Ever have that moment when you feel validated for the job you’re doing as a parent?
Let’s face it, those moments can be few and far between, but this past weekend, I experienced one of them.
I’m a stickler with my daughter about thankfulness about appreciating what she has; as an only child in our family and the only grandchild on my husband’s side, she doesn’t have to hear “no” often and is gifted a lot of nice things. I’ve come to terms with the fact that she will be “spoiled” with lots of “things” but I never want her to “act spoiled,” as we’ve come to associate a certain type of behavior with that word. Please, thank you, and sincerity to go along with it are all important to me. Most times the words are said after some prompting from her parents, but that’s okay; she’s a toddler and she’s learning. She does seem to understand what the words mean, even if she doesn’t yet always remember to use them.
Anyway, this past Sunday our family of three sat down to a meal. Not exactly Easter Sunday dinner, if you will, since we weren’t necessarily celebrating, but I did take more time to prepare the meal than I’m able to during the week. By the time the food was ready, my daughter was upset that we wouldn’t cave to yet another helping of chocolate (even without a “formal” Easter celebration we did do an egg hunt with candy). She was being stubborn and didn’t want to sit with her dad and me to eat. Instead she chose to tantrum at our feet under the dining table. We did our best to ignore her screams (as best as one can shut out the screams of an obstinate toddler) so as not to validate the tantrum, and eventually she gave in and sat with us.
We quietly accepted her at the table without saying anything about her behavior, and then it happened – my daughter said, unprompted and after several bites of ham, “I’m sorry, mommy, for yelling.”
My husband and I just looked at each other, still without a word, equally surprised and pleased that she came out with this apology on her own. We then motionlessly high fived each other and patted ourselves on the back.
Because when those moments happen, and you feel validated in the choices you’re making when raising your child, you deserve a quiet little celebration.