy… do you know who the best mother in the world is?
My friend is thinking to herself ” Um…yes sweetie…but why don’t you go ahead and tell me. I love to hear you say that I’m the best mother in the world. And by the way, I love you too, and you are the best son in the world.”
Coming out of her reverie, she replies ” Who sweetie?”
Her heart is about to pop out of her chest with love and adoration as her son matter of factly replies: “Liz May” (said as one word–Lizmay).
Disappointment, surprise, hurt feelings, laughter outrage, puzzlement, and more laughter follow, and the laughter continues to this day between my dear friend and me.
To be clear, I made no claims to be the best mother in the world and never will. I would settle for not bad at this point. Perhaps I should explain. When we lived in China, no restaurant was ever described as good or great–there were usually only two descriptions to pick from–awful, and not bad.
So…how was the Happy Duck Feet Kitchen? Was it pretty good?
Um…hmmm…pretty good…um…actually…it was not bad.
Not bad you say? Alright then, we’ll definitely have to try it.
I came to appreciate not bad during our tenure there, and often apply that to my life back in America. Anything not completely terrible is now not bad; it is the my new gold standard.
Anyhoo, I don’t know what exactly I did or said to impress this young skull full of mush but apparently something made an impression. It could have been something as simple as letting him use the electric can opener, or crack open the can of crescent rolls (ah the simple pleasures of a four year old). Trust me–there were usually no fantastic goings on when kids came to play at our home. When guests returned home, and their parents asked them if they had a nice time, if they replied that things over there were not bad, I considered the play date a success.
I share the story not only because it still makes me giggle, (can you feel me laughing here?), but I hope it helps moms to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, so to speak. When trying to figure out how to be a good mom, we have to learn how to sort data into relevant and irrelevant piles. Sometimes the participants in the study do not always have a good grasp of what are significant measures of success; they get easily distracted by electric can openers and crescent rolls. So direct feedback is not always an accurate measure. (For you oppositional defiant types–take a chill pill. You know these folks–they brag that their kids think they are the meanest parents in the world in a way that makes you wonder if they truly are.)
What you have to do is find some measure of good motherhood that satisfies your need to find your way, but does not have you losing your mind in the process. Which brings us back to having some guiding principles. For those who are wondering when the bulleted list of principles will appear, hang on. This is a blog from an Italian/Irish storyteller, not a googleable brochure (just made that word up–you can google it now). Hopefully the stories will make you laugh, cry, or say me too. They may not be the best stories in the world, but…they’re not bad. Till next time.