My daughter is delightful, beautiful and dutiful. She is charismatic, energetic and dynamic. She is everything I imagined she would be and much, much more. But she is just 6 years old and has a lifetime of lessons and laughs and tears to experience. Yesterday, she received her first lesson in being singled out in the classroom for being disruptive.
I came home from work in a mad rush to get homework done, dinner cooked and served before driving my husband to the airport. As I approached the door, my daughter was behind the glass with a letter in hand and tears streaming down her face. Yikes! I could see that my afternoon plans would need to make room for an unexpected situation. Through the tears and sobs, dogs barking and my son’s painfully detailed account of his play date with his best buds, I was able to ascertain that my daughter was laughing and giggling disruptively during a school assembly over a funny boy and was reprimanded when back at the classroom.
Initial thought…..really not a big deal at all. Been there. Done that (circa 1981, 1st grade, Ali and I giggling in the chapel insistently….Sister 5 teeth Gerard praying for our sinned souls) but it quickly dawned on me that this was a significant moment. I am her mother. It’s my job to explain to her that her actions disappointed not only her teacher but me as well. I am sure whatever was hilarious was truly hilarious but it was disrespectful to those leading the assembly. She seemed to comprehend the message I was trying to convey and she accepted her punishment with grace.
Later that evening while driving home alone from the airport, it was becoming clear that like my growing daughter, our relationship was growing and changing too. It made me think of a quote I came across back in college in one of my literature classes. “A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” The quote didn’t quite make sense back then, having been just a daughter. Today, being both a daughter and a mother, the meaning is crystal clear.