So, I was kind of an asshole this morning. No reason to sugar coat it. And I feel bad about it now. Sort of.
We’ve got a BIG push in this house toward personal responsibility. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t held accountable for much as a kid (I didn’t even know how to do my own laundry when I left for college). Or maybe it’s because, as an addict, I refused to take any responsibility for the chaos that followed me everywhere (like Pig Pen in his cloud of dust).
But, by God, I’ve been determined since before she was born that this child of mine would be fierce, independent, and that she would take responsibility for herself.
Except that she’s, you know, SEVEN.
And she lives life with full on, knock-down-drag-out enthusiasm–which can make her forget mundane things like grabbing her clean capoeira uniform out of the drawer and putting it in her book bag. Which I’m gonna cop to being kind of annoyed by. Because, look, right now my house is in disarray. Lots of stuff is still in boxes. I feel disoriented and a bit anxious because I don’t feel settled. But I managed to pull my shit together enough to wash her capoeira uniform so it would be clean & ready to go for class today. Do I deserve a gold star? Yes. Yes, I do.
So, yeah, I was miffed when she told me she left it at home. And I told her, calmly, dispassionately, that she’d just have to live without it today because I wasn’t bringing it to her. But then shit really went off the rails when she said, “You’re acting like this is my fault. It’s not ALL my fault…”
Hold up, kid.
Who’s fault is it, EXACTLY?? I did my part. Washed? Check. Folded? Check. All you had to do was stick the uniform in your book bag. Did you do that? NO. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, friend.
Capoeira is part of the after school program, so the good folks there are used to kids forgetting their entire uniform, pieces of their uniform, etc… and they would still let Jane participate, albeit in her school jumper. Then something registered in the back of my brain, and I eyed Jane in the rearview mirror… “Did you put shorts on under your jumper today? Like I asked you to?”
Her little face fell. Both because she knew no one was going to let her turn cartwheels in a jumper with no shorts underneath AND because I’d specifically told her to put shorts on. And she did God-knows-what-else instead. She was probably applying (fake) nail polish to her dolls. Or building a fort out of twine and broken pencils. Or performing her own musical in her room. But she definitely was not putting on shorts, like she was told.
Let’s just say, at this point, some tears were shed. None of them mine.
Then I took a deep breath. And I realized things had gone too far. I’d fussed WAY too much over a forgotten uniform. I wracked my brain for how I could fix it without REALLY fixing it… because if you give this kid an inch, she will take a mile. So, tears or no tears, I couldn’t just cave. But I hated that she was so upset. That I had taken a teachable moment and used it against her. Then I had it…
“I’ll bring you your uniform, if you give me 5 bucks.”
“You’ll bring it to me?” she asked, incredulously.
“Yeah. For 5 bucks.”
And suddenly I was the hero again. The best mommy in the world. But I still felt shitty. Because I’d gotten too mad. Accused her of being irresponsible (she’s not). And, overall, just been kind of an asshole. About a uniform.
So, I apologized. And reminded her that everyone makes mistakes. And that we aren’t defined by them. She’s still a responsible kid, even if she forgot something one day.
And, I suppose, I’m still a good mom, even if I acted like an asshole on one random, rainy Thursday morning.
(By the way, I’m going to use that 5 bucks to buy a latte. In case you were wondering.)