This weekend I was running errands with my *almost* twelve-year-old daughter. We needed to return two chairs that didn’t work in our new house. As I was placing one in the shopping cart, I turned to find her trying her best to lift the other chair out of the back of my truck.
“Hey!” I said. “That’s heavy! Let me help you with that.”
“No, I got it,” she said firmly.
Her thin arms shook as she lifted it out. I let her try to put it into the shopping cart, but when it started rolling away, I had to jump in. She was pissed. But as we walked into the store, I watched her carefully, my only daughter and the youngest of my two kids. She tries so hard to be tough and has never cared for big shows of affection. When she was two, she would say “good-bye” when I tucked her in and roll over and go to sleep! It was disconcerting, to say the least, especially after raising her brother, who couldn’t get enough hugging and snuggling at bedtime. As she got older, she stopped hugging me back and would simply stand there with her arms limp by her side. I always accepted it as ‘how she was wired’ and let it go. Her father is the same way. I chalked it up to genetics and didn’t want to try to change her or make her uncomfortable.
I went to dinner last night with my kids, ages 11 and 13. At the end of our meal, the waitress, a twenty-something girl, handed me our leftovers and my receipt. When I retrieved my credit card, I found a note tucked into the bill holder. It read: “Thank you so much, you have the nicest, most polite kids. Please enjoy dessert on me. Candace.” In our leftover bag was a box with two giant slices of chocolate cake. I shared the note with my kids and told them “Great job guys!” They just asked when they could have their cake. LOL
I can’t tell you how much this simple act of kindness meant to me. For a girl of this age – after her tip had already been received – to take the time to write this note, make this gesture, made my weekend. I have the BEST kids, of course, so I don’t need notes from strangers to point this out to me. Yes, they get on my nerves and do dopey stuff as kids do, but they are awesome people and I am so lucky to be their mom. So it’s a terrific feeling when others notice how special they are too. It makes me feel like no matter how many other things I f*ck up, at least I’m doing this one thing right (mostly), although I’m sure their shrink will tell me otherwise 20 years from now. 🙂