Over the weekend, I had to do the family grocery shopping for the upcoming week. Since Jason was home, I was looking forward to leaving the kids with him and grocery shopping by myself. But at the last minute, Mia decided she wanted to go with me. Flustered – although admittedly I could have said no – I told her to hurry up and put on her shoes and that I wasn’t going to buy her anything. What I didn’t know this weekend was that Mia was going to give me a parenting lesson I won’t soon forget.
When we got to the store I got ready to get out of the car, but Mia was going through my console looking for some change that she had put in there earlier. Angry, I told her to hurry up; that I didn’t have time for her to be looking for a couple of pennies.
She showed me the change – sixteen cents to be exact – and I told her that she could take it in but it wasn’t enough money to buy anything AND I reminded her again I wasn’t buying her anything anyways. She said okay. I told her that if she dropped any of it, that I wouldn’t pick it up because she should just be leaving it in the car since she wasn’t getting anything.
In short, I was being a total bitch.
We did our shopping, and she must have been holding on to that sixteen cents very tightly. She didn’t drop it. When we got to the check out counter, I busied myself getting everything out of the cart, making small talk with the checker, and fumbling to find my debit card to pay. I hear Mia saying “Mommy! Move the cart there” but I ignored her, too busy to see what she wanted.
I paid, they finished loading up the cart, and I started to push the cart away from the checkout stand when Mia said “Wait Mommy! I want to put my money in there!” I had forgotten about her change, and irritatingly asked where she wanted to put it.
“Right there!” she said, pointing to the clear plastic donation box that was sitting on the checkout stand.
Every time we go through the line at the grocery store, the kids ask what the box is for. I tell them it’s for little kids whose parents don’t have enough money to buy them food. If they find change left in the little change dispenser that sits next to it, they always put it in there.
The Parenting Lesson Mia Taught Me
My sweet Mia, who had to deal with me being such a jerk about her sixteen cents, had planned to put her money in that box before we even got out of the car. She wanted to give, to help someone who needed the money more than she did. She wanted to do exactly what I’ve been teaching my children to do…to do what we can to help others.
I backed up the cart so that she could lean over and put her sixteen cents in the donation box. The smile on her face brought tears to my eyes..tears like the ones I have in my eyes as I write this.
Mia reminded me to slow down, to be more present and enjoy the little things. She taught me to pay more attention, to see her as a young person instead of just as a child. She taught me that she does hear and hold on to what I tell her and what she sees me doing…the good (and I’m sure the bad).
She taught me that we can and will learn from each other. I guess parenting lessons can be learned from our kids too! She also showed me what an amazing person she is becoming.
The mommy guilt hit hard this weekend, but my heart also burst with pride for her. Hug your kids today – you might not always know it or get to see it, but they are doing amazing things everyday. Things that they are learning from you.