Feeling Ten Feet Tall

By Diane Stark

“Daddy, can we give Mommy her present now? Please…” My three-year-old son, Nathan, begged. He looked at me and sing-songed, “You’re gonna like your present.”

My husband Eric grinned. “All right, Nathan, go get your brothers and sisters. We’ll let Mommy open her present.”

Nine-year-old Julia came downstairs first. “Mommy, we made you a list for your present since we know how much you like them.”

“Well, it’s not so much that I like lists,” I muttered to Eric, “as that I need them or I will lose my mind.”

Eric chuckled, but little Julia’s smile dropped off a bit, so I quickly added, “I make my lists so that I don’t forget things, Sweetie. But I really do like them.”

“Oh, well, you’ll totally love this list,” she said, brightening again. “Because it’s a present list.”

“Ooh, I like presents even more than I like lists,” I said.

My three older kids came downstairs, and Eric pulled a large gift bag out of the coat closet. My oldest son, Austin, pulled a sheet of paper from the bag and read, “In honor of Mother’s Day, we wrote a list of reasons why we love you. Number Ten is because you’re really sweet.”

Nathan pulled a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from behind his back and handed them to me.

Before I could comment, Julia said, “Get it, Mom? The candy is sweet and so are you!”

I smiled. “I do get it. It’s very cute and thoughtful.”

Austin handed the list to Jordan, my middle son. “This one is my favorite,” Jordan said. “Number Nine is because you give really good back scratches.”

Julia presented me with a package of nail files. “Get it, Mom? Nail files for the finger nails you use to scratch our backs?”

I couldn’t help chuckling. “Jules, you were right when you said I would love this list. I totally love it.”

Lea, my older daughter, read Number Eight. “You are a really good cook.” Nathan handed me an oven mitt covered in pink hearts.

Julia read Reason Number Seven with her usual enthusiasm. “You brighten our lives with your thoughtfulness.” After Austin handed me a scented candle, Julia said, “See, Mommy, candles brighten things.”

I nodded. “That was very clever, Baby. Did you think of that one?”

She wrinkled her nose. “No, Daddy did. The candy was my idea.”

I hugged her and assured her that I loved all of it.

The kids went through the list, taking turns reading the reasons why they love me and giving me the associated gift. I got a picture frame, some nail polish, a bottle of hand lotion, some colored pens and a couple of books. (Because I’m smart, they said.) When they reached Reason Number One, the kids did drum rolls on their thighs and then Lea said, “Because you take such good care of us, we wanted to take care of you!”

Eric grinned and handed me a gift certificate for a day at a local spa.

“This is the Best Mother’s Day ever,” I said, hugging and kissing Eric and each of my children.

The following morning, I was still high from our Mother’s Day Love Fest. That’s why I was taken aback when Jordan came into the kitchen and said, “I’ve been thinking about something, and I wanted to ask you what you think. If I could change one thing about you as my mom, what do you think it would be?”

Wow. And I hadn’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

I swallowed and said, “Well, Bud, I don’t really know. I’m doing the best I can to be a good mom, but if you think there’s something I need to change…”

He nodded earnestly. “Yes, you are a good mom. But there is something I’d like you to work on.” He took a deep breath and I could tell this was important to him. “I really like talking to you about football. You like to watch football, and you know a lot about the teams and the players. None of my friends’ moms know about football, and they think it’s cool that you do. I love that we have that in common, but, Mom, the football season is over now.”

I nodded to indicate that I was listening, but I was totally lost. Surely he knew that I had no control over the length of the football season.

“I’m worried that we won’t be as close now,” Jordan continued, “so I was hoping you could try to learn about baseball or basketball. You know, so we’ll have something to talk about.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “So that’s the big change you want me to make? You’d like for me to learn about another sport?”

Jordan nodded. “Will you try?”

“Of course, Buddy,” I said, suddenly tearing up.

Noticing my watery eyes, he said, “Aww, Mom, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

“Oh, you didn’t, Jordan,” I said quickly. “I’m crying because I’m happy.”

“You’re happy that I want you to change something about yourself?”

“No, I’m happy because my 13-year-old son’s biggest complaint about me as a mom is that I only know about one sport.” A tear slipped down my cheek. “And you want to make sure we stay close.”

Jordan laughed and then hugged me. “You’re a great mom, and I like hanging out with you.”

I wiped my eyes and smiled. “Thanks Honey, for one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. You made me feel ten feet tall just then.”

“Speaking of ten feet tall, there’s a basketball game on. Wanna watch it with me?”

In front of the TV, I could hardly concentrate on the game. Jordan’s compliment kept replaying in my mind.

Jordan’s team scored and he reached over to high-five me. “Thanks, Mom,” he said quietly.

And in that moment, I realized that yesterday hadn’t been the best Mother’s Day ever.

Today was.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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3 Responses to “Feeling Ten Feet Tall”

  1. Kathy says:

    What a heart-warming story. Save it forever and share it with them all when they are older, maybe when they have their own children.

  2. Rose Ann says:

    Ahh. . . Perfect Mother’s Day story. Enjoyed it!

  3. Erika Hoffman says:

    Wow! You are so skilled at relating conversations and moods that the reader can see what’s happening as though watching a program rather than just deciphering words. My hat’s off to you!

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