There are lots of things I don't get right about mothering. Some of it is a reaction to my own childhood (I will never ever force my child to eat). Some of it is because I'm more suited to being a slacker mom than a helicopter mom. I'm not beating myself up about it here, it is what it is.
But every now and then I get something right. And what I love about getting something right is that instant reward you see in your child's eyes.
Today is one of L~'s best friend's birthdays. Her name is Alisa. And I love this girl. There are weeks and weekends in which she practically lives at my house (another story for another day). Not only is she a lot of fun, but when L~ is a real snot, Alisa always says to her "Don't treat your mom like that." She's a year younger than L~, so I have a lot of respect for her standing up for me like that.
This morning L~ came in and woke me up (usually I would have been first up, but I stayed up too late last night reading about my new love--forensic anthropology). She'd had good intentions to get Alisa some balloons for her birthday and take them to school (not allowed, but Shhhh. Don't tell.). I was half asleep and let her work out her own dilemma and go back to her room, disappointed, to get ready.
And then I thought about what a good friend Alisa is and I figured I had just enough time to run L~ to Macey's for balloons and drop her off at school. I knew it would mean a lot to L~ to be able to do something like that and thoughtfulness is something I want to encourage in my kids.
I really wanted to stay in bed, so I almost didn't do it.
But I willed myself to full consciousness and forced myself get up and find L~ to suggest my idea.
And there it was. That brief but rewarding sparkle in her eyes, where just for a moment, she perceived and registered the love behind my offer.
"Thank you," she said.
And she meant it.
I meant it, too.