Growing up, I was convinced that my mom knew everything. She was a natural at parenting. She had an answer for every question, a solution for every problem, a band aid for every hurt. She knew peculiar facts. I can remember her asking store clerks”Do you know why stores charge 99 cents for things, rather than a dollar?”. She would go on to explain that it was to keep cashiers honest. They had to open the till to retrieve a penny for change, which minimized the risk of them pocketing a dollar. (Remember, this was before computers!)
So she knew a whole lot.
Even as an adult, I call my mom whenever I have a question about things. Recipes, ailments, marital issues, financial problems, politics. She is my own personal Google.
I can’t recall the issue, but I do remember the first time she said “I don’t know, Amy. I really don’t know what you should do”. I was crestfallen, dumbfounded, taken aback and in disbelief. This woman I had relied on for years had no answer for me. It was on a scale slightly less than devastating.
It’s been many years since that incident, and I am sure that I eventually came up with a solution, but the memory stays fresh in my mind. It was the moment I saw my mom as a real, true, bona fide human. Not just my mom. She was someone who had answers because she had lived life, but she was and is still learning. There are some things she doesn’t know, there are some things she has never experienced.
I am the mom of 5 kids, ranging in age from 10 months to 20 years. I have been parenting for 17 years, married for 15 years. I am a wife, mother, daughter,sister, friend, aunt, niece, granddaughter and cousin. I have experienced life. I have lived and learned. Yet, I do not feel like I have anything figured out, except what time I go to bed. I have failed at so much that I don’t keep track any longer. Sometimes my confidence waivers. I not only don’t have ALL the answers, I don’t have MOST of the answers. I am as human as a human comes.
I imagine that my mom isn’t much different. I presume that she inwardly feels as if she has lived so long, but knows so little. That is not the woman I see though. It causes me to wonder what kind of woman my children see when they look at me? Do they come to me with all their questions because they think I know all the answers? Sometimes they say “We should ask grandpa (or grandma)”. Maybe they are on to me? I certainly don’t want to disappoint them when they are grown when they discover that I actually don’t know as much as they thought I knew.
Perhaps the knowledge that our parents know so much when we are children is for our comfort and safety. I never felt like I had to worry as a child, because I was safe in the knowledge that my mom had it. She knew what was going on and she knew how to solve it.
I know it’s not a comfort that everyone grew up with, but it’s one I am extremely grateful for.
In love, in friendship, in Him,