Every night that I sit on his bed and kiss him goodnight, my ten year-old Boy 1 says the exact same thing to me:
"You're the Best Mom in the Whole World."
It always makes me smile, and I thank him, and I tell him I love him forever. I feel loved by him, and cared for in deep places of my soul because a boy whose whole world revolves mostly around the Dallas Cowboys, the Hobbit, and Dominoes Pizza wants me to know that I'm important to him. But after he says it, I tiptoe out of the room and try not to think about his words too much.
Because, I don't know, hang with me here, you guys: What do those words even mean: "The Best Mom in the Whole World"?
Clearly, I'm his only mom. So, it's hard to know if he has a good, solid perspective on how I compare to all the other moms in the world.
Let's be transparent here. I forget important stuff all the time. I get all snippy when it's time to leave and no one did what they were supposed to do to get ready to go (Just get in the car. Just get in the car. I don't even care. Just get in the car.) . I frequently feed my children non-organic food that probably has radiation or pesticides or GMOs in every molecule (Thank you, Jesus for these delicious chemicals. Amen.). I dislike all of my kids' sports activity 90% of the time (Can't they at least just play inside sports?). I never make birthday treats for them to share with their classes because that is too hard to do (emails, planning, allergies, baking, etc.).
The list of ways in which I miss the mark at winning mom awards is long, but I admit I don't know a mom who isn't missing it somewhere, so maybe we are all in this together?
I don't mean to be Debbie Downer. I'm a good mom. I try to be kind and patient. I clothe and feed my children daily. I tell jokes, sing songs at bedtime, and pray for them when they're struggling. I don't scream obscenities when they forget to do their chores, I never throw plates at their heads or call them cruel names, and I don't tell them to buzz off when they need something important. I love them so much that my chest aches with the weight of joy at the precious blessing they were yesterday, the charming characters they are today, and the amazing people they will be tomorrow.
But even so, it's times like this, when your kids love you just for being who you are, that you realize how much the ugly message of perfection has twisted its way into your soul.
Because before that boy of mine shot his loving arrow of hyperbole straight into my heart, I didn't know I had bought that big, fat, stinking, rotten lie that the Best Mom In The World meant being perfect.
And so the question begs to be asked: What does it take to be the Best Mom in the Whole World?
I think about that fair-haired boy-man softly sleeping on his pillow right now and I have to be honest: It took a million tiny moments for me to win his heart.
All I did was laugh at his jokes, kiss him every day, call him funny nicknames, write him silly notes, tell him I love him forever and God loves him even more, rebuke him when he was cruel to someone, ask him to forgive me when I was unkind to him, drive him to baseball practice, teach him to write his name, forgive him when he hurt one of my other children, bake his favorite dessert, let him play for five minutes longer sometimes, buy shirts that are his favorite color, insist he learn some things the hard way, stroke his head when he was sick all night long, be an advocate when he couldn't defend himself, listen to a lot of talk about Matchbox cars and Legos and Pokemon and football and Transformers and other things I don't care much about, take his hand in the parking lot, push him out and away a little when he got too comfortable, raise his needs above my own, and hold the days as loosely as I could so that the years would come and go as they are meant to do.
I am a freaking awesome mom to that kid. And he knows it. I'm not perfect, but he doesn't expect me to be, because I've never expected him to be perfect, either. He says I'm good to him, I love him, and I take care of him, and that is enough for him.
The interesting thing about being the Best Mom in the Whole World is this: there are thousands and thousands of us out there. We forget it, though. Because we forget that love is enough; that God's love makes us enough.
It's easy to pass on our insecurities, and so difficult to embrace the beautiful truth that in Christ we are The Best People in the Whole World. We are the grace weavers, the love bearers, the faulted yet forgiven, the chosen ones who have been washed white and clean simply because we belong to Him.
It's almost too good to be true, the way God makes us the Best in the Whole World. But it's true. May we never forget it again.