If you got a report card for being a mom, what would your grades be?
At a picnic years ago, I sat next to a woman sharing stories about her family. She laughed about the day she bailed her son out of jail. She laughed because time gave her the comfort of perspective and hindsight. Luckily, it was a minor offense. What he did was stupid with no lasting consequence.
My son Tommy sat with us and heard every word. With his eyes wide, his 17-year-old brain absorbed the story. I could tell he was calculating possibilities about what he had and hadn’t done. Maybe the summer sun was working on the beer in my system. Maybe I knew Tommy well enough that he’d appreciate my weird sense of humor. I couldn’t help it. I leaned towards him and stage-whispered, “Thank you for not making me bail you out of jail.” I got the expected response, a quiet giggle and a sly smile.
Mothers are blamed for a lot of what their children do, whether it’s warranted or not. If that’s true, then I think credit is also due for the things our children don’t do, like not getting arrested. None of my children are ax murderers, Ponzi schemers, or cult members. At least, not that I’m aware of.
My Mommy report card may not have straight A’s, but I’m proud of it overall. My kids know enough to not burp in public, especially in a nice restaurant. That’s an A in Manners for this Mommy. They look both ways before crossing a road and kept their fingers out of electrical sockets so there’s another A in Safety. I never had to post bail, there’s my A in Ethics!
The most important grade to me is the one in Communications. My children answer the phone and reply to texts when I reach out to them. Sometimes, they even get in touch with me first! I prefer this regular contact to any accolades on Mother’s Day. They’re people I’d like spend time with even if they weren’t related to me. That’s the grade that really counts.