Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Your child is lovely. You're doing a good job.

“Is that your daughter over there, in the skirt?”

I could see the fear and embarrassment sweep across her face - oh no, what did she do? I saw her glance at my son to see if he was crying or recovering from whatever horrendous thing her daughter had done to him. It had to have been bad, after all, if I was to go out of my way to find her mother and tell her about the incident - something she needed to be punished for, surely.

I had been helping Uriah climb up a rock wall while wearing Ezra, the two combined equalling 62 pounds, so it was no easy feat, and I was concentrating on not letting Uriah fall and keeping Ezra’s grabby hands from my hair. The one time I forget to put a pony tail holder around my wrist. 

She climbed over to us, fast, skinny little thing, in a little bit of a show off manner, because, as she soon told me, she was almost eight and she found climbing to be very easy. 

She kept a polite distance but continued to climb around us, chatting all the while, and I continued to pay only half attention until she asked me how old my son was. I said he had just turned three. Uriah lit up a little at the mention of his recent birthday and stood a little taller as if to prove it was true, he really was three now. She stopped, got down from the bars and looked thoughtfully at him, smiling. “I might have guessed that. I can see it in his eyes. But my little brother is three and I know he can’t climb like your son. He’s doing so well.” 

I could have cried at the compliment. It was just so sweet and sincere and thoughtful and she wasn’t even eight…! She continued to talk and ask questions, complimenting Ezra’s bow and sweet smile, but she had my full attention now and Uriah was starting to swoon, too. She was so kind and polite and well mannered and I was truly impressed with her. Almost eight is a hard age, a weird age if I remember correctly (or was it just me?) and I found myself hoping that my children resemble her as they grow - a little silly and still very much a child, but polite, kind and thoughtful. 

I enjoyed our conversation so much that I felt the need to pass that on to her mother, who I had seen eyeing her daughter from the other end of the playground while entertaining her son in the sand pit. 

As I saw her expression turn immediately to concern, I placed my hand on her shoulder and quickly corrected her. I explained that her daughter had been lovely, so sweet to my son and I, and I just couldn’t leave the park without her knowing. 

The mother began to tear up. 

It surprised me at first, but then I thought - I’ve surprised her. Of course her first reaction was fear, defense - us moms are so quick to judge, so quick to tattle. I’m sure her daughter was just as lovely to many other parents and kids on that playground that night but no one thinks to share that. Why? It should be said more often. Your child is lovely. You’re doing a good job.

I began to tear up at the sight of her wet cheeks. I just couldn’t help myself! She profusely thanked me for coming over and telling her. It wasn’t something I had to do and wasn’t something that is done often, but she needed to hear that about her daughter. My compliment had made her happy and proud, as she should be, and as should be my role as a fellow mother. It is our job, in this harsh, busy world, to spread love and lift each other up. It took two minutes of my time but it made her day. (I probably got her daughter an extra cookie at dessert time, too.)

So you. You, at the park with the almost eight year old daughter or the three year old climbing the rock wall or the two year old screaming as he runs across the bridge, the ten year old in the swing claiming he has touched the sky… Your child is lovely. You’re doing a good job. 

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