I don't always ask the kids to set the table. I don't ask them to take out the trash. I don't have a chore list that they must check off every day or week. I don't hold back from doing things for them instead of helping them become more independent.
I don't expect them to be at the top of the class. I don't demand straight As. I don't ask them to read more minutes than the school's minimum. I don't make them do their homework before having screen time.
I don't speak enough Chinese to them. I don't enter them in music competitions. I don't always put them in summer enrichment camps outside of school.
I don't always have a great selection of clean, folded clothes for them to choose from each morning. I don't always turn in permission slips and school dues on time. I have even forgotten to pick the kids up on an early release day. I don't always empty out DD's Take Home folder and check her school work.
One day in late January, after DD's accordion folder was so overfilled with take-home work that I was embarrassed to look through it, I looked through it. I came across a worksheet that seemed like a New Year Resolution question/answer sheet. But instead of "resolutions," they were more fill-in-the-blanks for what one wants to do in different areas in 2014. Examples: A new skill I'd like to learn; A place I'd like to visit; A new food I'd like to try. It looked interesting, so I read on in detail.
And then I came to one that made my heart skip a beat. I had to read it again and again to make sure I was reading it right.
A person I hope to be more like:And her answer:
My mom because she's encouraging.I read it over and over to make sure that I read the prompt correctly and the answer correctly. I deciphered her irregular cursive strokes to make sure it said mom. And encouraging. And reread A person I hope to be more like.
Then this lump began to grow in my throat and my eyes started to blink faster.
This Johnny-come-lately mom had to tell her daughter how touched she was reading this response, um, only a few weeks late. Then this skeptical mom had to ask her daughter if she wrote that answer because she couldn't think of anyone else to write about.
DD was gracious enough not to be offended by that question.
Perhaps I seem a little too surprised and overjoyed to read something like this. It seemed sort of no-big-deal to DD. But I am a sentimental schmuck. And a MOM.
Encouraging. You know what else is encouraging? That DD's words have turned around to encourage me, a parent who seems to actually be doing something right.