a friendship formed

"Mom? Well...here's something you wouldn't have even pretended to care about..."

Me: Oh, good. I can polish up my acting chops.

Will: Who do you think would win? Godzilla? Or King Kong?

Me: Ooooh...you are right. I wouldn't have pretended to care about that even a little bit.

He laughs. We are being kind of tongue-in- cheek, of course. But it's true. I'm not an easy parent. I'm not actually an easy teacher. I don't even think I am an easy personality. I don't pretend like it's interesting if it's not. I don't pretend to care if I don't.

But, I think I win points for authenticity. A 5th grade student of mine once said on our last day of school, "I like it when Mrs. Mudd laughs at something I say. Because she doesn't ever fake it. She doesn't laugh if it isn't funny. So when she laughs--it's awesome. Because you know you were actually funny."

And. I think I put a lot of that in my raising. I didn't want to raise children--I wanted to raise adults. Children who become adults who understand the rules of social engagement. Who care. Who get it. Who are enjoyable company. So I never gave my children the impression that everything that came out of their mouths was fascinating, or right, or deserved a round of applause.

And, yet. I do find them to be marvelous. I do find my students to be clever and lovely. Not always. But there are a million ways to love someone.

So, this. Will is right. I would have not indulged this conversation at length. But I would have given it considerable thought and answered honestly and from the heart. I would have done that when he was 7 and truly, truly curious. And I would have done it at 25 when he was being flippant--annoyed that this match up ever needed to be made on the silver screen.

"Hmmm." I stopped everything I was doing to consider the possibilities.

"Well, I have never seen ANY movies with either of them...but it's so obvious--King Kong."

He rolls his eyes. And he is extra endearing to me as he grows older. As if I know our years together are waning and he will go out into the world soon. I want to memorize all the little moments we have left.

"Is that wrong?" I ask.
No, it's not, he assures me. The choice would be a hard one from many perspectives.

And somewhere in making our plates, and in Maggie joining us, and in the three of us getting lost in time at dinner... I realize I have indeed made then my favorite mini-adults. But they also made me as well. Truly, MADE me into the human I am today.

Some woman, somewhere--whom I have oft-quoted--once said: "She discovered to her delight that one does not love one's children simply because they are one's children, but because of the friendship formed by raising them."❤

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