Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cut it Out

On our street there are ten kids in elementary school and each morning-- at the bus stop-- they attempt to jam two hours' worth of activities and mini-dramas into ten minutes.

I am often the only parent at the bus stop in the morning (don't get me started).  So, usually, my role is equal parts referee, town crier ("CAR!"), and volume modulator.

Yesterday morning, the kids were playing some hybrid of tag and sheer physical intimidation that had my daughter using me and our dog as cover/base.  I was talking to another parent but took a moment to point out the leash to my daughter and how she couldn't run through it.  Can you see where this is going?

Sure enough, her brother came running at her and she took off-- tripping over that same leash and hurtling herself face first (or so I feared) onto our bumpy road.

After helping her up and ascertaining that the worst of her injuries was a scraped up knee, I lit into her for not listening to me.  Didn't I just say not to run through there?  That the leash would trip you?

Nice, huh?  And I couldn't let it go.  It was like there were two of me:  the chastiser, finding 50 different ways to say "I told you so" to a crying seven year old; and the loving, soothing mom shooting the chastiser the death glare.

When I went into the school at 9:30 for a meeting, I stopped in at the nurse's office to make sure my daughter had gone in to have her cut cleaned up.  I'm fairly friendly with the nurse so, while I was there, I confessed to her my shame over my reaction at the bus stop.

To my surprise she commended me for how nice I was before yelling.  With her kids, she said, she always jumps immediately to "What were you thinking?!!!" without even stopping to brush off the dirt.

She said the yelling is the release after the fear for their safety and that it actually shows how much we really care.  It comes from love.

That's her story and I'm sticking to it.

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