There is nothing more gratifying for a parent than when other adults compliment their kids. Yea me! I'm doing something right! When you spend all that time teaching "please," "thank you," "may I," "excuse me," and more time on offering someone your seat, addressing an adult with respect, etc., it's nice to know that your kids are actually doing those things out in public.
*For those friends that are reading this because they found it through the Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid! Facebook page or blog, please forgive me. I'm about to brag about my perfect kid. Please don't flog me or take away my membership card in The Movement of Imperfection club. Sometimes it is nice to wade in the perfect waters for just a few moments. ;-)
I've had some really great moments in the past few weeks that are so gratifying, they must be shared. You see, while K has enough charm to melt the heart of Jack Frost, S is more reserved, so people don't always see her warmth right away. She needs to take time to get comfortable, time to get to know someone, before she will let you in. Once she's comfortable, though, she is genuinely kind and thoughtful.
Exhibit A: S is participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life this year. After sending out the call for donations via my Facebook page, she immediately got a donation. When I told her about it, the very first thing she said was, "Wow! That's so great! I need to send a thank-you card." Hallelujah! She got there on her own and I didn't have to suggest that she send the thank-you note.
Exhibit B: Dropping S off at school late one day, due to a dental appointment, and the principal is in the office. First, he is concerned because she is late and wants to make sure she is okay. Once assured that it was only a dental appointment, he turns to me and says, "You have a great girl here. She is just so sweet and has such great manners. She's just great! Do you have any more like her?" This is followed by all the ladies in the office chiming in with their agreement and suggesting that they won't want her to leave after her 8th grade year next year, so maybe they could arrange to flunk her so she could stay. Well, no thanks on the flunking, but how great is it to know that S is leaving behind such a positive impression of herself? It's pretty great!
Exhibit C: S & K were riding bikes over the weekend and went to visit some friends in the neighborhood. These friends have adult children, not kids for S & K to play with, but these friends have always been kind and loving to my girls. I received a text from my friend saying, "...can't tell you how much I enjoyed them! Reminded me of our girls in their younger days and your kids have the best manners!"
Exhibit D (and yes, my imperfect friends, I am almost done): S noticed a new girl at school last week. She didn't hesitate to introduce herself and invite the new girl to have lunch with her and her friends. She wanted to make sure that the new girl met some nice people and didn't get into the "mean girls" crowd. While some of her other friends were more skeptical of reaching out to the new girl, she didn't even think twice. This may be the thing that makes me most proud of her. I didn't necessarily realize it, but I do think that having an extra-special sister has inherently taught S to give people a chance, don't judge quickly, and what you see is not always what you get.
It is one of my fondest wishes that she keeps that quality her whole life. I believe that having an extra-special kid in the family has taught us all to be more patient, more forgiving, more understanding, and far less quick to judge. Are we perfect at that all the time? Of course not, but when I see my girls exhibiting these qualities, I know that they will be well equipped with compassionate hearts to make the world around them better, even if in small ways.