Friday, January 20, 2012

There's Always time to "be nice"

There's a well-known book, or is it an embroidered pillow case, that famously states, "I want to be the person my dog thinks I am." Well, if I look at *me* from his perspective, I don't really think I should aspire to be "that" person. From where he sits and judges, I know he believes I can be much better. I ignore his accusatory look  as I eat yet another snack.  His face has that unspoken question, "Hey, why do I only get food morning and night?" I am the person who scolds him when he awakens me with his continual OCD licking fetish. I am the ogress who shoves medicine down his gullet, and the one who recently delivered him to the vet for surgery. My standing in Darby's eyes is not too high these days.

And, after this morning, I think I've tumbled from the Mom pedestal, too, as my darling daughter thrust yet another humbling, life lesson upon my unwilling soul early this morning.

(Before we go any further, I must clear up this misconception that Hannah is thoroughly "good." She is definitely NOT perfect, just like the rest of us. For goodness sake, I just told you that after eight years of formal education, she is still nearly incapable of writing her name on the top of school papers. We argue, or rather "heatedly discuss," many topics. But just as humans are prone to apple-polishing and bragging, I usually only tell you the good things.)

Hannah used to say to me, "I want to be just like you when I grow up." Sure, I have a few good qualities. I think there are ...three. Yeah, that's right. After this morning's life lesson, I'm going to embroider a pillowcase that says, "I want to be like my daughter when I grow up."

Cue: this morning. As usual, we were running late for one of her numerous oh-dark-thirty extracurricular activities, because I seem to lack the be-on-time gene.

It was a frigidly cold morning, so Hannah waited in the warm car with me until I could deliver her to the front door of the school. We inched along behind other parents who were dropping off their kids. I grumbled under my breath, as a boy in the car in front of us searched for something in the trunk.  He was holding us up! Eventually, the boy stepped away and his dad drove ahead.

As I pulled forward, Hannah said, "Stop," but I didn't pay any attention because I was still trying to save her five steps and frostbite. I thought she just wanted to get out of the car sooner. As she leaped from the car, she threw me a mild look of disdain over her shoulder, and turned to walk in the opposite direction from the school entrance.

I stopped her to ask, "What are you doing???" I pointed to the school.

She replied, "That boy dropped one of his shoes on the sidewalk and he didn't realize it. I'm walking back to grab it, and then I'll run into school and give it to him."

I looked at the dropsy boy who had just put his hand on the door. "Why don't you yell to him that he dropped it and he can run back and pick it up?"

And, then, I uttered those words reminiscent of the scariest Tiger Mom, "You don't have time to "be nice!"

Wow, did I say that? "You don't have time to be nice??"

Yeah, I sure did, and I am filled with shame. But, she was going to be late for...Comedy Academy. (not school)

Hannah, to her credit, just looked at me and shook her head in disappointment. She couldn't believe I'd failed to engage my filter, either.

She jogged back, retrieved the boy's shoe, and then ran ahead and gave it to him. He smiled with gratitude at my loving, KIND, and sweet daughter, and I felt exactly like hot excrement.

When I say that Hannah is still teaching me to be a better person, I am not kidding, and I'm certainly not embellishing.

Today's life lesson for those of you who may have missed it..."There's always time to be nice."

I might just go get a treat for Darby.