Friday, September 25, 2009

The good and the sucky

Many people say my daughter is a "mini-me" of myself. Gee, could it possibly be the curls? Maybe. It's hard to see ourselves in other people, especially our children. When they are born we say 'she has my nose' or 'he has his chin', but now as first graders their personalities are complex and layered and life is more challenging and I am often left bewildered and taken by surprise. And, now with a school room full of twenty-one different personalities and temperaments, first grade presents all sorts of new emotions and opportunities for learning about dealing with them.

I feel like I've entered a new dimension of being a parent. As a toddler, it was a lot about keeping them safe and teaching them boundaries. As a six-year-old, it's more about life in the bigger world and all of it's endless challenges. It's sad to see their innocence lost a little bit every day, because, well, to be blunt, the world is full of people that suck. I won't even get into all the things that are awful right now in this country, and most of it stems from sucky people that are only in it for themselves. And, people might think that I suck for saying that other people suck. For me it's actually liberating to say that. I don't have to analyze why they are like that or what I did wrong - over think it as usual. If I realize that sometimes people just suck and there's nothing I can do about it, then I can let it go and focus more on being a good person so I can live with myself and keep stress at a minimum. Who knows why someone might crash into my car right in front of my house and not take responsibility by leaving a note? Maybe they were in a hurry to get home to their sick mother or they are scared because they don't have insurance because they got laid off a year ago and just lost their house...or maybe they just suck. Luckily, I have insurance and am thankful that they didn't crash into my house or my children.

So, when my daughter keeps getting upset because a boy in her class bothers her, my first instinct is to go up to that boy and say "LEAVE HER ALONE BACK OFF YOU BRUT!" to protect her and make everything okay. But, after thinking about it more, I realize that, while that might give me a split second of sheer satisfaction, I would miss an opportunity to teach her something about life. After all, if I'm upset with my boss my mommy isn't exactly going to show up and give him a piece of her mind. Instead I talk with my daughter about how to deal with this boy, or any other kid that is acting mean, like standing up for herself or just walking away. Maybe that kid sucks right now because his parents are divorcing or his older brother picks on him relentlessly or his diet is terrible...or he just sucks. There is nothing to be done about that and every class has a troubled kid or two. What matters is how my daughter deals with it - how she can be a good example and treat people the way she wants to be treated.

I recently saw a friends Facebook status that said how rude it was that she opened a door for someone and they didn't say 'thank you'. While her friends chimed in with sympathy and witty comments, I saw it a different way. Maybe the lady she held the door for just lost her beloved father to cancer or got chewed out by her boss or just got a traffic ticket...of maybe she just sucks. What matters is simply the act of doing something nice, which totally got lost because of my friend's negative reaction. I think about how a friend of mine recently came home to a huge bag of girl's clothes for her daughter on her doorstep. No note. No phone call. Just an anonymous someone being thoughtful without any need to get a YEA FOR YOU! in return. Now, isn't that more like it?

Sure, I get annoyed from lack of thank you's, too, I'm certainly not above that. Common courtesy can go a long way. What about the somber sales associate at Target that doesn't make any eye contact with me for the entire transaction? She might hate her minimum wage job and her crappy boss or just broke up with her boyfriend or is stressed about money...or she just sucks. But if I look her in the eye and ask how she's doing and wish her a good day then it can make my experience with her so much better. And, if I get a smile out of her then ding ding ding major bonus.

I'm not always at my best, like when I yell at my kids to hurry when I'm the one that made them late or when I wallow in martyrdom when I should be reaching out to people that want to help or when I go through the entire transaction at Target without looking the sales associate in the eye...or maybe sometimes I just suck. Ouch, that's hard to admit, but it's true. Or maybe I just need to be less hard on myself and be proud about who I am...the good me that doesn't suck...most of the time.


  1. You are soooooo the opposite of sucky. You are just the nicest kindest person.

    And I STILL would want to beat up ANYONE who hurt you!

    Your mommy loves you.

  2. I love you, too. You far from suck. I've been going through similar stuff. I am here for you if you need me. Except for WEd night - which does not mean I suck - just being honest. But I would love to see you soon. It's liberating to just say how you feel, huh? i talk a big game, but I hold a lot inside also, otherwise I wouldn't be so anxious.

    You just keep on being you.