Friday, October 28, 2011

To Love a Child

For Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one's parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child. - Alice Miller

After a full day at work I headed to my daughter’s school to pick her up from play practice. Not seeing her in the parking lot, I quickly called her asking her where she was, only to discover a text message sent two hours earlier that I hadn’t been alerted to before opening my cell phone. Practice would not be getting out for another 75 minutes.

I knew I was overtired when I felt tears come to my eyes. I had so wanted to pick her up at 4:15pm, head home, and prepare her supper before taking her to her dance class at 6:00pm. But it was really no big deal. I just needed to drive home then head out an hour later to get there at the right time. Emma, receiving my phone message, called me back and was apologetic but there was no reason for her to be. She had done the right thing in texting me the new dismissal time two hours earlier; technology had simply failed me.

Returning at 6:00pm she and her best bud Savannah jumped in the car. We dropped off Savannah and rushed home. I told Emma to grab her dance gear and said I’d wait in the car. I tilted my seat back and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath and came very close to falling asleep, but before I knew it, my daughter was back in the car with her banana and her dance bag. Off we went to make it to her dance lesson 20 minutes away.

Arriving back at home I began to make us all a good meal for our dinner. Perhaps dinner hadn’t been prepared in time for Emma to eat before she was off to dance lessons, but I wanted her to return to a warm meal afterwards. So I found the ingredients for spinach ricotta stuffed shells and mixed up the filling adding extra garlic and parmesan cheese. I popped the shells into the oven and spying some ripe bananas on the cupboard I impulsively decided to make a double batch of banana bread too. Within the hour the house smelled delicious. Saving Emma plenty for her own dinner plate when she’d return home at 8:30pm, the rest of us filled our bowls.

When I was a teenager, I rarely gave any thought to the fact that my parents were constantly giving me rides to where I needed to be. I took for granted all the great lunches and dinners my Mom would fix. As a parent now, I sometimes grow weary of playing taxi and I sometimes question my stamina after working from 7:00am until 3:00pm. Most days all I want to do is come home and take a nap. But there is nothing more important to me in this life than being a good mom. Over the span of their lives there are hundreds of ways we show our children we love them, but being there for them when they need us to be, whether it’s now or 75 minutes from now, and making sure they are well nourished in mind, body, and soul...well, those are the most meaningful and sustaining displays of our love.

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