On the day we got new carpet installed at our house, my mom messaged me and said, “Big day for you!” This is because moms care about the things no one else cares about.
Not about things like brushing your teeth and whether you’ve had a vegetable lately, although moms do generally care about those things also.
But about the minutiae of daily life. The little details that make up the big picture. The things that, if you told most anyone else about them, they’d think, “And this is supposed to interest me how?”—but that your mom follows like it’s a page-turner and she’s hanging on every word at the edge of her reading chair.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with everyone else; it’s just that people in our lives are on a need-to-know basis, and moms are the ones who NEED TO KNOW.
So, for instance, if you’re getting new carpet, that’s all anyone else wants to know about it, if they even want to know that much. But your mom wants to know what color and if there are any flecks in it and if you got new padding and does it have a pattern and how plush is it and when can she come to see it? And the morning it’s supposed to be installed, you get an “it’s a big day for you!” text from her. (And here, it must be acknowledged that we are talking about the A-list moms among us…the kind we are only too aware not everyone has but wish they did and the kind we wish we had, if we don’t or didn’t…the kind we are trying to be, whether by example or intention.)
The mom interest factor isn’t nosiness or overstepping or being too clingy; it’s just that, from the moment we enter our moms’ lives, it’s their job to pay attention to every detail. Every kick, every cry, every bodily function, every bite of food, every development, every milestone, every need.
This is a switch that’s hard to turn off. So, when they no longer need to know everything, the best moms still want to know a lot.
And what a gift this is. Those of us who are blessed to have moms like this still with us on earth already know one of the many things we’ll miss when they’re gone is having someone, we can share the fine print of life with—the back stories and the follow-ups and the plot twists.
Given the chance, we vow to try to repay our moms for all their years of rapt attention the same way we plan to try to repay most everything else they’ve done for us: by doing the same for their grandchildren.
And so, kids, down the road, when you get a great deal at T. J. Maxx or finally pick between “vanilla mist” white and “hand-churned cream” white for that wall you’re painting or, you know, get new carpet, just know this: we’d love to hear all about it.
by Elizabeth Spencer