Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Do the JIBs have a sappiest post ever award? Because if so, I'm going to nominate this post. It's very sappy. But it is also very true.
Ann has had a little red bowl for most of the time she's been eating real food. In the classic style of the unique personalities of my kids, Andy destroyed in mere moments what Ann kept in great condition for years.
Unfortunately, while Ann was at preschool today, Andy was eating some dry Cheerios put of the red bowl. Between my own fixation on Cheerios lately, and his, I can't keep enough of them around, even pre-Pesach.
Andy dropped the bowl, and the nature of the piece that cracked off and the resulting sharpness meant that the only option was to throw away the red bowl.
Knowing that Ann is a pensive kid who does well when things are explained to her, I saved the bowl and the shard for a post-preschool discussion. With one significant deviation from the truth.
Ann has seen quite a few of her things get ruined by Andy. Torn book pages and demolished projects are something I do my best to prevent, but sometimes they're among the inevitable little brother nuisances. I decided to cover for Andy this time.
Instead of telling Ann that Andy broke the bowl (by accident) I sat her down, showed her the two pieces it had become, and explained that while I was washing the dishes, it slipped from my hands and broke. And that I'm so sorry, but we're going to have to thank it for being a great bowl, and say goodbye to it.
Ann had some questions about when and how it had happened, but overall, she was very calm about it, and less emotional than I'd worried she would be. I asked Ann if she forgave me for what had happened to her little red bowl, and she told me, after a moment, that she did. No tears, just a little confusion, and a glimpse into that world that exists here when she's not home.
But the essential nugget from this whole exchange came a couple of minutes afterward.
Ann looked at me with those eyes that probably take up at least half her face and said, "Do you forgive ME, Mommy?"
"Forgive you for what?"
"For when I sometimes break YOUR things or don't do the right thing."
Wow. Are you really three-and-a-half?
Because Ann is little, she asked her question with an honest, innocent seriousness. Not the bargaining, rude, self-righteousness I can probably expect in about ten years.
"Yes, Ann. I do forgive you. And I'm sorry that I get upset about the things you do sometimes."
We talked for a minute about how things like bowls and books and toys and papers are nice, but they aren't the most important part of our life, because they are just things. And that the main thing that we care about is each other.
By now most of my readers are either smiling tenderly or throwing up. Hopefully it's the former. For the latter group: How is Ann going to recognize those sappy but true cliches in life if she's never heard them before?