As parents, we experience moments when we want to pat ourselves on the back because our child(ren) say or do something that clearly happened because of our influence, guidance or teaching. We're so proud that "the chip fell off the old block". Of course, the flip side of that is when my kid says the exact bad word that I yelled while driving or when they imitate my ugly meltdown episode. But that's whole other post.
The moments I want to bring up are the ones when our kids do something thoughtful and it makes us wonder, "Where the heck did they learn that from?" I'm talking about the times when their thought process is pure and unsolicited; independent of what any adult can teach them. In the following short stories I brag a lot about the thoughtfulness of my kids and there's no shame in that. Mainly because I really have nothing to do with it. But also, because this type of thoughtfulness is important to mention. The gestures are tiny but powerful.
Story #1. While we were at Harry Potter World in Orlando, my kids were excited to get some souvenirs. My mom was along for the ride; she only knew a minuscule amount about Harry Potter. She announced that they could pick one item out and she would pay for it. Apparently she enjoys being a grandmother because no parent in their right mind would ever announce that the moment they walked into the very first store of a theme park. My son knew for sure that he wanted a wand. Lola (translation: Filipino grandmother) bought my son an interactive, personal wand. A personal wand is made out of materials that represent and matches the owner's characteristics. Since the wand is interactive it could be used throughout HP World to perform spells in designated areas. On Day 2 of our theme park visit, my son woke up ready to buy another wand with his own money. This time, he wanted to buy a replica of a wand used by one of the characters in the book series. Throughout breakfast and on the ferry ride to the theme park he was having trouble trying to decide which character's wand was worthy enough to be his next purchase. After walking around the store and looking at all the characters' wands on his list, my son finally chose a wand. The price difference between a non-active wand and an interactive wand is about $4 so when I learned this, I asked the sales rep to upgrade to the interactive wand. While were in line to pay, my son pulled me aside and said, "Mama, I only want to get Professor McGonagall's non-active wand." I said, "Don't worry, I'll pay the $4 difference." And he said, "But I want the wand that Lola bought me to be the only wand that is special because I'll always think of her when I use it and if we get this interactive wand, it will make the wand Lola gave me less special." Be still my heart!
Story #2. On this same trip to Harry Potter World, my daughter thought about her friend Sofia who enjoys Harry Potter as much as she does and bought her some souvenirs. When we came home from the trip, my daughter wanted to ask Sofia to watch a play at the children's theater with us. I sent a text to Sofia's mom but I knew she was working the night shift and probably wouldn't see the text until the next day, which surprisingly (sarcastic) was the day of the play. So I told my daughter to ask Sofia to the play while they were at school. After school, I asked my daughter what Sofia said about going to the play. My daughter said, "Oh I didn't ask her because she was hanging out with Zoe." I thought it was sweet that my daughter did not to want to hurt Zoe's feelings. However my daughter continued and said, "Since Zoe is moving away for a year, I really wanted to make sure that Sofia hangs out with Zoe at school every moment she can. I didn't want to take time away from them playing together to ask Sofia to go to the play with me." I mean, you can't even make this stuff up!
Story #3. My daughter, who when packing for 4th grade sleep away camp last year, was refusing to bring the pajamas or the toiletry case that she received as party favors from a friend's birthday party. I was insisting on packing the pajamas because it would be cold up at camp and the pj's are really warm. She said, "Mama, there's a chance I may be in the same cabin as someone who was not invited to Lauren's birthday party and if they like my pajamas, they might ask where I got them. If I told them the truth it would hurt their feelings that they weren't invited to the party. And I don't want to have to lie." Oh sweet child of mine!
I'm always saying that thoughtfulness comes in many shapes and sizes. To me, these junior size moments are actually really HUGE moments. I'm fully aware that whether I intentionally try to raise thoughtful kids or not, my kids have a mind of their own. So even though I'd love to take credit for the examples in my short stories I can't. And that's ok with me because I'm proud that we are thoughtful in our own special ways. I'm pretty sure if I keep my eyes and ears open that I'll be able to collect a lot more short stories about my juniors. These are the thoughtful pinches that I will treasure forever.