I always took my mom at face value. I could count on her honesty in the hardest of times.
What do you think about God? Am I marrying the right man? Is this career path wrong for me? Will I love my second child as much as this one?
These are times that mothers should always tell the truth. And thank God for that.
But there are also times when moms tell little lies. I didn’t fully realize this until I became one. Now, with a toddler running around the house and a baby on the way, I know there were little lies slipping from mama’s mouth on a daily basis. How do I know? Because I tell them, too.
Here are five I am glad my mama told me.
1. Go ahead, honey. You can do it by yourself. Mama didn’t know if I could do it by myself. Every cell in her body probably screamed STOP! when I pushed off on that bicycle without training wheels. When I entered the new middle school to introduce myself to the gaggle of well-dressed local girls, and looked back to her car with an unsure expression. When I packed my bags for college and sat idling in the driveway crying to a Dixie Chicks song. But mama sent me on my way, confident that I could do these things alone. Even if in her own heart she wasn’t sure.
2. They’re just mean because you’re better than they are. Nothing hurt more than the teenage years, and my first encounter with heartbreak and Mean Girls. I spent so many hours crying on the couch, pouring my emotions out to a mama who I’m sure was crushed to see me sad. But she always knew how to make me feel better. “That stupid boy only dumped you because you intimidated him.” “Those girls are jealous because you are more talented than they are.” Was it true? Probably not. Did that matter? Not one bit.
3. You look beautiful in that outfit. OK, maybe this wasn’t a lie. Maybe my mama truly believed I looked beautiful in my Mudd Jeans and zebra-striped cowboy hat. Maybe she thought those camo shorts and flip flops were flattering to my physique. Maybe she truly believed that my strapless, shapeless wedding dress was the perfect fit. Or maybe, just maybe, she knew it didn’t matter what I wore – as long as I felt beautiful.
4. I’ll always be proud of you. In the big scheme of things, my mother probably is always proud of me. But I’m certain there were some poor choices and behavior on my part which brought her some shame. My partying and failing out of college, for example. Not my brightest moment, but my mother tempered her disappointment by assuring me that there was always pride. That I would never let her down. And because she believed in me, I believed in me. I know it wasn’t easy – I didn’t make it so! – but mama never wavered. And if she did, she lied through the doubt.
5. I’ll never leave you. As an adult, I now know there are some things you just can’t promise. But as a child dealing with divorce, moving cities, and struggling as an insecure middle schooler, this assurance was the solid ground beneath my feet. Mamas can’t be here forever, but the truths they impart to us always will be. And maybe, just as importantly … the little lies.