Sometimes I get mad at my son. Yes, it's true. Sometimes he pushes his friends at school or tells someone he won't be their friend anymore, and I get a talk from the preschool director. Other times I catch him in a lie. Oooh, lying to Mama makes her really, really mad.
My son knows the look.
He knows the set jaw, the narrowed eyes and the frozen look of disapproval.
"Are you mad at me, Mama?"
"Well, I'm not exactly happy with you."
"You're not HAPPY with me?" His big, round eyes peer at me in the rearview mirror. Tears are imminent.
"I'm just disappointed."
"I'm sorry Mama! I will never, ever do that again! I promise!" His entire world is collapsing around him.
"I certainly hope so."
"Are you still mad?"
"A little bit."
"YOU ARE?" Armageddon is upon us.
"You know, even when I'm mad at you, I still love you."
"Yes. When you love someone, you care about them a lot. When you love someone, you get mad at them sometimes, and sometimes they make you sad, and other times they make you laugh. But you still love them no matter what."
"Okay, Mama. I'm sorry. I don't want you to be mad at me anymore, even if you still love me."
"Okay, I won't be mad at you anymore if you promise to try and do better."
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I treated everyone as generously as I treat my son. What would that cost me? Would I lose something in being so forgiving? What would really happen if I loved like that and someone took advantage of that love.
Would it really be the end of the world?
Would I really lose anything in that?
Aren't we all just children, trying to figure it all out. Isn't the best any of us can offer is to try and do better.
Sometimes I don't think so. Sometimes I think adults are supposed to know better. But what if they don't? What then? How are any of us ever going to learn unless someone loves us like a mother? Sure, it's not my job, it's not your job. But what if we did it anyway?
What if we just went ahead and forgave everybody? And loved them. And let them fall, helped them up, brushed them off and guided them in the right direction, with only their best intentions as a guarantee?
You never know. Maybe if you loved someone like that, they'd love you back like that.