1975 or so…
Me: I want to make clothes like you do when I grow up.
Mom: I want you to make better and prettier clothes than I do.
Me: You make pretty clothes.
Mom: But I want you to be better than me so you have to make prettier clothes.
Mom: Because that’s what every mom wants for their kids to be better than them. Now stand up straight before you get stuck with a pin.
I had this conversation with my mom over and over again as I was growing up. The above instance was the first I remember. I was in 1st grade getting dressed for the homecoming parade in a dress my mom made the night before. I felt like a princess in this yellow dress with matching hair ribbons and socks she added lace to. What I did not know at the time was that my mom made the dress the night before because she got paid the day before and that was when she could afford to buy the material. Just thinking about that sacrifice brings tears to my eyes. You see I, like many of you had a superhero mom. Instead of the cape she wore this A line blue polyester skirt with matching light blue shirt during the week and the fiercest high heels with matching hats and suits on Sundays. This woman ran a household that included a husband, 6 to 8 kids and occasionally her mom, as well as, a business, was on the school board, worked 8 to 10 hours a day as a bus driver and was minister all at the same freaking time and she wants me to be better than her? Is she for real?
But now I get it. I have these amazing kids for whom I want every good thing life has to offer. Which is what lead to this:
Boy: I want to be a good cooker like you mommy.
Me: You mean cook. I want you to cook better than mommy.
Boy: You cook really good you make the best food! I want to cook just like you.
Me: I want you to make better food than mommy.
Me: Because mommies want their kids to be better than them.
Boy: I don’t know if I can but I think I will make more hotdogs for my kids and they will like that better.
I don’t know that I have done better than my mother in any area. I am sure my siblings would balk at the suggestion that anyone can be better than mom. But I do know that I have tried to be at least as good. I think my kids will be just fine with that.