I have been married a long time. With more than 30 years under our shared belt, my husband and I have seen the best of times, the worst of times, the best in each other, and the worst in each other.
I must admit—as anyone who has been in a long-term relationship might—that not only has my better half seen me at my worst, he's occasionally been the one to bring out the worst in me.
Not a pretty thing to admit about the man I've promised to love until my dying breath, I know.
My husband's not alone, though. My daughters have done a pretty good job of bringing out the worst in me over the years, too. If you have kids, and especially if you have gone through or are in the throes of the teen years, you know darn well how very bad the "worst" in a mom can be.
Regardless, I still love my husband and my daughters. Unquestionably, unconditionally. I hope they feel the same about me despite that worst part of me they've coaxed to the surface now and again. There's something comforting in knowing I can show my very worst side to the ones I love without fear of abandonment.
There's something equally comforting, though, in knowing there are a few souls to whom I don't show that unsavory side, the loved ones who bring out not the worst but the very best in me.
I'm talking, of course, about my grandsons.
My grandsons have magical powers, I believe, for when I'm with them, I am my best, I do my best.
When I'm with my grandsons, I don't demand they be on my time as I'm wont to do with anyone—with everyone—else. No, we move on their time, live by their schedule.
When I'm with my grandsons, I laugh more, sing more, dance more.
And I swear far less, for reasons needing no explanation.
When I'm with my grandsons, I look on the bright side more often than not. Perhaps that's because all things are indeed brighter when we're together, regardless of the side one may look at.
When I'm with my grandsons, I cook more often, and usually without complaining—even if they complain about what I've set before them, as finicky kiddos often do.
When I'm with my grandsons, I do more crafting and more creating.
I do more reading, too—albeit from books with far more pictures than those I typically read on my own.
When I'm with my grandsons, I do more hugging of little bodies and kissing of little heads.
And I don't sigh heavily or act like they're silly when they say they have owies here or there on those little bodies and little heads. Which is a far different response than when hearing the same from those with big bodies. Not a sympathetic nursemaid am I—except when I'm with my grandsons.
When I'm with my grandsons, I move more, sit less. I listen more, preach less. And I model using manners more in hopes of having to point out one's lack of manners less.
As I stop and look back at what I've written above, I see it's a rather lengthy list of ways my grandsons bring out my best. And as I consider it, I realize this: I should show the same face, have the same demeanor with others. Whether it's my husband, my daughters, distressing relatives, frustrating strangers. I should be my best with all, not just reserve the best of myself for the privileged two.
So I'll try. I'll try to be my best with and for my husband, my daughters, the world at large. I will do that, I will model that, for my grandsons.
In the end it's just one more way my grandsons bring out my best—or at least the hope and intention of me being exactly that.
Who brings out the best in you?