As a mom, I get it wrong a lot!
I got it wrong when I gave my daughter permission to get her nose pierced just because I was mad at her dad.
I got it wrong when I let my kids quit piano, or so they have told me repeatedly.
I got it wrong when I told my daughter she wasn't sick, she just didn't want to go to ballet. And then she puked in the van on the way to ballet.
Every now and again, however, I get it right.
My son's favorite music artist was going to be in concert in Kansas City. He had to go! I agreed and bought the tickets.
The thing about living as a single mom on a teacher's salary...well, I'm a single mom living on a teacher's salary.
The day arrived, I filled up the gas tank and carefully budgeted for the trip. By budgeted, I mean we stayed at the cheapest motel I could find. The view included what my son referred to as a "rape van" just outside our door. You know--big, white (even the windows painted white). But the room seemed clean enough and the bars on the windows of the little check-in office made me feel really safe...as long as I was standing in the little check-in office.
We checked in, got ready, ran past the rape van to the car, dined at the Hardees Drive-through, and headed to the Power and Light District where I proceeded to show my son around to all the restaurants he would have had the option of patronizing if his dad had taken him to the concert. We meandered our way past the Fred Phelps clan and their "God hates Great Britain" signs, pausing only for my son to ask them, "Is that all of Great Britain, or just certain parts?"
We found our seats and the concert started. Just a boy and his guitar--Ed Sheeran took the stage.
My son was clearly impressed, enthralled, enthused, and cool. I, however, lost it.
Here I was sharing this moment with my son. It was his first time to see in person the artist who inspired him to pick up a guitar, who let him understand that sharing the gift of his voice was okay, even noble. Here was my son in the presence of his inspiration, and I was there, too.
I sat back and watched a boy and his guitar, and a boy and his inspiration and a thought--from somewhere outside of me--entered my psyche, and I knew it was the best thing I've ever done with and for my son.
It was better than the times I made his sister stop forcing him to play dress up. It was better than when I took him to the batting coach because I didn't know a thing about baseball. It was better than risking having a stroke because I finally relented and tried to teach him how to drive.
It was just a concert, but it was also a moment--the kind that you never forget.
It didn't happen the way I wanted. I wish I could have made it more, made it better. But in the end, it was the best thing I've ever done.