The Brains of the Family

Here’s where I literally had to bite my tongue and concentrate very hard on cleaning my contacts.

“Joaquin, people are smart in all different kinds of ways.  There are some things that I know how to do better than Mommy does, and so she asks for help because I can help her.  But there are lots of things Mommy is better at, and then I ask for her help.  Understand?”

Joaquin must have nodded, because I could hear Ken gently continue.  “Later on today, you need to apologize to your mommy, because even though you didn’t mean to hurt her feelings, that’s what your words did.”  Sniffling and whimpering ensued, so I turned the water on to try and let the boy save face.

Later that day, he attempted something that I think was meant to be an apology, and I accepted it.  By Saturday, the incident had been forgotten.

Or so I thought.

While we were out running some errands, Ken ran into the grocery store for a few items, and the rest of us waited in the car.  As I flipped through the radio stations, I could hear Joaquin’s voice from the seat behind me.

“Mommy?  Do you know why we all like you?”  he asked.   I stopped channel surfing.  My sweetheart of a boy was back!  He was going to come out with the sort of compliment only a small boy can pay his mother!  The kind to fill a heart to overflowing!  The kind that makes all the trials of motherhood utterly and completely worth it!

I couldn’t wait.

“No, Joaquin.  Why do you all like me?”

The answer?

A shrug and a disinterested voice, “Yeah.  I don’t know either.”

Thanks, ladykiller.  It’s moments like that which make the whole motherhood gig totally worth it.

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Cari Donaldson


Cari Donaldson lives on a New England farm with her high school sweetheart, their six kids, and a menagerie of animals of varying usefulness. She is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and has a weekly podcast about homesteading at

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  • Sarah Mae

    I love your children, I can’t wait till I am less poor and we can come see them. 🙂 I love you guys!

  • I’m suuuuuuuure what he meant is that they all love you SO much and for SO many multi-faceted reasons that he is unable to pinpoint just one specific reason that they all love you so much.  Yes.  I’m certain that’s what he meant.

  • Lisa S

    I. Cannot. Stop. Laughing. 

    Your life is that of sitcom. Our poor kids!!

  • Another awesome Donaldson story! I sincerely hope you are saving all of these to show the grandkids!

  • Mdonald811

    Sometimes, it is best to not question their comments.  sometimes, it only makes things worse.  You do know how much they all love you and that has to be enough when they have trouble expressing it.

  • Judy

    We all love you because you are funny,witty, compassionate,loving, and strong…that is what Joaquin wanted to say…

  • Marsch79

    You need to remember he said, “Do you know why we al like you?” and he meant it.  The story is still funny, though.  He’ll figure it all out one day!

  • And once again, you don’t have the answer!  🙂  Ask Daddy.  I’m sure HE knows!

  • idea

    If he were to inherently prefer men over women would you allow him to be himself fully and love him unconditionally? Without discrimination or attempts to mold him into the exact son / boy / man of your image?   

  • Dear Idea,
    I’m not sure what you mean by “inherently preferring men over women”, or how it pertains to this particular story.  This story was an example of 1. me being cranky and short tempered  and 2.  my son demonstrating a “you’re not smart enough to fix it, why try?” attitude.

    Neither are productive, and both should be corrected.