Last week, my boys independently told me something that completely melted my heart, and filled it up at the same time.
On Tuesday, my birthday, Matthew said this to me: "Mom, you're the best mom ever...better than a boy could even dream of. I love you with my whole heart!" He's repeated these assertions a few more times since then, and has surprised me with sudden, fierce hugs and hand grabs, too. And a few times lately, he's said things like "Mom, I have a really great life...thanks for working so hard for us...". Wow...it's been awesome. I've worked with and loved that boy so hard and for so long, and in moments like these, I can just feel the blessing of that love pouring over me.
And then there's Seth.
Mid-week last week, while sitting at the dinner table, I glanced over at Seth and couldn't help but notice that he was staring at me intently. I did a double take. He looked almost angry, he was so intense. Those eyes. I asked what was wrong and he immediately said "nothing." So immediately that I knew I needed to follow up. I wondered what I'd done to merit such a look. I asked if I could speak privately with him for a moment in the library and we excused ourselves from the table.
Once sitting on the couch, I asked again what that look had been about, and said that he looked angry at me about something. He covered his eyes and said that he couldn't say it...he just couldn't. I told him that it was ok, he didn't have to, but that I was very curious and that, no matter how awful it was, nothing would change my love for him, and that our relationship was more important than any hard feelings he was having towards me. He said that he wanted to tell me but didn't think he could tell me (classic sign that mixed feelings are coming). I said something like "no worries" and that he could tell me another time if that was easier.
Seth: "But part of me wants to tell you, Mommy."
Me: "Well, if you want to, why don't you try to tell me one word at a time."
Seth: "OK. The first word is I."
Me: "OK. 'I -.' What's the next word?"
Me: "Ok. The next word is think. So far we have 'I think.'"
I had no idea what was coming but I knew nothing could be as horrible as warranting his hiding his head under my arm. His first instinct, always, always, is to defend his heart; it's so hard for him to share his heart.
Me: "What's the next word, Seth? Can you try to tell me?"
Me: "All right. Got it. 'You.' What's next?"
Me (trying to guess where this was headed and bracing myself inwardly for the worst): "Got it. So far we have 'I think you are...'. Do you want to tell me the next word?"
Me: "OK. 'I think you are a....' Can you keep going?"
Me: "Gr? Do you mean Girl? Green? Grinch?"
Seth: "Not those words."
Me, stumped: "Well, what word is it then? I have no idea Seth, I'm sorry. Do you still want to try to tell me?"
Me: "All right. What's the next word? No matter what it is, Seth, I love you and nothing will change you and me. So...what's the next word? I'm ready for it."
Seth (hiding his head under a pillow on the couch beside me): "Great!"
Me: "'Great?' OK. So far we have 'I think you are a great - .' What is great? That I am a great lizard? A great big meanie? What?"
Seth (still ducking his head, pushing hard against me with his full body weight): "The last word is Mom."
Me (stunned...waiting for the bad news to drop): "What?!? Mom? You think I am a great Mom?"
Seth glanced up then to see how I was reacting and saw the tears in my eyes. He grabbed me around the neck and hugged me hard. I was overwhelmed, and had to fight the big wave of emotion that threatened. So much that child and I have gone through, including lots of the bad and the ugly, even recently, and still he believes that I'm a great mom. I was floored, totally taken aback. Never saw that one coming.
I told him that I thought he was a great son and that I loved him so much that my heart hurt with it sometimes. Shortly after, we walked back to the supper table hand in hand and he ate the rest of his meal from my fingers while he sat perched on my lap.
Two beautiful moments in as many days. I don't know how it could possibly get any better than that!