Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Switching Perspective

Yesterday was one of those days.

For me, that means I've been coughing for 2 weeks straight and was able to sleep maybe a total of 2 hours at night because I woke repeatedly in various panicked half dream/half awake states and my body refused to cooperate when I attempted to get out of bed in the morning.

I lamely told my kids to pull out the cereal for breakfast and that I'd give them all money for school lunches then went back to sleep.

About 5 minutes before the elementary kids left my 11-year-old came in to report that they had all eaten cereal AND toast, brushed their teeth AND hair and that I could continue to sleep knowing all was taken care of for the day. I thanked him and drifted back to sleep.

I didn't give it a second thought until I went to pick my kids up after school.

My 6th and 4th graders turned out just fine, but when I saw my sweet little 2nd grader approaching the car, I about died.

She had very obviously done her own hair that morning...


Initially I was mortified. Because I have a large family I am self conscious about what others think of my kids appearances and do my best to be sure that none of my kids look neglected or orphaned. I guess I'm trying to avoid the whole stigma of oh, his pants are too short because he only wears hand-me-downs or her hair is always a mess because her mom has no time to get to it with all of the other kids to tend to.

When we got home I decided to talk to her about it. I asked, "Princess, did you do your own hair this morning?" "YES!" she answered, excited. "I did the ponytail all by myself so you could sleep! Isn't that awesome?"

Her response caught me off guard. She was so pleased with herself and what a big girl she was to have taken care of her own hair. She saw this as a gift to me, allowing me more time to rest that morning. What could I do? Besides, I am always trying to foster independence in my children. So I decided to change MY attitude. Was this any worse than allowing my 5-year-old to wear his long-sleeved skeleton pajama top all summer because it made him happy? Not really. And it certainly didn't hurt anyone - unless you count my silly pride.

"That IS awesome," I told her. "And it was so nice to sleep in this morning. Thank you, sweetheart."

"You're welcome!" she answered, beaming, as she skipped down the hall. Then she turned and added, "I love you, Mom!"

Indeed.

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