Mother's day

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm a teary mess every time I watch a P&G "Thank you, Mom" ad, such as this one called "What I See," about a mother who was told her daughter would never walk or talk. "I never saw the things my child couldn't do," the mother says. "I only imaged what she could."

I also am a sucker for any kind of "Life Lessons From Mom" list. There are endless variations as we approach Mother's Day, including "25 Things I've Learned About Being a Daughter in My 50s," "7 Pieces of Unsolicited Advice for New Moms," and "7 Things Mom Taught Me About Living," from The Huffington Post. (Why so many lists of seven? I have no idea.) In any case, I read them all.

Last night, I had my own, very small "what I learned" moment or, like the Oprah column I sometimes used to read, an "aha"moment. My son, Holt, got an invitation to a Bar Mitzvah for this coming Saturday. (This was a last-minute invite because he has just gotten to know this boy from his baseball team, and the original guest list was put together months ago.) He may know a couple of the kids at the party, but most he won't.

To understand this "aha" moment, you should know that I am not a big-party kind of person. I love small get-togethers (my husband likes to joke that I prefer parties of two people or fewer), and I love the kind of socializing that happens spontaneously on the playground, on a driveway, or on a walk with friends. But giant gatherings of people I don't know? Not so much.

After reading the email invitation, I went to find Holt and ask him what he wanted to do. There were a few logistics to figure out, but when that was done, he said, "I'd like to go." And before my "what I learned moment," I had a bad-parenting moment.

I said, "But will you know anyone?"

He said, "I might know a few."

I asked, "Do you at least want to think about it?"

He said, "No, I'd like to go."

And then - at long last - the aha moment kicked in. I realized that a.) he's not me. He doesn't share my dread of big parties full of strangers, and oh, how happy I am he doesn't. B.) Never project (an offshoot of "A," and one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn - over and over again - as a parent). And c.) he's brave, and I could and should be braver, too. I could be more like him, instead of the other way around.

So this is my list. Not seven or 25, just these "Three Things I Learned From My 12-Year-Old," in honor of Mother's Day.

I hope you have a happy one.


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