Side Smirk Logic

“I bet you’ll enjoy your quiet time”, she said from the back seat of the car, “you know, without us there”.

I did have my morning (all three hours that were left) all planned out with things I could get done around the house and done for me, but there was a touch of sadness in her voice. 

Confirmation of that thought came with her next sentence, “I bet you won’t even miss us”.

I quickly reassured her of her falsehood and she quickly smiled in a way that let me know she was workin' me a little.  Even then, it was kind of hard to shake: am I too obviously displaying my need for quiet time to my kids?  Do I take it a little too far, my need for space at times, my need for quiet at times, my need for “me” time?

**

I came to the same stretch of road today, that we were on Monday when her words hit me sideways. And it was a reminder of sorts to really soak her up.  We parked and got out of the car, and I reached for her hand; she took it so naturally it made me smile.  She doesn’t know yet, to be embarrassed of her Mama.  She wanted to wear her glasses today, ones she got from her cousins birthday, that were just rims with decorative tape to the middle. While I was slightly worried they might be a distraction in class, I felt a bigger urge to support it.  We turned the corner and I kissed her hand, almost overwhelmed with a need to show her just how much I loved her.  

“I bet some of the kids laugh at me”, she said.  “Oh yeah??” I asked, buying time for a more inspirational response to hit me.  She was not comforted by the you-should-never-let-anyone-else’s-opinion-make-you-feel-down-about-yourself schpeal.  [Why can’t it be that easy??]  She gave me an “okay”.  She perked up, however, at the you-might-inspire-someone-else-who-is-afraid-to-try-something-new schpeal.  A more convincing “okay!”, along with a skip in her step, gave purpose to that unsure urge I had earlier in letting her wear the glasses.  

I saw her resist the inclination to take her glasses off when her teacher greeted her with a big smile and “Hello!”. 

I kissed her before leaving her to stand in line with her classmates, who were distracting her from my “goodbye” with questions about her new accessory.  Halfway to the gate I heard a “BYE, MOM!”, being yelled by the brave girl in glasses waving her arm so I could see her.  

**

I drove home with less heaviness than I had on Monday; it felt good not to question myself.  She had been right, I do enjoy my quiet time, my me time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I enjoy my time with them.  To have one doesn’t have to exclude the other, contrary to my 5 year old’s side-smirk-logic.  After all, our happiness and self-worth as parents cannot rely solely on our relationships with our kids; that is too big a burden for them to carry.  Her happiness and self-worth in lens-less glasses cannot rely solely on the reactions of her friends.  If happiness and self-worth means most when it comes from oneself, then spending a little time with him/her might be worth the while, no?  The bigger and more complex task at hand is in helping our children to recognize and foster their own sense of true inner happiness and self-worth.   


 © Houseman 2013