Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let me count the ways....

This afternoon, soon after getting off the bus, L sat down beside me on the couch and leaned over and whispered in my ear:

"Tanner told me he loved me today."

I smiled and looked at her and actually THOUGHT before I spoke.

(Quite a concept, huh?)

I didn't want to "ooh and aahhh" and get all girly and excited.

She is 7.

"Boyfriend" at this age is a word. So is "love". I didn't want to over-react and chastise or criticize her for having a 'boyfriend', although she knows that I have told her that "at 7, 'we' don't have boyfriends...". She knows it is what it is. No need to drive home the point.

It isn't like she is sneaking out of her room at night, taking her fake I.D. and stealing our car to ride into town, population 780....just to find that everything closed at 10:00 p.m. and her 'boyfriend' was in bed at 8:00 p.m. so he could be rested up for school, and 2nd grade, the next day.

So, I thought I would take the opportunity to share my thoughts with her.....because I was SO glad she wanted to share with me.

I asked her how it made her feel that Tanner had said that. She said she "didn't know."

That sounds about right. Again, she IS 7.

I then told her that even though Tanner had no idea what it was to "love" a girl at 7, I am sure that it felt good that he thought enough of her to vocalize it....in front of others. I then told her I wasn't surprised that he said it.

She said, "You're not?"

I told her that I wasn't surprised that a classmate "loved" her because there were SO many reasons I loved her.

She said, "What are they?"

(She has heard the reasons I love her over and over again, but she never tires of hearing them. Would you?)

And, so, I started naming them.

"You're funny, smart, determined, have common sense beyond your years, you keep a level head, and are fair and thoughtful. You are kind, sweet, have great sense of humor and an understanding of human nature that, more often than not, surpasses my own."

(She smiled and her eyes twinkled.)

I used one instance as an example. She and her best friend, as best friends sometimes do, had a turbulent period at the beginning of the year. It's 2nd grade. Drama happens.

It unfolded like this:

One day she came home and told me that her BFF said that she (L) was annoying. Being the ever mature mother, I asked her if she said, "oh yeah? Well, you annoy me, too, sometimes!"

She looked at me and said, "No. I told her I still loved her."

Yeah. Yet another time when I have been taught a lesson by my child.

The VERY next day:

A little girl in her class - we will call her 'A' - has had a love/hate relationship with L since preschool. Her attitude towards L is dependent on what other kids are around. L has always invited A to her birthday parties and included her in everything that she does.

She regards A as a friend, although I know first hand that this girl has NOT treated L as such.

In fact, on a regular basis she makes fun of her. Once it was because L was "happy all the time and hugged 'everybody'".

Still, on that particular day, my daughter came home and told me that she sure was hot at recess and didn't need such a warm coat that day because it wasn't that cold.

I knew that this was leading somewhere because 1) this statement was out of the blue and 2) it WAS that cold. I asked her what made her think of this and she told me that A only had a little jacket to wear outside and that she was cold. L said that since she was "so hot", she gave her coat to A and wore A's jacket instead.

I knew her reaction was the best, most Christian response she could have... I was proud-and ashamed. I don't know if I would have the same reaction, although I should.

So, as I recounted different ways in which L was, indeed, lovable, I felt so proud that somehow, some way, this girl was mine. As I wrapped up my list, I concluded with, ".....and you are kind to everyone."

Before the warm fuzzies could fully envelope me, I noticed her look at me.

I said, "You are nice to everyone aren't you? That is how I see you and your teachers seem to think the same"

She said to me, "yeah, I am nice to everyone.....even people who are mean to me...but when they are mean I show them an angry, mysterious face."

And with that she showed me an example of her 'angry, mysterious face' and then hopped off the couch and went on her way.

I love her angry, mysterious face.

I guess that is one more thing to add to my list.

After taking this picture (with my cell phone) she burst into giggles and went about her business.

This is the 'angry, mysterious face'.

Blank? Yes.

Hard to read? Yes.

Mysterious? Maybe.

Angry? I think she could do better.

Oh how I love thee....


Manda said...

my husband says ive mastered "the look"..i could give her lessons if you want;) kim, if it makes you feel any better, she makes me feel guilty as well...i wish i could be "nice to everyone"

Amy said...

What a wonderful girl you have raised. You and Steven should be very proud of her. It is soooo hard to treat people nicely when they are being mean to you, yet her is this little girl (in my eyes, I know she is in the 2nd grade) who can teach us all a leason on how to treat others. Great job to all of you!!!