Not despite, but because

Remember that conversation with my son that I told you about recently? The one where I took the high road and told my son to shut his piehole, while he took the low road and told me I was “the nicest mom in the world”?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot, because his response was such a funny, unexpected reaction. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. My first thought was that he was being sarcastic. Would the nicest mom in the world ever use the word “piehole” anywhere near her seven-year-old’s delicate ears? No, no, she would not.

But later, I had a stunning realization. What if he actually meant it?

Right after he said I was the nicest mom in the world, I laughed and said, “Oh, I don’t think so.”

“Well, who’s a nicer mom than you?” he says with utterly sincere incredulity.

“Lots of people.” And I start naming them. Whole legions of nicer moms. “I’m cranky. And irritable. But I do love you a lot.”

And he hugged me.

And it occurred to me in a flash of blinding, glorious insight days later that my son doesn’t love me despite the fact that I’m cranky and irritable. He loves me partly because I am those things. The word “piehole” is just inherently funny. So is a mom who tells you to shut yours. Most people don’t get to have moms who say shit like that. If you’re lucky, you get a mom who is kind and loving and cuts the crusts off your PB&J and smiles at you warmly while you fart in her lap.

And if you’re really, really lucky, you get a mom who is a bit rude and inappropriate, tells you to make your own lunch some mornings, and flies off the handle sometimes when you ask her to wipe your nearly-eight-year-old butt. And loves you insanely muchly.

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