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Mothers make good liars

Published May 12. 2012 09:01AM

Being a mother is the most important and most rewarding job I have ever known.

It's surprising, however, to do well in this noble profession, it seems you must be a good liar.

I admit, my kids got in a lot of trouble when they lied. It just never occurred to me (while they were growing up) that I was the one whose pants were often on fire.

My youngest daughter recently shared this memory with me.

She was about 4 or 5 years old, and we were in the grocery store. She recalls arguing with me about something, and eventually, my response to end the argument was "Because I know everything!"

"I believed that for years," Amanda recalls, "until one day you said, 'I don't know,' and I had an 'Aha!' moment. I was probably about 7 or 8 when I realized you had lied."

Fortunately, she thinks the whole thing was pretty funny.

That story was followed by another. She was about 3 or 4 years old, and had a friend over to play.

"She was an angel and I was an owl," Amanda recalls, "and we were hungry and insisted on having angel food and owl food, and you said 'Oh, of course!'"

She doesn't remember what I fed them, but they were satisfied it was angel food and owl food.

As we strolled down Memory Lane, I remembered another little fib.

Blessed with an overactive imagination, Amanda insisted her room was full of monsters. I got a can of air freshener, covered it with decorative paper and penned the words "Monster Spray" on the can. At night, after her story and before we turned out the lights, her room got a couple quick blasts of Monster Spray, and she went right to sleep.

My history of lying didn't start with Amanda. It began with her older sister about 10 years earlier.

When Margaux was very young, I had become a single mom and had to work full-time. She took it pretty hard and would cry all the way to preschool. She couldn't understand why I had to leave her and it just broke my heart.

Each morning we passed a large field where horses grazed. One day, trying to distract her, I pointed out the horses and before I knew it, a lie fell out of my mouth.

"Whenever you see a horse first thing in the morning, it means you are going to have a great day!"

Each morning, she would watch for the horses and call out as soon as she saw them. We had no more tears after that.

Unlike Amanda, she never had an "Aha!" moment. A couple years ago, I heard Margaux (who is now in her 30s) tell her daughter the "old wives tale" about seeing a horse in the morning. I was touched that she remembered and that she wanted to share a good feeling with Gabby.

I did finally confess I had made it up, and while I'm confessing, I have to say all my lies weren't just to make my life easier as a Mom. There were those that were a little hard to swallow literally!

When my son was in preschool, his class hosted a Mother's Day Tea. The children were excited to serve us muffins they made the day before. They lined up, paper plate in hand, as the teachers carefully placed two muffins on each plate one for mom and one for them. I saw Garrett search the tables until he spotted me, and began heading in my direction. As he walked, trying to keep me in his line of vision and balance his muffins, first one, then the other rolled off the plate and onto the floor. The same thing happened to the other children.

Pretty soon it looked like a strange relay race as two dozen 4-year-olds made their way across the hall; dropping muffins and trying to pick them up, but not stopping, which actually resulted in continually kicking them toward their loving mothers.

When those muffins finally arrived, dusty and crumbling, there wasn't a mother there who didn't smile, take a big bite and swear they were the best muffins they had ever eaten.

So tomorrow, when all you mothers are served breakfast in bed which may consist of burnt toast, coffee grounds and a half-cooked egg remember, a little white lie never hurt anyone.

Happy Mother's Day!

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