Often, when my friends and I fail to do something we meant to do, or feed the children cereal for dinner, or run so late to carpool that the child being retrieved is the last pitiful little figure, sitting on the steps with the principal, we comment that we suppose we're no longer in the running for mother of the year. We stop looking for the people in the van to pull up the driveway with flowers and a tiara and one of those giant checks.
Lately, I've been pretty sure I've been disqualified from the entire competition. I feel as scattered, smothered, and burnt as a plate of Waffle House hashbrowns. I think I'm keeping up, but just barely... I hit the ground running in the morning and collapse into bed well after midnight, feeling there's something I've forgotten.
Today, I was spending a quiet morning at home with my Small One, for a change, and quite enjoying it. Nothing was "on fire" in my life, nothing requiring my immediate and total attention, just a mellow time. We were about to play a game, and I had an art project in mind for later. Small sat on the bed and said, in a friendly conversational tone,
"Daddy is a GREAT father."
I agreed. I felt warm and fuzzy about this. Yes, I thought, we're doing a fine job with this little person, she has a really fun and secure life, with two loving parents. Go us!
Then she made her follow-up statement.
"You're not a great mother, but I still like you."