Monday, May 14, 2018

A Mother's Day Gift

Okay Google suggested a mall for us to go to on Sunday for a bit of a stroll. The weather here has been grey and drizzling for most of the weekend, clearing up yesterday afternoon in time to let us know that the work week would be beautiful. We arrived, parked and headed in. The place was packed. After a bit of pushing up and down long ramps that connected the various parts of the mall we decided to go for lunch.

The food court was packed. In fact we only got seats because a young family, seeing me looking around, got up and gave us their table. I knew they were doing this for me, a nice gesture to the man int he wheelchair, but sometimes I'll take the advantage. We tucked into the table then tucked into our meals and chatted about the day.

When we were done the place was still hopping, lots of mothers with their kids, lots of laughing, it was a nice atmosphere. Joe got up to put our tray away and appeared beside me was a mother and her daughter, who may have been 14, and whose shyness was clearly evident. They were carrying trays and I was about to offer the table when mom's finger shot out shushing me. Mother's probably never lose that skill.

I waited for a second when her daughter gathered up her courage and said to me, "Are you finished with the table," it sounded practiced but it also sounded like a voice that was growing right along with her. I told her that the table would be free and yes of course they could have it. Her face burst into a big smile and said thank you.

I don't think that she was smiling as much because of the table itself but that she had managed to push through her shyness and ask for it. I saw mom watching her with incredible pride.

Who knows what the back story is and maybe it matters less than the fact that this mom, right now, is teaching her daughter to speak up, to speak out, to use her voice. I glanced back at them and I saw mom with her hand over her daughters and leaned in, speaking to her. I don't know what she was saying but I'm guessing 'proud' was one of the words.

1 comment:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

From the mom side, I can tell you this is hard - and yet you do it, over and over, gently, in the background, for years.

Then you find they can handle their own lives, and you've finished your job.

I officially stopped nagging at 25 - I formally told each kid to ask for advice if they wanted my opinion. It has worked well. It took to 25 because they needed to be mostly out of school, but I was reducing my advice footprint each time I possibly could so 25 was just a formality.

Some parents never let go. Some children need support a lot longer. But you do your kids a disservice if they CAN but you won't LET them. No. You do them real damage.