I am probably the best mom ever. At least that’s what my 25-year old son told me in a text he sent me to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. Really? Probably the best mom? Which leaves me wondering, what could have put me over the edge to make me the best mom in my son’s estimation? Did he find someone else’s mom more deserving of this acclamation? Aren’t all kids supposed to believe in their heart of hearts that their mother is the best? Am I simply a failure at motherhood?
This edict, this declaration of his, which I have taken as an accusation, has put me in panic mode. I feel like Jodie Foster in Flight Plan. That’s the one where Jodie’s daughter vanishes from the plane and Jodie gets all discombobulated because she can’t find her little girl and no one remembers seeing the kid. That’s me, only I’m not looking for a little girl, I’m looking for the reason I only rate a “probably.”
I start to mentally count off the last 25 years, looking for clues as to what could have been my downfall as a mother. Was it when I told him I’d sell him to the gypsies if he didn’t put his shoes on? Or, when he was four and asked for water but I gave him club soda instead? True, I did laugh when his face went sour, but how was I supposed to know he’d be able to tell the difference?
Perhaps it was when he wanted yet another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and I told him we’d hide it in the Barbie section of the toy store and come back to buy it later, but never did. I was so sure he’d forget about it! Was it when I made him wear that purple floral nightgown when he was six because it was handed down to him by one of his female cousins and I didn’t want it to go to waste (besides it was really adorable!)? He can’t possibly remember those days when he’d be the last kid picked up from day care, with a peeved teacher waiting by his side, or the one time when I completely forgot to pick him up, all because I got my wires crossed with his dad? Did I unknowingly scar him for life?
I read Dr. Spock. I read all the books on surviving pregnancy and the first year. I even took those horse-size prenatal vitamins, so it can’t be about that. Was it because I called him by his pet name, Bear, in front of his friends when he was 14? Or because I balked at all the fees his high school charged for being on the football team, which he wanted to do so badly but then never even got to play?
It’s the not knowing that confounds me. I need to know. I want to make this right! So I do the only thing I can do. I call him up.
“Josh, what do you mean, I’m probably the best mom?”
“Is there anything I can do to earn the title of best mom?”
I try to hide the desperation in my voice.
“Sure, Mom. You are the best mom ever,” he sighs, with only slight irritation in his voice.
“Really, Josh? That means so much to me.”
“Good night, Mom. It’s three in the morning.”
Hanging up, I beam with pride, as only the mother of a 25 year old can. At my age, you take the compliments however and whenever you can get them.