As I mentioned in an earlier post, part of our Christmas celebrating this year was a potluck at CrossFit. Maggie had a huge pinata for the children to take whacks at. She and Adrienne lined the children up by age, Tim took the rope to move the pinata up and down for the children, and Maggie helped the smaller children wield the weighted PVC pipe that was the stick of doom.
There were 10 or so children in line in front of Zoe, and the pinata had not given up anything until the boy right in front of Zoe. He gave it a whack, and two mini-candy bars fell out. He didn’t notice them, and ran to his place at the end of the line to await his next turn. Zoe stepped forward, in her green velvet dress, purple winter boots, and combed copper hair, picked up the candy bars, skipped around the line up to the boy, explained to him that the candy bars were his, handed them to him, and skipped her way back up to Ms. Maggie and the whacking stick.
The “return the candy” scenario was played out with the entire room of adults watching in silence. As our copper head skipped back to the front of the line, there was a collective, “aaawwwww” and various, “That’s so sweet.” “That was so kind.” Tim, the pinata rope holder, turned to me and said, “Good job, Mom.”
That gave me pause. Did/do I deserve praise about how my children act? Especially an entirely self-motivated, altruistic act such as Zoe displayed.
We, Buds and I, have been blessed with two extremely, exceptionally laid-back, relaxed, loving, friendly children. The third one is all of those things, too, most of the time, but she is the spice in the chili that keeps our little family stew pot bubbling. Sometimes exhausting and exasperating, but never boring, and I wouldn’t change her for a million…anything. Now, this spicy one, she’s not spicy in public. She still wants to be with at least one parent at all times, except for a few select playdate options.
My point is, the children who chose us as their parents fit into our life excessively well. It might have worked out differently. We certainly all know parents and children who do not mesh well. It’s one of the side benefits that I appreciate about homeschooling: I love being with these people.
So what about those compliments on Zoe’s behavior that night…
Compliments on her gorgeous copper hair, I’m all over that. If someone compliments her hair, even to her, I’ll thank them. By golly, that is all me. I made that hair! (Okay, Buds has a little red hair when he grows out his goatee, but vast majority is all me.)
But the kindness of their spirits, the tenderness of their hearts? Certainly the life we have chosen to live with them has allowed them to develop and grow in that sweet-tempered direction. I’m grateful that they aren’t growing up in a household with anger and yelling and venom. Grateful that they don’t yet even understand that those kinds of households exist.
Still and all, they are who they are. I’ve nurtured it, we’ve nurtured it, but we didn’t make it. We are just allowed to bask in it.